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US Army Announces Industry Days for Next Generation Squad Weapons

Just two weeks ago the US Army issued a draft Prototype Opportunity Notice for the Next Generation Squad Weapons, their number one Lethality priority which consists of the Next Generation Squad Weapon-Rifle (NGSW-R) and the Next Generation Squad Weapon-Automatic Rifle (NGSW-AR). The NGSW-R is the planned replacement for the M4/M4A1 Carbine and the NGSW-AR is the planned replacement for the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) in the Automatic Rifleman Role in Brigade Combat Teams (BCT). Both are planned to be chambered in 6.8mm, firing a completely new cartridge which does not currently exist. This program is more an ammunition program than a weapon program.

In a notice published earlier today on www.fbo.gov, the Army announced that it will hold industry days for the upcoming Next Generation Squad Weapons Prototype Opportunity Notice. They will be Wednesday to Friday, November 14 through 16, 2018. This pace shows how dedicated the Army is to the plan.

The NGSW program overview will be provided on November 14, 2018 beginning at 9:00 am and will be completed by 12:00 pm.

The one-on-one sessions will start November 14, 2018 at 1:00pm and continue through November 16, 2018 as necessary. One-on-one sessions will be limited to 45 minutes with a 15 minute break between sessions. Vendors may have partners join their one-on- one sessions.

Th Industry Days will be open to foreign companies but they must follow particular instructions.

Be sure to visit www.fbo.gov for full details.

3 Responses to “US Army Announces Industry Days for Next Generation Squad Weapons”

  1. Jason B says:

    I’d argue that it’s as much about the weapon as it is the ammo just that the Army is focusing on it in the right order. Design the ammunition to the desired specs and then build a weapon around said ammo. Too often people either try to put new ammo into weapon families not originally designed for it (AR platform is a perfect example) and have to compromise performance in certain areas due to pre-existing constraints. OR they try to do a new weapon with the same ammo and generally the costs don’t justify the level of change in performance (because most of it is the ammo). Hence why the IC competition was garbage and why the Army would never sign off on a new rifle in 5.56 because there can’t be a significant jump in lethality if you’re using the same ammo just different rifle. By focusing on ammo as the first step of the weapon development you don’t have any constraints that you would with an already existing platform.

    Regardless of the results that come of the NGSW program at least they’ve got it in the right developmental order.

    • Kirk says:

      “Regardless of the results that come of the NGSW program at least they’ve got it in the right developmental order.”

      No, they emphatically do not have it in the “right developmental order”, being as they have not clearly set out what the hell they intend to actually do with this weapon, or even what the hell the issues are that it’s supposed to correct–Aside from a bunch of nebulous bullshit that stems from catastrophically bad thinking about what the hell we’re actually doing in combat.

      Firstly, the raw data isn’t actually here–I defy anyone to tell me precisely what actual effect each of our infantry weapons is having on the enemy in real combat, and how the hell the current cartridge/weapon suite is actually effecting that. We simply don’t really know, in a very profound sense, what the hell is going on downrange. We think we do, but it’s like that time I walked into an AAR at the NTC, where the player unit thought their Bradleys took down two companies of reinforced OPFOR, only for the TAF to produce the recorded data showing that the majority of the kills came from the tank company to their north that had blundered into a near-perfect firing solution.

      I’ve watched this shit happen in real time, in real combat, while monitoring engagements through UAV assets. The fog of war is real, and the problem is that we’re making decisions about what weapons to “fix” and buy based on entirely subjective impressions that may or may not be accurate or even slightly reality-based. What we think is going on in combat, under fire, is highly unlikely to actually be what is going on. We haven’t done the necessary things, like conducting autopsies on recovered enemy dead, and even tried to track what the hell is going on with regards to which weapons killed them in action.

      The thing that just baffles me is how much specious reasoning goes into all of this, and how much wishful thinking takes place. For myself, I cannot say with accuracy what the hell is going on, and I’m honest enough to admit that up front. I don’t like the 5.56mm, but the fact is, I can’t actually prove that there is something wrong with that cartridge, or that it doesn’t fit what our tactics and operational plans have tried to do. And, again, why is that? Because we’re lacking real, objective numbers to actually reach supported and valid conclusions.

      I’ve read over this subject for years, while I was on active duty and since retirement; I’ve watched this crap play out on the ground in exercises, and while deployed, watching the “big screen” kind of crap that the TAF captures at the NTC–And, I’m here to tell you, I have precisely zero faith in the data we have, or the methodology we’re using to capture it. Exit interviews of troops at the end of their deployments don’t account for squat, when most of those soldiers have no more idea what their weapons did to the enemy than the guy sitting in the office collating them all does. Garbage data in, garbage data out, piss-poor decisions follow.

      The more I see of this whole process, the more frustrating it is. I don’t think that these ass-clowns could articulate a clear and cogent concept of what they think our weapons are doing right now, especially one that was actually based on real-world evidence–And, because they can’t do that, any attempt they make to improve things is only going to result in producing any real improvement by sheerest chance.

      Which, of course, is how we wound up with the 5.56mm/M16 combination in the first damn place. Second iteration of that sort of epic half-assery is statistically unlikely to result in any real improvement on this go-round.

      I feel like the 5.56mm/7.62mm suite is “not quite right”. That’s a long way from being able to quantify what is actually wrong with them, if anything, and then “improve” things. From the looks of things, the idjits running this shit-show are unable to admit to themselves that they really, fundamentally do not know the things they should before iterating this idiocy yet again. God knows what will come out of it, and given the shifts in battlefield necessity I see coming up in the next few years…? I don’t think this is gonna end well. Last time around, we got the M16, which worked pretty well once the initial fielding issues were wrung out. This time? Don’t rely on God looking out for fools, drunkards, and the US Army. I’m pretty sure He is at the marginal edge of his patience, and we’re actually over-due for a serious lesson in why we should not make divine providence a part of our operational plans.

    • Will Rodriguez says:

      Jason frankly I’m not sure about what the right order is. There are numerous successful historical examples of both approaches to weapons development (round vs. platform).

      I believe we should always be looking to improve and when we have exponential increases in lethality, range or decreased weight that’s when you make a switch. Frankly it is too early to tell. I’ve learned long ago to be skeptical of what snake oil salesman say they can deliver.

      The prudent approach here is to keep an eye on developments for flagrant pie in the sky promises. My personal key data point is weight. We weigh down the current grunt like almost never before. Reducing basic loads isn’t a solution since so much of our tactics rely on fire and maneuver with the requisite reliance on fire superiority. Fire superiority (short of guided bullets) relies on suppressive fires and that takes a lot of ammo = weight.