U.S. Army representatives have credited the new 5.56mm M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round with combat performance capabilities “close to” those of a 7.62mm.
The characterization came during an April 26th hearing on “FY 2014 Army Modernization Programs” before the House Armed Services Committee Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee. During questioning by Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.), a retired U.S. Army colonel with multiple combat tours, the topic shifted to the Army’s Individual Carbine (IC) program and related ammunition.
Gibson sought assurances that Army non commissioned officers were engaged in the current IC evaluations, as well as “a commitment to ‘match ammo’ [for] whatever Individual Carbine that we decide.”
“Sir, I can assure you that our soldiers are absolutely involved in the process,” replied Lt. Gen. William Phillips, Military Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology. “And through our PEO Soldier, and our PM within that organization who is running this, they are making sure that they have a holistic review of all the potential weapons that could be the next Individual Carbine. We take that competition very seriously. The Army is still considering ‘the way forward’ with the Individual Carbine as we look and analyze what industry could potentially provide. So, sir, there’s more to come on the final decision.”
Asked for any additional comments on ‘the match ammunition that would go with whatever decision is made,” Phillips responded, “I’m not exactly sure what you mean by that, but I could add this comment: We have the M855A1 – essentially a brand new 5.56 [mm] ammunition that we currently use. It is ‘in the fight’ today in Afghanistan. It provides incredible increased lethality over the normal [M]855 round. And the amount of lethality that it provides gets it very close to 7.62 in terms of capability.”
“Since the early days of the Iraq War, when you used to hear about ‘through and throughs’ and they would pull the trigger and someone would fall down, or not fall down and keep coming – with this round that essentially stops. When you hit someone with this round they essentially go down. And the feedback we get from our soldiers, time and time again in combat, using this new round, is exactly that. It’s providing great lethality for our soldiers and our squads on the ground.”