Pfc. Justin Kendall, assigned to Company A, 4th Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, fires an M249 light machine gun during a live-fire exercise at the Malakhand training village, Orogrande Range Complex, N.M., June 24, 2018.
11th Armored Cavalry Regiment Trooper provides over watch with a M249 Squad Automatic Weapon against the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment from Knoxville, Tenn. at Razish, National Training Center on May 11, 2018. The Third Tennessee’s ability to capture and retain a large urban area is tested against a near-peer opponent during this phase of Rotation 18-07 training.
U.S. Army Trooper assigned to 2nd Squadron, 14th Calvary Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division returns fire with an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon during a Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise (CALFEX) at Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii, May 15, 2018. The CALFEX utilizes all the enablers available to the unit in order to increase interoperability, concentrate combat power and mass effects on the objective.
Back in March, the U.S. Army put out a Prototype Opportunity Notice (PON) for the Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle (NGSAR), which will replace the M249 squad automatic weapon.
Now the service has updated that notice, announcing the five companies selected to build NGSAR prototypes. Here they are:
- AAI Corporation Textron Systems – Hunt Valley, MD
- FN America LLC. – Columbia, SC
- General Dynamics-OTS Inc. – Williston, VT
- PCP Tactical, LLC – Vero Beach, FL
- Sig Sauer Inc. – Newington, NH
Based on the award notice, it looks like Textron, General Dynamics, PCP Tactical and Sig Sauer will each submit one prototype. FN America, which makes the M249 SAW, will submit two prototypes. Along with the prototype itself, companies will submit 2,000 rounds of ammunition; fire control system; bipod; suppressor; spare parts required for firing 2,000 rounds; special tools; and operator manuals.
Each manufacturer has 12 months to submit its prototype.
Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle
Here an overview of the Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle, via the 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.
Here’s a brief breakdown of the spec 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
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