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First Look – US Army’s New Direct View Optic by SIG SAUER

Just as Fiscal Year 2020 was closing out, the US Army awarded SIG SAUER an Other Transaction Agreements contract valued at $77,168,400.00 for the Direct View Optic program. SIG put up their TANGO6T which continues to rack up contract wins.

The Army envisioned DVO of being capable of variable power magnification with minimum magnification of 1.0x with no rounding and maximum magnification greater than or equal to 6.0 power.

Their rationale was that variable power magnification optics combine the capabilities of the non-magnified optic’s ability to engage close quarter targets with a fixed-magnification optic’s ability to detect, recognize, identify, and precisely engage targets at extended ranges. This allows the Soldier to have both critical capabilities without the limitations of either non magnified or fixed magnification optics.

The Army announced the program in June of 2019. It seemed to move rapidly at first, but then stalled as COVID-19 sidetracked many programs. The Army also used the time to consider prioritization of its Next Generation Squad Weapon program, intended to replace the 5.56mm M4A1 and M249 with new weapons firing a 6.8 x 51 mm round with increased range and penetration for use by close combat forces. These include Infantry, Cavalry Scouts, and Combat Engineers as well as those who provide them embedded support, such as Combat Medics. The Army has included its Special Operations Forces as well in the NGSW program.

Just when many expected the Army to cancel the program, they announced the contract award.


This is a TANGO6T mounted to the SIG SAUER SLSR in 6.8mm, their NGSW Rifle candidate, nicknamed the Spear.

The TANGO6T is a 1-6×24 riflescope featuring a Flat Dark Earth (FDE) anodized aircraft grade aluminum maintube, illuminated front focal plane reticle, an ultra-bright red horseshoe dot for fast daylight target acquisition, locking illumination dial, Power Selector Ring (PSR) Throw Lever, and a laser-marked scope level indicator for mount installation. All of the variants I have used so far have featured the red horseshoe dot.

The DVO version of the TANGO6T differs slightly from both the version already adopted by the Army for the Squad Designated Marksman Rifle and the version selected by US Special Operations Command for the Squad – Variable Power Scope program.

The SDMR optic procurement is complete and the S-VPS procurement is ongoing, with a new reticle, despite a lot of rumors to the contrary.

We’ll dispel another rumor as well. These are assembled in the US. No, the optical prescription doesn’t come from the US, no one’s does, at least not for any optic you’d want to use. But everything else is made here, and the whole thing is assembled here as well.


An initial version of the USSOCOM S-VPS.

There will be a new reticle for DVO. From what I understand it will be a BDC reticle for the M855A1 ammunition. It is also slightly shorter in length than the other versions. I’d expect a few other changes as well before it begins fielding, as this always happens. We’ll update you once we hear more.

The optic below was built for the DVO program. It’s the one mounted to the Spear above. The color variations in the photos are due to lighting.

Expect this procurement to move out quickly. Test and evaluation should proceed rapidly as the TANGO6T is already a known quantity. Conversely, this new optic will also have significant impacts on marksmanship training in how to properly use a variable power optic, beyond snipers and designated marksmen. That could mean the training base will have to adapt the SDMR new equipment training for a new caliber, and wider audience. The optics will likely be ready before the force is ready to receive them.

The first tranche of around 45,000 DVO are supposed to go to the US Air Force for use by Security Forces, which is the largest enlisted careerfield in the AF. This will satisfy a requirement we’ve been reporting on since 2018.

However, the US Army will assuredly buy off this contract as well. They awarded it after all. To be sure, the Army is committed to the Next Generation Squad Weapon – Fire Control solution currently being evaluated alongside the NGSW candidates. However, there are two issues afoot. First off, FC will be very expensive and likely only used with the next gen guns once they come online. The second issue is that the Army has almost one million M4/16 rifles in their inventory. Even if NGSW is completely fielded it’s well short of the inventory of rifles and machine guns it will replace. I estimate the M4 will remain in service well into the 2040s in very large numbers, as in hundreds of thousands. While the M4 won’t be the main battle rifle used by close combat forces, there is no reason to not replace the current fixed magnification (1x magnification) M4 COMP from Aimpoint with a variable power optic.

Consequently, there is already talk of a procurement of tens of thousands of DVO for use by close combat forces awaiting NGSW since DVO was written specifically for use with the M4A1. Yes, you read that right, the Army will buy this scope. Remember, the Army initially talked about purchasing 120,000 optics (to include other agency buys) when the requirement dropped.

There’s a lot of room in the contract to buy optics and they can modify it to buy even more if the need arises. Considering it’s an OTA, modifying the ceiling isn’t difficult. The Army just needs to be careful about how long they use the section 804 authority to purchase this piece of equipment (up to five years according to the award data).

However, once it is assigned an NSN, they can transition procurement into sustainment and have the Defense Logistics Agency manage procurement. Along with that move is generally a new contract opportunity and a chance for other vendors to compete to build it. This usually occurs once the initial contract runs out, which is around five years.

This program kicks off soon.

8 Responses to “First Look – US Army’s New Direct View Optic by SIG SAUER”

  1. Mick says:

    Would love to see pics of the various reticles described in article…

    Good article though; great breakdown of differences between the Tango 6T variants.

  2. Kris says:

    I am hopping that the M855A1 reticle is not the M855A1 SOCOM Hellfire. That reticle seems like a horrible option for the intended use.

  3. Chris from Cali says:

    Anyone else raise an eyebrow at the news that Security Forces is the largest enlisted MOS in the Air Force?

  4. Naval Security Forces says:

    USAF Security Police is the Air Forces “only all weather fighter”. I remember that moniker when I went through their security police academy in 1990. Yeah, that MOS is everywhere.

  5. Jay says:

    schmidt and bender short dot, so why go sig?