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IWI Negev

Light Machine Gun (LMG) [ 1997 ]

The IMI Negev Light Machine Gun was adopted by Israeli forces in 1997 and has seen relatively limited export.

Authored By: Jerry Potts, 173rd Airborne (RET) and Dan Alex | Last Edited: 03/15/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The Negev is an Israeli 5.56mm light machine gun (LMG), developed by Israel Military Industries Ltd (now Israel Weapon Industry), as a replacement for the 5.56mm Galil light machine gun which had a propensity to overheat. Design work on a new product spanned from 1985 into 1990 to which the weapon entered the requisite period of trials before being adopted by the Israeli Army in 1997. The Negev continues as the standard Israeli Army light machine gun today (2013). Manufacture is now under the Israeli Weapons Industries Ltd (IWI) brand label. Production has been ongoing since 1995.

The Negev relies on an automatic gas-operated action utilizing a rotating bolt function to reach a listed rate-of-fire between 850 and 1,150 rounds per minute (a regulator allows for three presets). In the gas-operated system, the weapon uses gases tapped at the barrel to cycle a short-stroke piston located under the barrel. Operation is further controlled through a semi- / full-automatic selector. The Negev features a "quick-change", chrome-lined barrel assembly with slotted flash suppressor for concealed, sustained fire and an integrated carry handle that also assist in changing an overheated barrel. Modification was needed to launch rifle grenades so a multifunction muzzle device was later developed. Iron sights are of the closed-type and consist of an adjustable front post for both elevation and windage. The rear aperture sight has an adjusting elevation drum which is easy to turn with two fingers for range settings spanning 300 to 1,000 meters. During night operation the weapon is equipped with Betalight gaseous tritium illuminated vials - one can be installed at the front sight and an additional two can be set on a notch sight under the standard aperture sight. The barrel can also be optionally fitted with mounting hardware allowing the Negev to field a laser pointer or reflex sight. The machine gun has a metal side-folding side stock (right side fold) and a removable bipod that is connected to the forward handguard. IMI was asked by Israeli Army personnel to make the weapon "vehicle friendly" so the receiver has hooks to secure the gun to mounts in vehicles.

The Negev is chambered for the 5.56x45mm NATO standard cartridge and is optimized for the SS109 bullet. Field maintenance involves stripping the weapon down into six main groups: the barrel, stock, bolt carrier, bolt, bipod and return mechanism. All parts, including the quick-change barrels, are fully-interchangeable. In addition to the standard 200-round metal-link belt issued, the NEGEV light machine gun can fire from a 150-round fabric container (clipping to into the magazine well), a 35-round box magazine (from the Galil assault rifle), a standard 30-round STANAG-style detachable box magazine (from the M-16 rifle - through use of an adapter) and a 12-round "blank cartridge" magazine when launching rifle grenades. A new form introduced in 2012, the Negev NG7, is now chambered for the 7.62x51mm NATO standard rifle cartridge for improved penetration at range.

The Negev has been evolved beyond its basic LMG form as the Negev Commando of 1998, a lightweight, compact version with shorter barrel of 13 inches and overall length of 26.8 inches. The Commando has since been renamed as the Negev Special Forces (SF) and may also be known as the "Assault Negev".

The Negev has seen export to Colombia, Costa Rica, Estonia, Georgia, India, Mexico, Paraguay, Poland, Thailand and Vietnam. It has seen considerable combat service with Israeli forces to date including the 2006 Lebanon War.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Service Year

Israel national flag graphic


Light Machine Gun (LMG)

Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) (fmr Israeli Military Industries (IMI)) / Israeli Weapon Industries (IWI) - Israel
(View other Arms-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of Colombia National flag of Georgia National flag of India National flag of Israel National flag of Mexico National flag of Poland National flag of Thailand National flag of Ukraine National flag of Vietnam Colombia; Costa Rica; Estonia; Georgia; India; Israel; Mexico; Paraguay; Poland; Thailand; Ukraine; Vietnam
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Fire Support
Capable of suppressing enemy elements at range through direct or in-direct fire.

Overall Length
1,020 mm
40.16 in
Barrel Length
460 mm
18.11 in
Empty Wgt
16.31 lb
7.40 kg

Adjustable Iron Front and Rear; Optional Optics


Gas-Operated; Rotating Bolt; Selective-Fire

Rotating Bolt
System utilizes internal mechanism to lock the breech or rear barrel assembly prior to firing.
Gas-operated system is featured, typically involving a gas cylinder and rear-driven piston directing energy to the bolt component.
(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)


5.56x45mm NATO

Sample Visuals**

Graphical image of a 5.56mm intermediate rifle cartridge
Rounds / Feed

35-round detachable box magazine or 150-/200-round belt
Cartridge relative size chart
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources.
**Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.
Max Eff.Range
3,280 ft
(1,000 m | 1,093 yd)
Muzzle Velocity
3,000 ft/sec
(914 m/sec)

Negev LMG - Base Series Designation; light machine gun form chambered for 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge; adopted in 1997.
Negev NG7 - Chambered for the 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge; appearing in 2012.
Negev "Commando" ("Assault Negev" / "Negev Special Forces - SF") - Shortened, lightened form of the base LMG; primarily issued to special forces elements.

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Image of the IWI Negev


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