Monday, February 26, 2024

US Soldiers complete testing of new squad weapons

U.S. Soldiers from the Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and members of the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, recently concluded training and testing on the Army’s latest 6.8mm Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) family, comprising the NGSW-Rifle (NGSW-R), NGSW-Automatic Rifle (AR), and the NGSW-Fire Control (FC) systems.

Sergeant Jack Scott, an Infantryman and team leader in Alpha Company, highlighted the significance of the New Equipment Training in providing a solid foundation for Soldiers before utilizing the NGSWs in practical scenarios.

Their training sessions focused on comprehending the differences between the new NGSW models and the traditional 5.56mm M4A1 Carbine and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon systems, emphasizing enhanced lethality.

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“We did a lot of training with both static and maneuver ranges, so the product of Soldier you get now, during the live fire, is high quality due to all of that training,” remarked Scott.

Photo by Mark Scovell

Following the training phase, Soldiers engaged in a Limited User Test (LUT), ensuring comprehensive operational data collection and user integration with the new NGSW.

The comparative testing between legacy weapons and NGSW provided insights into performance, allowing Soldiers to gain familiarity and repetitions with the new equipment.

1st Sergeant Justin Babb underscored the value of Soldiers’ feedback in influencing Army modernization, citing the candid perspectives shared during focus groups and surveys as crucial for system improvement.

Soldiers noted immediate differences between the legacy systems and NGSWs. Spec. Maximiliano Arguindegui preferred the NGSW-AR for its perceived increased lethality despite feeling faster with the M249.

Scott highlighted the 6.8mm round’s improved stopping power and the flexibility of using it with or without a suppressor as significant advantages for the support-by-fire element.

Participation in the Operational Test Command’s evaluation not only facilitated testing but also contributed to internal readiness for Alpha Company, fostering skill refinement and tactical practice.

Staff Sgt. Ivan Alvarez, initially hesitant about the NGSW-R, acknowledged its potential benefits, especially at longer distances, offering capabilities beyond those of the M4.

Soldiers found the test provided enhanced training opportunities, condensed basic training sessions for more repetitions, and allowed for live-fire iterations, particularly beneficial for less experienced members.

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Executive Editor

About author:

Colton Jones
Colton Jones
Colton Jones is the deputy editor of Defence Blog. He is a US-based journalist, writer and publisher who specializes in the defense industry in North America and Europe. He has written about emerging technology in military magazines and elsewhere. He is a former Air Force airmen and served at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

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