US approves $3.2 Mn deal with Singapore for 1885 Colt Infantry Automatic Rifles

According to David Boey on September 12, 2023, Singapore got the US approval to buy 1,885 Colt 5.56mm caliber fully automatic rifles for $3,189,420. This follows the confirmation by Singapore’s Ministry of Defence in May 2023 that the country has selected the Colt Infantry Automatic Rifle (IAR), based on the Colt M4A1 carbine, as its next standard-issue automatic weapon in its army, replacing the aging Ultimax 100 Mk.2 light machine gun in the Squad Automatic Weapon role.
Follow Army Recognition on Google News at this link

Army Recognition Global Defense and Security news
Singapore selected the Colt IAR as its next Squad Automatic Weapon (Picture source: Facebook page of "Colt Infantry Automatic Rifle (IAR) Model IAR6940")

Singapore had a long history of producing individual weapons for its army, beginning with license production of the Colt AR-15 and M-16 assault rifle as its standard-issue rifle beginning in the 1970s and eventually introducing its own indigenous designs. The Colt IAR will replace the ST Engineering Land Systems’ Ultimax 100, which has been in service with Singapore’s military since 1982 in its Mk.2 and Mk.3 subvariants. Colt, which is now a subsidiary of Czech company Colt CZ Group, had previously sold its IAR to Mexico’s Marine Corps.

The Colt IAR Model 6940, now recognized as the Colt IAR, was developed as a response to the United States Marine Corps' need for a replacement for the aging M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW). Colt Defense, LLC, a well-known American firearms manufacturer, undertook the task of designing a weapon that would be more lightweight, maneuverable, and reliable.

The Colt IAR relies on a direct gas impingement operating system, similar to the one used in the AR-15, M16, and M4 rifles. This system ensures compatibility with standard-issue US military ammunition and components, making maintenance and familiarity easier for military personnel.

To address concerns about overheating during extended firing, the Colt IAR features a 16.1-inch heavyweight barrel equipped with a heat sink or radiator, primarily constructed from aluminum alloy. This design incorporates the heat sink into the lower handguard, allowing for more effective heat dissipation, thus increasing the barrel's durability and reducing the risk of overheating.

The Colt IAR's upper receiver design integrates the upper handguard into the receiver itself, resulting in a full-length Picatinny rail. This extended rail offers a versatile platform for mounting various accessories, such as optics, lasers, and grips, enhancing stability and durability for military operations.

An important feature of the Colt IAR is its ambidextrous controls, designed to accommodate both right and left-handed shooters. This user-friendly design enhances the weapon's adaptability and ease of use in diverse combat scenarios.

While the Colt IAR Model 6940 became the production model, Colt explored various other versions and prototypes. The Colt IAR6940H featured a distinct heat sink/radiator design developed by Knight's Armament Co., providing additional options. Additionally, the Colt IAR6940P introduced a short-stroke piston system as an alternative to the traditional direct impingement gas system, catering to diverse user preferences.

In 2016, Colt expanded its offerings to the civilian market by providing a version of the Colt IAR upper receiver. This allowed legal attachment to compatible semi-automatic mil-spec AR-15 lower receivers or registered Class III select-fire AR-15/M16/M4 type lower receivers, offering civilian enthusiasts access to this firearm.

The automatic rifle is chambered for the 5.56x45mm NATO rounds, ensuring compatibility with standard-issue US military ammunition. With an empty weight of approximately 4.3 kilograms, it maintains a relatively lightweight profile compared to its counterparts. Its rate of fire ranges from 700 to 1000 rounds per minute, making it suitable for suppressing fire and sustained firepower during engagements.

The Colt IAR relies on magazines for ammunition, with capacities ranging from 30 to 150 rounds, accommodating various operational scenarios. The inclusion of a bayonet lug on the barrel adds to the firearm's versatility and functionality.