The Ministry of Defense of Georgia and the US Embassy in Georgia have simultaneously announced a US-funded program of equipping the Georgian Defense Forces (GDF) with 600 M249 light machine guns, also known as squad automatic weapons.
As part of the fielding plan, U.S. advisors will conduct a two-week, “train-the-trainer” course for a team of 15 Georgian soldiers from the GDF’s Training and Military Education Command. Once proficient, the Georgian soldiers will then train teams from GDF’s Eastern and Western Operational Commands. The U.S. trainers from the 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, will conduct the training on behalf of the 7th Army Training Command based in Germany.
The Firearm Blog website noted that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Georgia, like all other post-Soviet countries, inherited a small arms arsenal consisting of Soviet weapons. However, in recent years, Georgia has been gradually transitioning to NATO standard cartridges and weapons. As mentioned by the Georgian Ministry of Defense, equipping their armed forces with the new machine guns "is part of the process of upgrading and modernizing armaments and equipment, which aims to increase the capabilities of the Defense Forces and interoperability with partner countries."