The MK48 was developed to meet a US Special Operations requirement for a heavy caliber variant of the lightweight light machine gun that would retain the intrinsic functionality and reliability of the standard M249. (Available in Black. Flat Dark Earth color availability - TBD).
The Mk 48 has been developed in conjunction with the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), which has adopted the weapon and started its fielding process, starting with special operations units. The weapon's design is based on an early 7.62x51mm NATO prototype of the Minimi, modified to be a scaled-up version of the 5.56 mm Mk 46 Mod 0. Being heavily based on the Mk 46 Mod 0, the Mk 48 Mod 0 features five MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rails (one on top of the receiver, one on each side of the forearm/handguard, one under the handguard, and one on top of the barrel), an integral folding bipod, and a tripod-mounting lug. The weapon is fitted with the same fixed, polymer buttstock as the M249, although the metallic, collapsible buttstock from the Para model can be found in some models. The carrying handle, which had been removed from the Mk 46, was reintegrated on the Mk 48 to assist the replacement of hot barrels without use of other equipment, such as heat-resistant gloves; the handle can be folded down when not in use. As with the Mk 46, the Mk 48 Mod 0 does not have an M249-type magazine feed port, in order to save weight. The weapon can be fed from a loose belt, separate belt boxes, or clip-on ammunition pouches for 100 rounds.
The high percentage of common parts (70%) with the Mk 46, M240 and M249 also provides the Mk 48 Mod 0 with easily interchangeable parts in the need of replacements. Furthermore, the Picatinny rails can be fitted with various accessories from the SOPMOD kit, such as the ECOS-N (Enhanced Combat Optical Sight) red dot sight. The Mk 48 can also be fitted with a vertical foregrip for increased controllability during sustained fire. While heavier than the 5.56 × 45 mm NATO versions of the M249 SAW due to its larger chambering and heavier barrel, the Mk 48 Mod 0 is still 17% lighter and 8.4% shorter than the M240.
The Mk 48 Mod 0 is currently in service with certain USSOCOM units, such as the U.S. Navy SEALs and Army Rangers.