Saturday, April 20, 2024

US Soldiers test next-gen weapons in extreme cold weather

The U.S. Army undertook a crucial assessment of its Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) at the U.S. Army Cold Regions Test Center (CRTC) in Fort Greely, according to a recent service press release.

The Army said in a release that this evaluation aimed to ensure that the military’s frontline equipment is reliable and effective even in the harshest environments.

The NGSW, represented by the XM7 and XM250, represents a significant evolution from the M4 rifle and M249 light machine gun. Designed to enhance accuracy, range, and overall performance, these new weapons are lighter and feature reduced recoil, despite utilizing a larger 6.8-millimeter round.


During the multi-week test, soldiers from the Army’s 11th Airborne stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska supported rigorous field exercises and simulations. These activities included engagements at static and kinetic ranges, maneuver live fires, and a demanding 72-hour simulated mission across the expansive ranges of the CRTC.

The extreme cold of the Alaskan winter provided an ideal testing ground, with temperatures plummeting to as low as -54 degrees Fahrenheit. This harsh environment pushed both soldiers and equipment to their limits, providing valuable insights into the performance of the NGSW under challenging conditions.

A team of dedicated data collectors, including personnel from the Yuma Test Center in Arizona, braved the freezing temperatures to gather critical information on the weapons’ functionality, battery life, and overall effectiveness. Despite the harsh conditions, the test yielded valuable data that will inform future decisions regarding the deployment of the NGSW.

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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.