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NAT’L – MILITARY – U.S. Army Will Buy Prototype Light Machine Guns and Rifles As Next Generational Squad Weapon Tests Continue

No one said that determining the weapon that future U.S. warfighters will carry into action would be easy. The U.S. Army is now requesting $111 million to continue prototyping the Next Generation Squad Weapons (NGSW) through the fiscal year in the recent budget request. Earlier this year the Army selected three finalists to replace its legacy M4 carbine and M249 squad automatic weapons. The companies included Sig Sauer, General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems and Textron Systems. Each of the weapons has starkly different designs, but notably, each will be chambered for the new 6.8mm round, which was developed to be more lethal than the currently used 5.56mm NATO ammunition. Army Times has reported that all three of the contractors are expected to deliver 38 prototype rifles and 28 prototype automatic rifles along with 660,000 rounds of ammunition for testing and soldier evaluations next year. The Army has announced that it would pick the winner and announce the production award by the end of the year; while the service would also develop an advanced fire control system for the new 6.8mm rifle and automatic rifle and this would go far beyond the optics currently used by soldiers on their light carbines and rifles. Over the next five years, the Army plans to add more than 120,000 new light machine guns and rifles to the arsenal to replace the legacy M4 and M249. This would include 4,000 next fiscal year; double that number for 2023 and 2024 until by 2025 a total of 121,773 new weapons have been acquired. Army Times noted that the price tag for the first 4,000 units was estimated to be nearly $36 million according to the budget documents.  [full article]

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