SAS given deadliest machine gun ever made capable of firing up to 8,000 rounds a minute

SAS given deadliest machine gun ever made capable of firing up to 8,000 rounds a minute

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The SAS and SBS are being equipped with the hand-held, micro gun XM556. Dubbed by soldiers as the widow maker, the machine gun will be attached to SAS vehicles for close quarters, combat protection.

SAS troops say the XM556 is perfect for ambushes because of the huge amount of firepower it can lay down almost immediately.

A six barrel machine gun requiring a 24 volt DC power source, the XM556 weighs around 13lbs and measures just under two feet in length.

In just 10 seconds, it can fire up to 1,300 bullets, which is one of the highest rates of fire for any machine gun.

One soldier said: “The XM556 is incredible. It was designed for maximum obliteration.

The SAS and SBS are being equipped with the hand-held, micro gun XM556.

The SAS and SBS are being equipped with the hand-held, micro gun XM556 (Image: Sean Rayment)

A British soldier crouches behind a truck March 31, 2003 near the Iraqi city of Basra

A British soldier crouches behind a truck in 2003 near the Iraqi city of Basra (Image: Getty)

“It has been fixed onto vehicles so that if you are caught in an ambush – which happened a couple of times in Syria – you can just let rip.

“It will literally shred anything and the noise is terrifying.

“The plan is to have them fitted to special forces vehicles but they can also be used by dismounted troops – so they are ideal for close quarter battle and providing suppressing fire.

“A weapon like this is a real force multiplier and it can get you out of a very sticky situation very quickly.”

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a camouflaged British infantry soldier is seen looking down the telescopic sight of the new British-made Long Range L115A3 sniper rifle on Salisbury P

A camouflaged British infantry soldier on Salisbury Plain (Image: Getty)

A British Royal Marine Commando patrols a ridge line during Operation Ptarmigan

A British Royal Marine Commando patrols a ridge line during Operation Ptarmigan in Afghanistan (Image: Getty)

The soldier told the Daily Star that one of the weapon’s best characteristics is its light weight and portability, adding: “It really is an awesome piece of kit.

“The SAS and the SBS trial a lot of weapons – the best are then used on combat operations and the best of that lot are purchased and go into the armoury.”

The weapon is believed to have been trialled in combat in Syria.

It comes as Conservative frontbencher James Heappey defended the Government’s plans for the future of the Army as being exactly what a modern, war-fighting division should look like.

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iNFO

The biggest armies in the world (Image: Express)

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced in November that under new reforms the British Army will act as an expeditionary fighting force designed to be deployable and lethal.

This includes a future restructuring and reorganisation of units with the regular Army standing at 73,000 by 2025.

That represents a reduction from 82,000. The figure will be combined with an Army reserve of 30,000.

A total of £41.3billion was also announced for Army equipment and support over the decade.

British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace

British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace (Image: Getty)

MPs have cited Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and the prospect of larger forces needed for battles as a reason to change course.

South Dorset Tory MP Richard Drax, addressing Mr Heappey in the Commons, said: “From one soldier to another, I ask him, he said earlier if circumstances change the policy changes and I do not excuse myself for asking again for the Government to rethink the cut to the Army.

“What he referred to earlier was out-of-area-type operations, we are looking potentially, God forbid, at a conventional war where mass is going to be important.

“We no longer have that mass and it must be retained.”

Shadow defence secretary John Healey said the Government’s plans left the Armed Forces too small, too thinly spread and too poorly equipped to deal with the threats the UK faces.

He noted UK anti-tank and anti-air weapons are proving vital to the Ukrainians in fighting the Russian invasion, noting Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s pledge to provide a further 6,000 missiles.

Mr Healey added: “Both Nlaw and Starstreak are made in Britain by British workers… but has production yet started to replace British stockpiles of these missiles?”

Defence minister Jeremy Quin replied: “We are working closely with industry.

“There are some lines that have continued but I’d rather not get into operational details of as and when stockpiles will be replenished – suffice to say we’re in active conversations with industry, as [Mr Healey] would expect.”

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