Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Textron Systems develops a potential replacement for M249 light machine gun

The U.S. Army has awarded Textron Systems contract to develop and deliver a system demonstrator that could potentially replace the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon in Brigade Combat Teams.

According to the Textron’s statement, the company received a contract from the U.S. Army to develop a prototype for the Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle (NGSAR) program to replace the M249 light machine gun.

Under this contract, Textron Systems will build on its current portfolio of Cased-Telescoped (CT) Weapons & Ammunition to develop and deliver a system demonstrator. Textron Systems plans to develop a high-velocity, magazine-fed system of an intermediate caliber. Based on program requirements, the prototype will weigh less than 12 pounds, with ammunition weighing 20 percent less than an equal brass case.


The new machine gun by Textron 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 new weapon system developing under the NGSAR program is the planned replacement for the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) in Brigade Combat Teams (BCT). 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 demonstrators are to be ready by June 2019 for the first phase of practical testing. The U.S. Army is expected to receive the first new squad automatic weapons to front-line or “close-combat” units in 2022.

Textron Systems has 14 years of CT armaments experience. Textron Systems’ current portfolio of CT Weapons & Ammunition includes a 5.56mm CT Light Machine Gun, a 7.62mm CT Medium Machine Gun and a 6.5mm CT Carbine. This next-generation of CT weapons deliver improved lethality and maneuverability at 40 percent less weight than current systems.

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Executive Editor

About this Author

Dylan Malyasov
Dylan Malyasov
Dylan Malyasov is executive editor of Defence Blog. He is journalist, accredited defense adviser and consultant. READ MORE