US Army NGSW Submission 6.8 Sherwood by VK Integrated Systems and Bachstein Consulting

The XR-68 is a new weapon system that has been submitted to the Army for the NGSW program by VK Integrated Systems of California and Bachstein Consulting LLC of New Hampshire. The system consists of an electronics suite combined with a rifle chambered for a new cartridge design, 6.8 Sherwood. Variants for both, the NGSW-R and NGSW-AR, have been submitted.

A standout unique feature of the XR-68 is the lower receiver designed to house electronics, route power and data in a secure and robust way. Similar to other VK Integrated Systems rifles, the XR-68 houses the SmarTak electronics system, an advanced weapons system design for real-time battlespace awareness. This will provide the warfighter’s enablers and sights with data that will enhance situational awareness. Parameters like number of shots, last service date, location and orientation will be made available in a way that allows for easy upgrades of software and electronics.

Rifle Design

The XR-68 is based on the DPMS308/SR-25 system used throughout the industry. The XR-68 is chambered for a new cartridge called 6.8 Sherwood. The barrel is the only part that is non-standard, similar in concept to a 300BLK in an AR-15. All other parts in the XR-68, such as the bolt, bolt carrier, fire control, etc., are DPMS308/SR-25 compatible parts. The XR-68 has an ambidextrous charging handle, safety selector and magazine catch.

Ammunition/Cartridge Design

Bachstein Consulting designed the 6.8 Sherwood to meet the level of performance required by the Army for the NGSW program. 6.8 Sherwood has more internal case volume than 7.62mm and other cartridges derived from 7.62mm, allowing for more performance potential. 6.8 Sherwood is compatible with 7.62mm bolts and bolt carriers, no special modifications are required.

VK Integrated Systems

Bachstein Consulting

38 Responses to “US Army NGSW Submission 6.8 Sherwood by VK Integrated Systems and Bachstein Consulting”

  1. jellydonut says:

    Seems to me like they have misunderstood the requirement. I highly doubt the Army is interested in a rifle and ammunition with this size and weight. The 6.8 requirement is for an infantry rifle, not a DMR..

    • mark says:

      The Army actually is pursuing a Battle Rifle sized weapon and round for the purpose of penetrating Body Armor at long range.

      The 6.8 they are pursuing is a 125-135gr @ 3000fps+, so all submissions will be comparable/larger then 6.5C/7.62 to meet that requirement.

    • Duncan M says:

      The Army’s requirements were retarded, its like a gamer kid came up with them, certainly nobody who understands firearms. They wanted a super accurate, lightly recoiling 270 Weatherby Magnum with a short barrel in a carbine. Oh yeah, it needs to have great barrel life too. How about adding in that it needs to feed from magazines made from unicorn bones?

      No submissions so far have remotely come close to the velocities required. To even get them out of a traditional cartridge means a big fat case with lots of powder, which means an AR10 and long barrel.

  2. Rob says:

    They market the system on parts compatibility with already fielded systems yet they used receivers that aren’t compatible with already fielded systems.

    • Richie says:

      Bolts, carriers, springs, firing pins… these are replaced way more often than the receiver, I do not consider that a problem. In fact, having replacement components for a new item already available will make a submission more attractive, as will it having the same ergos and manual of arms as the M4 it replaces

  3. mudd says:

    US Army small arms efforts are usually so absurdly poorly run I don’t follow them.

    Are there objective and threshold parameters published?

    • Joglee says:

      Yes, the key requirement is 600M Level IV armor penetration from a US Army developed and supplied 135gr 6.8 projectile.

      3,000+ fps, 80,000-100,000 ksi chamber pressure, and must be 20% lighter than a comparable cartridge(so lighter than 7.62×51).

  4. TKS says:

    I can see resistance already. “Full powered round” not demonstrably better than its 308 parent. Heavy, big recoil, new tooling, millions of rounds of 7.62 in stock, NATO incompatibility. Yada yada yada. Cancelled like the SCAR MK-16 or multiple M-4 replacements. If going necked down 308, why not go to the 6.5CM? Already being type classified!

    And that 60” 105lb soldier firing a heavy “big dog”. (In that case shouldn’t we just pull M-14’s out of storage?

    Oops, can’t cancel it now, have to spend several hundred million $$$

    ( Read: sarcasm!)

    There are so many existing COTS rounds to choose from. Development done. Just do the trials and type classify.

