Singapore has confirmed it has selected the Colt Infantry Automatic Rifle as its next standard-issue automatic weapon in its army, replacing a homegrown design that has been in service for over 40 years, Mike Yeo reports in Australian Defence Magazine (ADM).
Singapore’s Ministry of Defence told ADM that its army “The Colt Infantry Automatic Rifle has been assessed to be a suitable replacement for the Section Automatic Weapon (SAW)”. 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, Mike Yeo recalls. So, 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 IAR was previously known as the Colt IAR6940 and has its origins in its M-16/M-4 series of weapons, sharing several common components including its barrel compensator, bolt carrier group and charging handle assembly. The Colt IAR6940 was designed and is manufactured by Colt Defense, LLC. It was developed for the U.S. Marine Corps as the Infantry Automatic Rifle (IAR) to replace the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) in certain roles. The IAR6940 has a lightweight, gas-operated, air-cooled design with a 16-inch barrel and a full-length Picatinny rail for mounting accessories such as optics, lasers, and grips. It is chambered for 5.56x45mm NATO rounds, which gives it compatibility with standard-issue US military ammunition. It fires NATO standard 5.56x45mm ammunition and weighs 4.32 kg empty. Its ambidextrous controls make it easy to operate for both right and left-handed shooters. It also features a fully adjustable gas regulator to fine-tune the weapon’s performance based on the ammunition used.
A key difference of the Colt IAR from the M-16/M-4 is that the IAR operates via direct gas impingement instead of the traditional gas piston. It also features a one-piece upper receiver and a large heat sink below the barrel to better draw heat out of the barrel during extended periods of firing.