Courtesy of Tactical Life

The U.S. Army has developed a round capable of penetrating 5.56 mm-resistant body armor, the service’s chief of staff said late last week.

While testifying at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Thursday, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley was asked about the ongoing development of a new rifle to replace the M4 and its 5.56mm bullet.

According to Army Times, the topic came up because Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) was present at a subcommittee hearing last week which featured retired Army generals who have long pushed for a new round and rifle to replace the 5.56mm M4.

“One of the things we learned [at last week’s hearing] was that the current M4 caliber ammunition will not penetrate the newly developed body armor of our adversaries, which is to me a disaster in waiting,” King told Milley. “Your thoughts on a new weapon and how do we do the procurement in a timely and cost-effective way, and avoid some of these problems that we’ve had in the past. First do you think this is an important area of attention, and second can we pull it off in a reasonable amount of time at a reasonable cost?”

“I think yes and yes,” Milley said. “I think it is critically important. 70% of American casualties are ground forces, typically infantry, special forces type units or units performing infantry missions, and the small arm and the other equipment to include body armor SAPI plates, and so on is critical, and we oughta be providing the very very best for our soldiers that our nation can provide.

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Photo courtesy of U.S. Senate