Britain's special forces are being issued with the most deadly machine gun ever made.
The SAS and the SBS are being equipped a hand-held micro gun called XM556, capable of firing up to 8,000 rounds a minute.
The weapon is basically a miniature version of the Gatling gun.
Dubbed the widow maker by troops, the machine gun will be attached to SAS vehicles for close quarter combat protection.
SAS troops claim the XM556 is the perfect weapon for ambushes because it can lay down a huge amount of fire almost instantaneously.
In just 10 seconds the weapon can fire up to 1300 bullets – one of the highest rates of fire of any machine gun.
One soldier said: “The XM556 is incredible. It was designed for maximum obliteration. 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. At close range it will turn a human being into mush.
“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.
“One of the weapon’s best characteristics is that it is very light and portable. 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.”
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It is understood that the weapon has already been trialled in combat in Syria and was given the thumbs up by the elite troops after it was deployed in a series of fire fights.
The XM556 is a six barrel machine gun and requires a 24 volt DC power source. It weighs around 13lbs and is just under two feet long.
The machine gun fires a 5.56mm bullet, it is highly portable and can easily fit into a suitcase – useful for covert operations.
The handheld machine gun is designed for very close combat of ranges less than 100 feet.
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