The US Army is in the final phase of evaluating Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) prototypes developed by Sig Sauer, General Dynamics and Textron Systems.
"We are an enthusiastic supporter of the Army's 6.8mm Next Generation Squad Weapons. We expect there will be Next Generation Squad Weapons in our formations as soon as we can receive them via fielding," Col. Joel Babbitt, of Program Executive Officer Special Operations Forces Warrior, was quoted as saying by Military.com on May 14.
In 2019, US Army launched Next Generation Squad Weapon - Automatic Rifle program to find replacement for M249 SAW and 5.56×45mm NATO round. Competitors are: Sig Sauer MG-6.8 with 6.8 Sig hybrid round; General Dynamics RM277 with .277 TVCM plymer cased round manufactured by True Velocity; AAI and Textron AR with 6.8mm CT cased telescoped round manufactured by Olin Winchester.
The Army expects to select the final design for the rifle and automatic rifle variants from a single firm in the first quarter of 2022. Army Rangers, Green Berets and special operations ground forces are scheduled to begin receiving the NGSWs a year later.
The weapons use ammunition that is up to 30% lighter than brass rounds currently in use, Babbitt said during the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference earlier this week.
The NGSW prototypes are currently in their final phase of soldier evaluation.
The NGSW's auto rifle variant is "so promising" that a separate effort to design a light machine gun chambered for 6.5mm Creedmoor has been suspended for now. “We have currently put our 6.5mm Creedmoor lightweight machine gun (LMG) on hold pending the results of the Next Generation Squad Weapon,” Babbitt said.