M60E3 7.62mm Machine Gun
The M60E3 7.62mm machine gun is a lightweight, air-cooled, disintegrating metallic link-belt fed, portable or tripod mounted machine gun (using the M122 tripod) designed for ground operations like the standard M60. It is gas operated with fixed headspace and timing, which permits rapid changing of barrels.
Slightly different from the standard infantry type M60, the M60E3 has a receiver-attached bipod that easily deploys for stability. It has an ambidextrous safety, universal sling attachments, a carrying handle on the barrel, and a simplified gas system that does not require safety wire to prevent loosening. However, the light weight barrel is not safe for overhead fire and is not capable of sustaining a rapid rate of fire of 200 rounds per minute without catastrophic failure of the barrel.
The M60E3 was fielded by the US Marine Corps with the intention to reduce the load carried by the gunner. However, the reduction in weight resulted in firing limitations and a loss of reliability that severely restricted the use of the weapon in the Fleet Marine Force. Consequently, troop acceptance of the E3 was very poor. In 1991, the decision was made by the US Marine Corps, to replace the M60E3 with the M240G.
The M60E3, fitted with a short barrel (sometimes referred to as an "assault" barrel) continued to serve with special operations forces, most notably Naval Special Warfare units, unit it was itself replaced by the Mk 43 Mod 0 machine gun, another lightweight variant of the M60.
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