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ArmaLite was first established on October 1, 1954. It was a division of the Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation. Shortly after its creation the U.S. Air Force put out a contract to create a new survival rifle to replace the standard one. ArmaLite developed a .22 caliber rifle, and naming it the AR-5 Hornet Survival Rifle. The Air Force evaluated it and quickly chose it as the new standard survival rifle, it was designated the MA-1.

ArmaLite developed the AR-15, which was later licensed to Colt. The AR-15 was made using new metal alloys and durable plastics. The U.S. military had accepted this design and adopted it in 1969 and re-designated it the M-16, which is now the standard issue infantry rifle.

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