SIG Sauer Academy

RM277 Next Generation Squad Weapons from General Dynamics-OTS, Manufactured by Beretta Defense Systems

General Dynamics-OTS is competing with Textron Systems SIG SAUER in the US Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapons (NGSW) program which seeks to replace the current M4A1 Carbine and M249 Light Machine Gun in the close combat squads with a Rifle and Automatic Rifle designed to fire 6.8mm ammunition. The intent is to provide similar characteristics to 270 Win Short Mag. It’s important to note that the 6.8mm settled on by the Army is the equivalent of .277 in Imperial measurement.

General Dynamics-OTS is partnered with Beretta Defense Systems and True Velocity to offer their NGSW candidate system. The .277 ammunition size has influenced the naming of their rifle and ammunition, the RM277, which also makes it handy to begin marketing to other customers.

General Dynamics-OTS designed the bullpup RM277 and Beretta provides Research and Development support and future high-volume manufacturing capabilities at its new Gallatin, TN, facility.

When the Army decided on a 6.8 cartridge, they left it up to industry to develop the actual ammunition. True Velocity has named their composite cased cartridge the 277 TVCM.

The composite construction makes it 30-40% lighter than current, conventional ammunition. Additional benefits are reduced heat transfer as the composite insulates the chamber and bolt face, the production of extremely concentric and consistent case and precise powder drop which results in consistent pressure and muzzle velocities for improved accuracy, and elimination of heavy metals that produce adverse health effects on Soldiers.

TV also boasts magnetic retrieval of spent cases during training and a case which is 100% recyclable.

Unlike the weapon candidates from their competitors, GD-OTS’ M277-R and RM277-AR are extremely similar. The AR is naturally longer and heavier for sustained fire.

Rather than introducing a box-fed rifle and belt-fed automatic rifle like the others, the bullpup design called for both weapons to be box-fed. The bullpup also allows for longer barrels for both increased velocity and accuracy.

They are gas and recoil operated and impulse averaged with short recoil to offer controllable, accurate automatic fire. They also incorporate dual firing modes, closed bolt in semi-automatic mode and open bolt in automatic mode. Naturally, the weapons feature ambidextrous controls. The suppressor is 3D printed and provided by Delta-P.

Having participated in Soldier Touch Points and reliability and performance testing at Aberdeen Proving Ground, next up for General Dynamics-OTS is to incorporate feedback from Prototype Testing #1 into their design and produce the Prototype Testing #2 samples of weapons and ammunition.

Images supplied Beretta.

For some more background on how the Army ended up with NGSW, read this. Admittedly, I was quite skeptical at first, particularly after the Army had just a failed to select a replacement for the M4 just a few years before with the Individual Carbine program and then the start-stop fiasco of the 7.62mm Carbine effort. But, after watching industry rise to the challenge, I quickly went through the stages of grief to acceptance and am now quite optimistic that the Army will field a new capability.

16 Responses to “RM277 Next Generation Squad Weapons from General Dynamics-OTS, Manufactured by Beretta Defense Systems”

  1. JK says:

    Freaking space guns

  2. Wilson says:

    Any word on why they seemed to have removed the adjustable stock? I quite liked that concept/feature.
    It looks like they changed the trigger/fire control group was changed again.
    Also any info on the two accessories on the front and rear of the rifle? I can’t quite tell what they are.
    lol, I want some high res pictures to go over this with a fine comb

  3. Strike-Hold says:

    Even before the programs you mentioned, the Army certainly has a track record littered with the debris of dead-end “next generation” small arms programs:
    – SPIW / Future Rifle Program
    – 6.5mm SAW Program
    – Advanced Combat Rifle
    – Objective Individual Combat Weapon program
    – XM8

    So I’m still sceptical…. Of course industry rises to the challenge, as always, but will the top brass?

    • SGT Rock says:

      This ^^. Also, the fact that General Dynamics-OTS has partnered with Beretta Defense Systems and True Velocity to create a truly grotesque weapon design that fails on several levels:

      Bullpup stock design w/non-telescoping ability
      The rake/angle of the grip, the harkening back to the old M16A2 grip
      The suppressor is bulbous, prob not good at heat dissipation based on shape

      That being said, I truly hope another manufacturer wins, just on these observations. Modern weapon systems need to be ergonomic w/o the use of immediately applying 3rd party aftermarket mods to make the weapon comfortable to shoot, but hey American ingenuity right?

      Lastly, the US military does need a new caliber round that increases both lethality and range, but also keeping the weight down as well. Caseless ammo has been around for a few decades, and the time to adapt and change has come. The US military leads on a developmental scale, but like Strike-Hold said, adoption is usually left up to the top brass/congressional budgetary approval. Let’s hope this time around we make the right decision before our near peer adversaries start outgunning us on the battlefield.

      • TomeOfStuff says:

        While I’m still more excited by the Textron offering, I’m a little more optimistic about this one than you are. It looks like the stock is indeed adjustable, check out the black metal rail near the back with the adjustment holes drilled. The grip is an M16A2 clone like you mentioned, and while I don’t know whether that’s their final design configuration, the market isn’t hurting for choice in the AR-compatible grip space.

        I’ll admit, I don’t know much about suppressors, why do you think this one would retain more heat compared to a more conventional cylinder shape of the same volume and length?

      • Pete says:

        That type of suppressor is becoming more popular – they are laser sintered out of exotic metals iot create more efficient gas flow paths than would be practical with traditional machining. They purportedly handle heat well and provide excellent moderation for their length. If it all works as advertised, I’m not opposed to these at all. The rest of it though —> trash bin

  4. 5.45_7n6 says:

    I really hope they pick Sig in the end.

    • Chris says:

      I’m not a Sig fanboy by any stretch. That said, they’ve been doing A LOT of cool stuff recently and branching out into almost every reach of the industry. They also seem to listen to customer feedback and make changes to newer models, unlike almost every other company in the industry.

  5. Pete says:

    Eeeeewww, a f***ing bullpup? How about no. Just no.

    [and for those of you that are like “but why? what’s wrong with a bullpup, they… blah blah blah.” The answer is because all guns jam, bullpups, by their nature, take longer to clear, and, in a combat rifle, that is not preferable.]

    • SSD says:

      How about a box-fed SAW? Does the term “BAR” mean anything to anyone?

      • Bill says:

        BAR means an ultra reliable thunder beast, hell bent on stacking Germans, Japanese, and commies with equal vigor. Though one might say it is limited by a 20 round magazine. When a grunt practices the mystical art of “reloading”, coupled with the majesty of “carrying fucking ammo”. The result is brutally beautiful melding of metal and man.

  6. Pepper says:

    As a former Joe, the ammunition seems a much more attractive product than the weapon itself. Recyclable and magnetic to boot. Economical and easier on all the poor privates cleaning up ranges.

    That said, I don’t think the Army is ready to commit to an IAR type design. They’re already looking at a big enough change when it comes to logistics to be thinking about doctrine.

    I am curious though… the combined open/closed system reminds me of FN’s HAMR. I’d be curious to know just how it switches. If I run a mag empty on FA and the weapon presumably locks to the rear, do I have to close the bolt to feed a new round and fire the first round from that position before it switches to FA? Or will it be able to sit in an open position on a new mag?

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