    • James says:

      Army dictated the caliber and performance, and provided the bullets. They have their reasons for doing so.

      Full sized rifles are getting there in terms of weight, durability ,and balanced operation.
      That rifle weighs about what an A2 does. AR10 rifles have come a long way since the reemergence in the 90’s and even since the 417.

      • TKS says:

        Ok, make it 6.5CM. Or, 6mm SAW we developed and threw away 40 years ago. Why have a 6.5CM for SOCOM snipers and a 6.8 XX for the regular troops? The 6mm saw was supposed to replace 5.56 and 7.62 for the “then” NGSW.

        Are we going back to 20 round magazines? I go back to my last comment, select a COTS round. This idea of a 1000 yard do everything caliber is foolish. We will spend millions to “discover” what we already know: there is no one caliber/round that does everything.

        Is the Army abandoning the SCHV idea?

        • TKS says:

          270 WSM??? 130g @3200’ per second.

          • James says:

            The 270wsm problems you run into are the case weight and shape-forces you to build a bigger rifle to get the capacity you need. They’re doing right by providing the bullet and specs they want- they’ll get a lightweight case designed to function in the rifle they need(one that’s actually usable) . Look at Sig’s ammo submission-30% lighter than 308 , that’s 7.62×39 territory..

        • James says:

          Being forced to by changing tech. So, body armor- in the 90’s a level IV plate weighed about 10lbs and cost around a grand, now a two hundred dollar level IV weighs around 4lbs, at 1k it weighs about 2lbs, most of that advancement has taken place in the last ten years . This is commercial grade consumer stuff, what’s in the pipe line we don’t quite know but the army clearly does( non-Newtonian liquids, ferro fluids ,etc). So SCHV is dependent on velocity for the energy and sectional density for penetration. What happens when armor penetration requires more energy but the tech isn’t there yet for more velocity while maintaining any kind of service life in the weapons? 6.8 at3200fps is what happens- double the mass and keep the velocity the same.

          • Duncan M says:

            The US has fought in two wars for 19 years wearing plates ~rated to Level IV against enemy with no small arms AP ammo that could penetrate it. How much did that influence our TTPs and operations in combat?

            Current wars in Syria and Iraq have both sides wearing body armor. How much has that altered TTPs and operations?

            If getting a rifle and LMG that fire a 6.8 AP round to 3,200 fps was an easy and cheap accomplishment, then by all means lets do it. If its a pie-in-the-sky concept that leads to a terrible and unrealistic weapon system, that was only devised because it was the good idea of soon to be outgoing Chief of Staff, then its stupid.

            • James says:

              20years ago it was pie-in-the-sky, like I said above AR10 rifles have come a long long way, and looking at Sig’s LMG and the KAC 308 LMG , I really don’t think it’s out of reach at all.

              • Duncan M says:

                Those are 20 lb MMG, and there is nothing really unique about them.

                AR10 rifles are NEVER going to get 3200-3400 fps with a 130 gr bullet. Magazine COAL is too short to have the capacity for the amount of powder needed. Either that, or the cases would be as fat as a 50 cal round. And that doesn’t even address barrel life would be measured in a matter of months, and there is no existing tech that is going to stop a melonited or chrome lined barrel throat from burning out from super hot, high pressure loads fired down it, especially rapid semi or full auto fire.

                To meet requirements, the NGSW has to be as small and light as an M4, recoil less, fire a round that is equivalent to 270 Weatherby Magnum or greater, have a great barrel life, etc. They really could have added unicorn material and not been any more ridiculous.

                And this is all done simply to address the same body armor fear that almost led them a year or more back to get 7.62 battle rifles. Again, stupid, as defeating near peer enemy who have Lvl IV plates is not going to come down to who has the ability to center punch them. That’s an irrational fear.

                • James says:

                  Go look at the Sig ammo,. Both LMGs are lighter than a SAW
                  As far as the body armor fear, I don’t think you understand the rate it’s progressing and I don’t think it’ll be just plates. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that in 20 years guys are going to have relatively normal looking and wearing clothes that will stop 9mm at the muzzle and 5.56 at a couple hundred yards.. By 2030 hard armor will be so light and cheap that every threat you face will be wearing it( levelIII plates are already under $100bucks ). That’s what’s imaginable for a random guy who’s probably looking at 10year old data. This whole thing’s exponential ,the next 30years are going to be crazy.

