A recent U.S. Army’s news release provides important new details about the revolutionary weapon system developed under the Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) program.
The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Armaments Center currently works at increasing Soldier lethality by reducing load and decision-making while increasing capability in a multidomain environment.
The Next Generation Squad Weapon project consolidates ammunition and weapons as well as a power and data rail for integration of next-generation fire control systems. The overall system, which was designed to show advanced technologies and serve as a replacement for the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, provides a lightweight cased and telescoped cartridge with greater lethality than the current, fielded squad automatic weapons and at a much lighter weight than the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. The 6.8 mm bullet, designed in-house, provides greater lethality and range than the Army’s current 5.56 mm bullets. This technology was transitioned to the Project Manager (PM) for Soldier Lethality (formerly the Project Manager for Soldier Weapons) within the Program Executive Office for Soldier in fiscal year 2019.
The development of Next Generation Squad Weapons (NGSW) consist of the NGSW-Automatic Rifle (NGSW-AR) and the NGSW-Rifle.
The NGSW will combine the firepower and effective 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, fire lightweight ammunition and have reduced acoustic and flash signature.
The Armaments Center will continue to design follow-on bullet types in direct support of Soldier operations in its Next Generation Family of Ammunition project, which has multiple technology transitions through fiscal year 2023.
The Squad Combat Optic Performance Enhancement science and technology project is the Armaments Center’s solution for a next-generation primary optic and fire control, similar in capability to a targeting system on a combat vehicle but at a fraction of the size. The system consists of a direct-view optic with an augmented reality overlay, a steerable laser range finder, a daylight and thermal digital weapons camera, and a controller designed to reduce aim error and increase probability of hit. The Armaments Center will use data collected from various Soldier touch points to influence follow-on designs with industry. This technology is slated to transfer to PM Soldier Lethality in mid-fiscal year 2020.
As the Army’s largest in-house analytical capability, the CCDC Data and Analysis Center supports the Soldier lethality modernization priority by providing lethality analysis, modeling and simulation, cyber and electronic warfare, and vulnerability and weapon prototype testing for the Next Generation Squad Weapon. The Data and Analysis Center also performs electronic warfare and electronic-optical, electronic-infrared vulnerability analysis and assessment for IVAS and the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binoculars.