The US Army has awarded a new contract to aerospace and defence manufacturing firm Textron Systems to develop a functional prototype for the Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle (NGSAR) programme.
Textron’s prototype could be used to replace the army’s light machine gun, the M249 squad automatic weapon (SAW), in the Brigade Combat Teams (BCT).
The scope of the contract involves the development and delivery of a new system demonstrator, which would be based on Textron Systems’ current portfolio of Cased-Telescoped (CT) weapons and ammunition.
The company intends to produce a high-velocity, magazine-fed system of an intermediate calibre.
Weighing less than 12lb, the prototype will be designed to meet the NGSAR programme’s requirements with ammunition weighing 20% less than an equal brass case.
The current contract is built upon two related awards that the company recently secured from the US Army for the development of advanced weapons and fire control technologies for the Next Generation Squad Weapon Technologies (NGSW-T) and fire control capability development.
The NGSAR is the first variant of the next-generation squad weapons that are designed to address operational needs identified in a wider range of capability-based assessments and several after-action reports.
The weapon will combine the firepower and range of a machine gun with the precision and ergonomics of a rifle, providing enhanced soldier mobility, survivability and firing accuracy.
The NGSAR will be employed against close and extended-range targets in all terrains and conditions.