                  • Duncan M says:

                    They are 20 lbs unloaded. Last I checked the M249 PIP, which is already a shitty gun, is 15 lbs.

                    I do understand the rate body armor is progressing. You’re talking sci-fi, that isn’t even vapor wear. The cheap plates you’re referring to are steel with spall lining, that’s why they’re cheap. They are also not light. The light ones are composite and cost nearly $500-1,000 for a set, especially Lvl IV.

                    By 2030, armor technology will be dogshit because the US will have cease being a major power, the result of civil war and financial collapse. That is how fiction works, I can make shit up too.

              • TKS says:

                I’ll wait and see. My prediction, same as before, millions spent, project abandoned for cost and inability to be the next “super weapon”.

                BTW, I own and routinely shoot MSR’s in 556, 6.5 Grendel, 6.5 CM, 224 Valkyrie, 308, and 50 Beowulf. Not claiming expertise in all fields, just saying I am familiar with the platforms.

                • James says:

                  Guess we all will . I understand on the rifle experience, it’s so broad anymore it’s hard to keep up with,layersand niches of the market. Just gotta remember that everything on that list is approaching 20years old except the Valk. Think about where the AR market was 20years before that and then add in the AWB- basically you had 223,5.56,and 6×45.. look how far that retarded growth took us. Now imagine the last 20 with hundreds of producers, more powerful design tools, booming markets, and two 20year wars to drive development….

              • ????????? ??????????? says:

                If the requirements call for body armor penetration as the primary reason for qoing big and fast (round) how much longer do you believe that body armor technology will make this effort obsolete?

                • Duncan M says:

                  About one week after the NGSW carbine and auto rifle are issued completely, Russia and China reveal a Lvl V plate that weighs same as current Lvl IV. Army COS and his staff commit mass suicide.

                • James says:

                  Level v is kinda already out there, it’s just been ridiculous. Think the Idea is that you have to be able to defeat the low end , and also why I said I don’t think it’s just plates.

          • Squirrel says:

            Where are you finding 2 lb Lvl IV plates?

            For a grand per plate I know you can get special threat plates that stop AP 7.62×39, but those still weigh 4 lb.

            • James says:

              Man, I’m looking for a link and not finding it- read so much it’s hard to remember if I don’t bookmark it. The DKX 3+ I think are a little over 2 lbs(2.8ish) .I guess I’ll admit defeat on that one ,since I can’t show a link.

              • Alex says:

                If you’re an extra-small, you can get a HESCO 4800 LV plate (Level IV, low vis) that weights only 3.3 lbs lol.

  5. jack says:

    Maximum effective minutes of contemplation before being denied: 0.

  6. EzGoingKev says:

    Didn’t the military just make the decision to go to 6.5CM? What does this 6.8 round give you that you cannot get out of the 6.5?

    • Duncan M says:

      6.5 Creedmoor was for SOCOM precision rifles. The NGSW is for the US Army as replacement for M4 and M249.

    • James says:

      SOCOM did in some cases . As far as advantages-slightly larger bore should give a little better velocities out of shorter barrels. Over the CM specifically- 135 @3200 I’m not sure is possible in the CM case. Again Army already designed the bullets just looking for a lightweight case that meets their energy/velocity requirements.

    • EzGoingKev says:

      This is going to be a big waste of money – just like the uniform BS.

  7. Patrick Sweeney says:

    If the plan is to ask for the sun, the moon and the stars, and then settle for what can realistically be delivered, then OK.

    If the plan is to actually get the sun, the moon and the stars, then a lot of people are going to be disappointed.

    Except those who get promoted, of course.

    • Duncan M says:

      Some real sense here. But even a compromise is still wasteful and in my opinion unnecessary as the body armor penetration argument just doesn’t hold water.

      The M4 still has decades left before its obsolete, it just needs some tweaks to run at max efficiency and that wouldn’t be expensive. The M249 should be replaced, but I’d be looking at something like the KAC LAMG, not vapor wear.

      I agree with officers getting promoted being a major factor in any procurement, either that or looking for post retirement defense industry jobs. But mostly this is GEN Milley’s good idea, just a continuation of his unsuccessful push for a 7.62mm Interim Combat Service Rifle (ICSR) program, to deal with his obsession with fighting near peer enemy and “overmatch.” He has a few months left before he’s replaced, hopefully the incoming Chief of Staff has the sense to kill this disaster.