The U.S. Army has confirmed the design and development of a new family of 6.8mm projectiles, according to new data from the Joint Service Small Arms Program.
The U.S. Army Contracting Command, on behalf of Combat Capability Development Command (CCDC), is currently seeking potential sources for the manufacture and delivery projectiles of a next-generation family of ammunition.
According to the current information, the next-generation family of ammunition will consist of combat round for soft and hard targets, training projectile with trajectory match and reduced Surface Danger Zone (SDZ), tracer rounds not visible by threat targets down range and Force on Force training cartridge (Close Combat Marking Capability Kit -CCMCK).
Sources in the Department of Defense have confirmed the Pentagon is focusing on 6.8mm-caliber firearms for future deployment, according to Shooting Illustrated.
“We’re working with our industry partners to develop the most accurate and effective weaponry and ammunitions in the world using emerging materials and technologies,” Col. Kurt Thompson, deputy director of the Soldier Lethality Cross Functional Team explained to Shooting Illustrated in an e-mail. “We’re urgently and actively posturing our Close Combat Force for the fight of the future in multiple domains, and senior leaders have selected the 6.8 mm as the caliber for our future weapons systems.”
The new 6.8 projectiles are designing to provide improved capability vs. a broad spectrum of targets and increase soldier survivability (current tracers are seen from all directions).
The Army is pursuing a 6.8 mm round for its next-generation squad weapon, which will be designed to work in close-, medium- and long-range battles. The new ammunition will be used with the Next Generation Squad Weapon-Rifle (NGSW-R) and the Next Generation Squad Weapon-Automatic Rifle (NGSW-AR).
In an op-ed for the National Defense, Whitney Watson, senior manager of communications of Northrop Grumman’s small caliber systems division said the Army’s plan to adopt a 6.8 mm round includes building a new manufacturing facility at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Missouri.
The new ammunition will be produced at Lake City after the Army finalizes the weapon, develops the new round and builds a new production facility, he said.
The Army Corps of Engineers has been soliciting for an architect and engineering firm, and design task orders are slated to be awarded by the end of the summer. Following the awards, the service will begin determining the size and scope of the new facility, he noted.