Following the demise of the EM-2 the 7.62 NATO round enjoyed a brief period of popularity until the mid-1960's when many nations began experiments with a smaller caliber cartridge and rifle. Britain was no exception to this and in 1967 tests were started to find a new cartridge and rifle. They already had the 5.56 NATO round available for testing however the British took a different route, by 1972 they had developed their 4.85x44mm load and the XL64E5 rifle to fire it. Owing much to the prior EM-2 in form and the firing systems of both the Armalite AR-18 and the Stoner 63. By 1976 NATO trials had begun of the weapon, however the cartridge was not carried over. Many felt it was better to once again follow the lead of the United States in the selection of the 5.56 NATO load. By 1983 a revised model of the XL64E5 was available, re-dubbed the XL70E3 it was designed to fire the American 5.56 NATO cartridge. The British military was still not happy with the design and called for a series of other changes, when these were completed the LW85A1 was born two years later.
Picture from Giovanni Tendas
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