Here we have the recently announced Negev NG7 light machine gun from Israel Weapon Industries (IWI), the privatized successor to IMI, the state owned weapons company of Uzi and Desert Eagle fame. It is a derivative of the popular and combat proven Negev 5.56mm LMG, sharing at least 80% of the same parts. The NG7 was designed with Special Operations forces in mind that need a lot of firepower in a package that is as small and light as possible. The IDF has long used the famous FN MAG machine gun (called the M240 in US service), but like many users they found that the MAG was very long and almost prohibitively heavy at around 30 pounds. The NG7 also features a semi automatic mode for the ability to fire single shots for increased accuracy. Several sources have noted that the NG7 is the only 7.62 GPMG or LMG with this capability, but the German MG 34 had this ability as well through virtue of trigger with two different "pulling surfaces". The Negev seems like it will fill its role nicely, it is exceptionally lightweight weighing in at about 17 pounds. It can be fired from a variety of mounts, including pintle mounts on helicopters, land vehicles, and naval vessels.
The Negev is just about the same as the 5.56mm Negev in terms of furniture and operation. Tritium night sight inserts are attached to the iron sights. It has an optional buttstock that is foldable and adjustable for length of pull with a cheek riser. It retains the somewhat odd Negev foregrip which is detachable and sits angled at about a 45 degrees to the axis of the bore. The NG7 has a two position gas regulator that allows the weapon to continue to work, even when it has become fouled. It is fed from a the left side with a disintegrating belt or with a box magazine fed from the top down. It is stated to fire from the open bolt position which is normal for light machine guns, but I wonder if it has a closed bolt for semi auto firing like the FN offering to the USMC Automatic Rifle competition. The NG7 has a Picatinny rails on the top cover for the attachment of optics and on the foreend for laser aiming devices.
“The new NEGEV NG7 represents the next generation of NEGEV LMGs – providing improved ergonomics as well as increased component reliability. These advances, together with its unique characteristics, make it the most effective lightweight 7.62 available for infantries. As with all other weapons built by IWI, it was developed together with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The close cooperation between IWI and the Israeli army in the development of new weapons – and the testing of these weapons on the battlefield by the IDF – is one of the most important factors contributing to the success of our weapons among armies around the world. The NG7 is already generating interest among our customers, and we have received many requests to test it. We are certain that it will become an important part of our product line.” -----Uri Amit, CEO of IWI
IWI NEGEV NG7 Weapon Specs (from Data Sheet):
Models: NEGEV NG7 LMG, NEGEV NG7 LMG SF
Operation: Open bolt, gas impact on piston head, rotating Bolt
Firing Modes: Safe, Semi-auto, Auto
Feeding System: Box, Assault Drum Belt Feed
Assault Drum Capacity: 100, 125 rds.
Barrel Rifling: 1:12” twist, 4 grooves
Weight (Kg): Weapon only 7.6, 7.5
Overall (OA) Length (mm)l: 1000, 912
Length with Stock folded (mm): 820, 730
Barrel Length (mm): 508, 420
Firing characteristics: Muzzle velocity (approx.) (m/sec) 860, 810
Cyclic Rate of Fire (ROF) (approx.) (rds/min): 850 – 1050 (gas reg. position 1), 950 – 1150 (gas reg. position 2)
Sight: Rear iron sight Aperture, with elevation drum for 300-1000 m (at 100-m intervals), Back up rear sight Post, built in Picatinny rail
Front Iron Sight: Post type (Adj. for windage & elevation)
Sight Line Radius: 440 mm