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IWI Negev

Light Machine Gun (LMG)

Israel | 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; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
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.

Content ©MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
The physical qualities of the IWI Negev. Information presented is strictly for general reference and should not be misconstrued as useful for hardware restoration or operation.
1,020 mm
40.16 in
O/A Length
460 mm
18.11 in
Barrel Length
16.31 lb
7.40 kg
Gas-Operated; Rotating Bolt; Selective-Fire
5.56x45mm NATO
35-round detachable box magazine or 150-/200-round belt
Adjustable Iron Front and Rear; Optional Optics
Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the IWI Negev. Information presented is strictly for general reference and should not be misconstrued as useful for hardware restoration or operation.
3,280 ft
999.7 m | 1,093.3 yds
3,000 ft/sec
914 m/sec
Muzzle Velocity
Notable series variants as part of the IWI Negev Light Machine Gun (LMG) family line.
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.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the IWI Negev. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national small arms listing.

Contractor(s): Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) (fmr Israeli Military Industries (IMI)) / Israeli Weapon Industries (IWI) - Israel
National flag of Colombia National flag of Estonia 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 ]
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Image of the IWI Negev

Design Qualities
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The IWI Negev Light Machine Gun (LMG) appears in the following collections:
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