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Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) Program for US Army, by Textron

American aerospace and defense giant Textron Systems is preparing to develop a prototype of the Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) for the US Army. 

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The company received a contract from the Army to develop a prototype for the Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle (NGSAR) program. According to Textron Systems official website. The prototype could potentially replace the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon in Brigade Combat Teams. 

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Textron is an $11.7 billion, multi-industry company with 33000 employees worldwide. The company serves in industries ranging from aerospace and defense, specialized vehicles, turf care and fuel systems. 

“When it comes to equipping the modern warfighter – less is definitely more. Our NGSW solution reflects more than 15 years of soldier feedback with improved maneuverability, increased performance, and lighter total system weight.” According to the company’s official Twitter account. 

NGSW Program Details:

The Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) in Rifle (NGSW-R) and Automatic Rifle (NGSW-AR) configuration would replace in the Close Combat Force the M249 and M4A1. Both NGSW-R and NGSW-AR will be able to fire 6.8mm rounds. Defence Blog reported. 

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NGSW Rifle by Textron
Textron Systems Next Generation Squad Weapon rifle variant. (Image: Matthew Cox/Military.com)

Under the contract, the company will build on its current portfolio of Cased-Telescoped (CT) weapons & Ammunition to develop and deliver a system demonstrator. The plans are to build a high-velocity, magazine-fed system of an intermediate caliber. The prototype platform will weigh less than 12 pounds, with ammunition weighing 20% less than an equal brass case. 

The NGSW will build upon two related awards from the U.S. Army. One for Next Generation Squad Weapon Technologies (NGSW-T) and the second for fire control capability development. Textron said in a report. 

The program is currently under the iteration of competitive prototyping with three onboard vendors (SIG Sauer, General Dynamics – OTS, and Textron Systems) for weapons and ammunition while two vendors (Vortex Optics and L3Harris) are for fire control. 

The company has a rich experience of Cased-Telescoped (CT) armaments. Textron with 40 years in CT weapons development includes a CT Light Machine Gun of 5.56mm, CT Medium Machine Gun of 7.62mm, and CT Carbine of 6.5mm. 

The next generation of weapons will be more lethal and maneuverable and will have 40% less weight than current systems. 

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“We are preparing to deliver 30 rifles and 28 automatic rifles, as well as over 680,000 rounds of ammo. Those weapon systems and ammo will go through additional reliability, performance, and soldier touchpoint testing.” Wayne Prender, senior Vice President of Applied Technologies and Advanced Programs at Textron, told defense reporters. Military.com reported. 

Textron is actively taking part in developing the next generation of weapons for the military. In January 2020, the company won an Army competition to develop unmanned combat vehicles capable of supplementing soldiers on the battlefield. According to a Forbes report

The company is also developing some other advanced platforms including Bell 360 Invictus Scout and reentry systems for the successor to the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile. 

If Textron wins the Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) competition, then they will have to provide hundreds of thousands of rifles to the joint forces. 

Analysis:

America is spending billions of dollars to modernize its Army for future battles and the current NGSW (Next Generation Squad Weapon) program is a part of that modernization plan.

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Textron is betting to develop advanced weapons for the US Army. According to Forbes, there are few companies that offer a wide array of technology to the joint forces and Textron is one of them.

Sources:

  1. Textron Systems
  2. Forbes
  3. Defence Blog
  4. Military.com