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The Next Generation Squad Weapons (NGSW) Program is an iterative, prototyping effort, using Middle Tier Acquisition Authority, to develop operationally relevant, squad-level lethality to combat proliferating threats, informed by Soldiers feedback.

The NGSW prototyping effort consists of the Rifle (NGSW-R) and Automatic Rifle (NGSW-AR) with a common 6.8mm cartridge and Fire Control (NGSW-FC) between the two systems.  The effort aims to field to the Close Combat Force (CCF) with the NGSW-R as the planned replacement for the M4A1 and the NGSW-AR as the planned replacement for the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon.

The program is currently in a competitive prototyping iteration with three vendors for weapons and ammunition (SIG Sauer, General Dynamics – OTS, and Textron Systems) and two vendors for fire control (Vortex Optics and L3Harris).  The first prototype test, beginning in 3QFY20, will serve as a “diagnostic test” to inform the weapon and ammunition vendors on their current performance and feed another design iteration.  The second prototype test, beginning in 2QFY21, will inform selection teams on the performance of these systems.


The NGSW program significantly increases lethality and probability of hit at the squad level.  Due to the nature of the General Purpose ammunition, the 6.8mm projectile will outperform even the most modern 5.56mm and 7.62mm ammunition.  These weapon systems will give Soldiers significant capability improvements in accuracy, range, signature management, and lethality.


Though the specifics are competition sensitive, the NGSW-R, NGSW-AR, NGSW-FC, and the 6.8mm ammunition will be compatible with all the currently fielded enablers, while providing an open Adaptive Soldier Architecture (ASA) to integrate with developing enabler programs.


Three weapon and ammunition vendors, and two fire control vendors are competing through FY21 in two separate prototyping efforts, with the option to produce and field based on system performance.


FY20: Prototype Test #1 (Diagnostic)

FY21: Prototypes Test #2 (Record) onward selections and production decision

FY22: First Unit Equipped