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US Army Announces 6 Prototype Opportunity Notice Awards to 5 Companies for Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle

Although announced just today, the U.S. Army Contracting Command – New Jersey (ACC-NJ), on behalf of Project Manager Soldier Weapons, awarded five companies contracts to develop prototype weapon technologies on June 25, 2018.

These were for six separate Fixed Priced, Full and Open Competition (F&OC), Prototype OTA’s to:

AAI Corporation Textron Systems – Hunt Valley, MD; OTA W15QKN-18-9-1017

FN America LLC. – Columbia, SC; OTA’s W15QKN-18-9-1018 & W15QKN-18-9-1019

General Dynamics-OTS Inc. – Williston, VT; OTA W15QKN-18-9-1020

PCP Tactical, LLC – Vero Beach, FL; OTA W15QKN-18-9-1021

Sig Sauer Inc. – Newington, NH; OTA W15QKN-18-9-1022

These Prototype Other Transaction Agreements will be for the manufacture and development of a Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle (NGSAR) system demonstrator representative of a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 and Manufacturing Readiness Level (MRL) 6. The expected Prototype OTA duration is twelve months after award.

Earlier this year, the Army released a Prototype Opportunity Notice for NGSAR, which is intended to replace the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon in Brigade Combat Teams. The prototype must weigh less than 12 pounds, with ammunition weighing 20 percent less than an equivalent brass case and integrate fire control. Although the caliber and type of ammunition is left open to vendors, most are using the government provided 6.8mm projectile. Notice I said projectile. It will be up to them to create a cartridge which is lightweight, yet delivers an undisclosed velocity which is beyond any other intermediate caliber cartridge previously evaluated. With that comes the challenge of increased chamber pressures and recoil which must be dealt with.

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13 Responses to “US Army Announces 6 Prototype Opportunity Notice Awards to 5 Companies for Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle”

  1. charlie says:

    Honestly I’m shocked KAC’s LAMG wasn’t chosen as one of the competitors.

  2. Pete says:

    As a guy who’s had to carry a SAW, the KAC LAMG is really appealing. Belt-fed Open Bolt, nutsack accepting, QC bbl’d 8.5 lb SAW? Yes Please. Are there issues with this system? I haven’t heard much about it, but what I have heard has been glowing reviews.

    For that matter, I’d really love to have a solid comparison of the 7.62 KAC LAMG, the M60E6 and the Barrett 240LWS.

    Carrying ammo sucks, yes, but I think we’re way too focused on this polymer ammo stuff. These newer designs, if reliable, would significantly increase the lethality of the gunner (SAW or GPMG both). The weight in your arms is much more limiting than the weight in your ruck or pack.

  3. Joglee says:

    So are they all using different ammunition, or all Textron LSAT?

  4. Joglee says:

    SSD, are they comparing the 20% weight reduction against the 5.56 used in the M249?

    • mark says:

      I believe its a goal of being 20% lighter then the equivalent brass case version of the “6.8 HVAP” they are interested in.

      So, if the 6.8 HVAP Brass weighs 24 grams per cartridge, then “6.8 NGSAR” that weighed 19.2 grams or less would meet the requirement.

      LSAT/Polymer Cased Telescopic ammo will easily meet that weight reduction, as would the cases developed by PCP and True Velocity (Polymer/Steel hybrid conventionals) and Shell Shock (Hybrid Aluminum/Steel conventional.)

      It will be interesting to see what cases FN/GD/Sig choose to offer.

      • SSD says:

        Correct. The issue at hand is reliability in operation and handling the chamber pressures required for the desired velocity.

        • Joglee says:

          That was my next question, isn’t the stated goal 80-100ksi to achieve a insanely high muzzle velocity to defeat Level IV armor?

          So with that type of chamber pressure, how well does LSAT hold up to rough handling? I mean if you drop your mag or gun and the brass takes a blow it gets a dent which doesn’t degrade structural integrity. What happens to polymer when it takes a similar blow and gets a gouge dug out of the polymer so you have a chunk of polymer missing from the case?

          • mark says:

            I think that’s not much of a concern for LSAT; polymer is pretty tough and impact resistant (check out any Bic lighter you find on the side of the road) and from the cutaways of LSAT cases floating around, it looks to be reasonably thick plastic.

            Also, the barrel/bolt are what contain the majority of the pressure, not the case.

            So from a technical standpoint, the biggest hurdles are not case strength, but designing:
            -a chamber/bolt that can withstand 80-100kpsi
            -a barrel that can survive the heat and velocity of HVAP over thousands of rounds without degradation of accuracy and velocity
            -a suppressor that can handle the extra muzzle pressure/heat associated with a cartridge this high pressure
            -integrating these into a 12lb firearm with tolerable recoil

  5. Seamus says:

    Based on the US Army’s track record of canceling small arms weapon contracts, competitions and programs; lets just say I am not holding my breath.

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