The U.S. Army leadership intends to adopt a 6.8-millimeter cartridge for next-generation weapons. The development of the new ammunition depends on the solution of two key problems.

The cartridge should be suitable for short- and medium-range conflicts, such as armed clashes in a residential area. It should also be highly effective in long-range combat situations, such as in the mountains of Afghanistan.

In addition, a larger cartridge should not increase its weight. Ideally, new cartridges should reduce the weight of the soldiers’ cargo. It is not immediately important what kind of force the new cartridges will have – they should be lethal to the enemy.

The team responsible for the project believes that, although it will take some time to implement it, the developers are on the right track.

New weapons loaded with new cartridges should be as effective as possible within 200 meters, as this is the distance where most firearms conflicts occur. At the same time, its effectiveness should not fall with the increase of this distance.

Mark Canzian, Senior International Security Advisor at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, said that the army is trying to increase the level of firepower from small arms, with a particular focus on ammunition. Last October, the service published a request for ideas for new weapons, specifically mentioning its intention to move to a higher calibre from the current 5.56mm cartridge, which is now used for the M4 carbine and M249 automatic infantry support weapon.