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The Desert Tech Next Generation Squad Weapons Prototypes

The US Army is currently well into an ambitious program to replace the 5.56mm NATO M4 Carbine and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon with new weapons in a 6.8mm cartridge which will offer performance similar to 270 WSM.

Since they weren’t selected for as a finalist for further development, many do not know that Desert Tech participated in the US Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapons program. Teamed with PCP Ammunition, Desert Tech provided the weapon capability.

We are fortunate to share some great background from Desert Tech on their participation in this developmental weapon system program.

Nick Young, Desert Tech CEO, seen above with Tony Padgett of PCP Ammo, provides us with this narrative:

In the Spring of 2018 PCP was selected as a NGSAR finalist and approached Desert Tech to develop modifications to their MDR to meet the requirements of Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle (NGSAR) program. NGSAR was a development program that called for advancements in ammunition, rifle capability, and technology integration. The program’s goals were to increase soldier engagement capabilities, maximize lethality, and maximize mobility.

Desert Tech’s MDR rifle was an attractive candidate for the program due to its lightweight bullpup design that allowed for significantly more barrel length than a similar length AR style weapon, as well as several features that set the MDR apart from other bullpups.

Desert Tech partnered with PCP for the NGSAR program, and the US Army awarded a development contract to the team to create the DT NGSAR rifle and the 6.8 PCP lightweight ammunition.


The 6.8 PCP cartridge incorporates a 136 Grain projectile which boasts up to 3187 FPS from a 22″ barrel prototype.

The 6.8 PCP cartridge is similar in size and proportion to the .270 WSM, but with more case capacity. The new cartridge utilizes PCP’s proprietary polymer case technology, making the ammunition 28% lighter overall than its brass equivalent, which made the soldiers’ 210 round ammo loadout weight just 9.96 LBS. DT’s NGSAR rifles muzzle easily achieved velocities of 2930 fps and 3187 fps without exceeding standard chamber pressures when firing 136 grain projectiles through the long 20” and 22” barrels respectively.

Although the DT NGSAR rifles’ lower receiver and cheekpiece look similar to the MDR rifle, the NGSAR is an entirely new beast. To accommodate the large 6.8 PCP cartridge, intelligent rail requirements, and fully automatic needs, a new design was needed, including: creating a longer receiver, bolt carrier, barrel, barrel extension, charging handle, forward ejection mechanisms, barrel mounting system, and a proprietary 6.8 20 round magazine. DT’s NGSAR rifle had numerous advanced and standard features including;
-DT’s proprietary forward ejection mechanism
-Multi-caliber capability between 6.8 PCP, 7.62 NATO, and 5.56 NATO
-On-board round-counter and other electronic sensors
-T-Worx Battery Powered integrated data rails at 12, 3, 6, and 9 O’clock positions
-DT custom flow-through technology reflex suppressor
-CNOD day/night optic with LRF fire control
-Magpul 45 deg offset flip up sights
-Magpul Bipod
-Sling

The base rifle weight with 20” barrel weighs 9.94 lbs with a length of 31.75” (for comparison, the M4 rifle is 33” with stock extended). DT’s titanium reflex silencer suppressed to 148 decibels at the shooters ear. The rifle is definitely state of the art and designed for future combat in mind.

As part of the NGSW program, the team submitted two weapons, a Carbine and Automatic Rifle.

During the development of the NGSAR rifle, PCP and Desert Tech went on to compete together for the NGSW development effort, but unfortunately were not selected due to the proposal timing that did not allow for adequate prototype testing prior submission. Had the original Army schedule been followed which allowed for the completion of NGSAR prior to the NGSW proposal submission, the system would likely have been selected. The revolutionary weapon and ammunition system was a leading performer and provided a glimpse at the future of modern warfare.

DT NGSAR Rifle System Specifications:
Caliber: 6.8 PCP
Action: Short stroke piston
Fire Modes: 0, 1, Full Auto
Rate of Fire: 650 rpm
Capacity: 20 rounds
Barrel Length: 20”
Muzzle Velocity: 2933 fps
Rifle Length: 31.75”
Rifle Length with silencer: 35.125”
Rifle weight: 9.94 lbs
Suppressed sound: 148 DB
Sight Magnification: 2x, 4x, 6x
Total System Weight: 12.65 lbs
Ammo Loadout Weight (210 rds): 9.96

Here is a demonstration of the DT Next Gen weapon.

This video is a record of the chonograph readings taken of the 6.8 PCP round beibg fired from the DT weapon.

3 Responses to “The Desert Tech Next Generation Squad Weapons Prototypes”

  1. Samuel Suggs says:

    Hi guys thanks for tuning into another video on forgotten weapons

  2. Joglee says:

    That ammo is huge and so was that recoil.