Which Weapon Could be the Army’s New Rifle & Light Machine Gun?
By Chris Eger
Despite past programs such as SPIW, ACR, and OCIW that left the U.S. Army still fielding successive generations of Eugene Stoner’s AR platform at the end of the day, today’s NGSW program could be different. The above shows the XM-8 prototype, an OCIW program hopeful, in 2004. (All Photos: U.S. Army Program Executive Office Soldier)
The U.S. Army’s new Next Generation Squad Weapon program is moving right along and its competitors read like a who’s who of modern rifle, ammo and optics makers.
The NGSW search goes back to at least 2016 and heated up two years ago when the Army launched a program seeking companies to develop a suppressed light machine gun– deemed an automatic rifle– along with a companion suppressed rifle sharing a common 6.8mm cartridge. At the time, Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark A. Milley said the new round would penetrate any existing body armor or body armor expected to exist over the next 25 years.
The 6.8mm common cartridge for the NGSW program uses an Army-developed bullet and competitors have forward-looking solutions to supply hybrid rounds that are lighter up to 20 percent lighter in weight than today’s, offering bi-metallic, telescoping and polymer-cased options.
The idea behind the