Army issues call for new Next Generation Squad Weapon prototypes
By Chris Eger
Army Soldiers fire M4-series carbines at a range in Arta, Djibouti, Dec. 28, 2018 (Photo: DOD)
In a move to begin to phase out its 5.56mm weapons with new 6.8mm-caliber firearms as part of a wide-ranging modernization program, the U.S. Army issued a call to interested gun makers last week.
The Prototype Project Opportunity Notice covers two distinct types of firearm: the Next Generation Squad Weapon-Rifle, a replacement for the M4/M4A1 carbine; and the Next Generation Squad Weapon-Automatic Rifle, which would take the place currently held by the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. Both would be in an XM1168 6.8mm chambering that would be up to the manufacturer to develop with ammunition industry partners.
As the Pentagon has spent the past several years brainstorming new ways to reduce the weight of man-carried small arms cartridges through everything from telescoping rounds to polymer cases, it is possible that the final 6.8mm designs favored will be much different from traditional ammunition.
Submissions from up to three manufacturers would be selected to continue to a potentially huge contract in which the winner could stand to deliver 250,000 NGSWs and 150 million rounds of ammo with the option for further contracts.
The 47-page notice details that each prototype weapon platform