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The Lightweight Small Arms Technologies (LSAT) program is funded by the U.S. Joint Service Small Arms Program, with the goal of significantly reducing the weight of small arms and their ammunition. Following a series of military programs to investigate advances in small arms (SPIW, Future Rifle, ACR, OICW), the LSAT program is the US military's latest project to replace existing US small arms. Tactical concepts and the research from the previous small arms programs indicates that lightening small arms is the first significant step towards increasing soldiers' lethality and survivability.
Initiated in 2004 (then called the Lightweight Machine Gun and Ammunition program), development is now led by Textron. Development began with two types of weight reducing ammunition, and a light machine gun to serve as a testbed and technology demonstrator. Minimization of program risk is shown by the development of the lower performing but less risky polymer-cased ammunition alongside caseless ammunition (which falls higher in both criteria), by the use of extensive computer simulations before prototyping, and by the use of existing and proven technologies, such as the High Ignition Temperature Propellant (HITP) developed for the Heckler & Koch G11.
In 2008, the program had achieved working prototypes for the polymer-cased ammunition and the LMG, which were tested by the Army in 2012. The less orthodox caseless ammunition, and a rifle firing both types of ammunition, have also been developed. The designers aim to provide further projectile improvements, including greener bullets and a more lethal caliber, as well as the use of electronics, such as rounds counters, and lasers for sighting, target acquisition, and steering.After further research and development into both ammunition types and the weapons that fire them, one of the two shall be chosen for production. In August 2013, AAI Corporation (now Textron) was awarded a contract to continue development of both cased telescoped and caseless ammunition.