Comment(s)

The U.S. Army is developing a new system dubbed the Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW). A key step in that development process is to replace its M249 SAW with a Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle (NGSAR). To do so, the Army needs to look at prototypes. Consequently, Army Contracting Command has issued what’s called a draft Prototype Opportunity Notice (PON). Basically, the service wants comments from industry before it rolls out the final PON. Here’s an overview of the NGSAR, via the draft PON synopsis:

The NGSAR is the first variant of the Next Generation Squad Weapons. NGSAR will address operational needs identified in various capability based assessments and numerous after action reports. The NGSAR is the planned replacement for the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) in Brigade Combat Teams (BCT). It will combine the firepower and range of a machine gun with the precision and ergonomics of a rifle, yielding capability improvements in accuracy, range, and lethality. The weapon will be lightweight and fire lightweight ammunition, improving Soldier mobility, survivability, and firing accuracy. Soldiers will employ the NGSAR against close and extended range targets in all terrains and conditions. The NGSAR support concept will be consistent and comparable to the M249 SAW involving the Army two-level field and sustainment maintenance system.

The Army wants industry’s comments to the draft PON before March 8. Those comments will then be reviewed and considered for inclusion in the final PON for the NGSAR, which is due out on or near March 9. Proposals are due March 26. Furthermore, the Army is planning on awarding up to five contracts for prototypes that feature a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 and Manufacturing Readiness Level (MRL) 6.

All prototypes must include the functional weapon; 2,000 rounds of ammunition; fire control (day and night); bipod; suppressor; spare parts required for firing 2,000 rounds; special tools; and operator manuals.

In the draft PON itself, the Army lays out some more specifics as to what it’s looking for in NGSAR prototypes. Here they are:

Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle Requirements

  • Weapon Weight Only (weapon, sling, bipod, suppressor, no magazine/pouch): 12 pounds or less

  • Ammunition Weight (no magazine, belt, belt components, box, or feed systems): 20 percent less than an equal brass case weight volume

  • Dispersion: Semi-Automatic 7 inch Average Mean Radius 400 meters, Automatic 14 inch Average Mean Radius 400 meters

  • Weapon Length (buttstock extended): 35 inches or less

  • Fire Control (includes day/night optics): 3 pounds or less

  • Lethality Requirements: Unavailable

  • Rate of Fire: 60 rounds per minute with 3 round burst for 15 minutes without a barrel change or cook-off

  • Suppressor: Flash 80 percent less than unsuppressed M249, Acoustic 140 decibels or less

  • Weapon Controllability: Soldier firing standing with optic at a 50 meter E-Type silhouette given 3 to 5 round burst must be able to engage in 2-4 seconds placing two rounds 70 percent of the time on target

Read the full draft PON at fbo.gov.

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