Textron have announced the delivery of their first Next Generation Squad Weapon prototype to the US Army, the first of five to be delivered. It should be noted that the prototype is in fulfillment of what is now being termed the Next Generation Squad Weapon-Technology (NGSW-T) award, not the separate Next Generation Squad Weapon-Automatic Rifle (NGSW-AR).
Textron have been working with the US Army for a number of years to develop cased telescoped weapons and ammunition which has led to the LSAT LMG being used as a technology demonstrator. This has led to some confusion with General Mark Milley, US Army Chief of Staff, responding to media questions about the NGSW programme in terms that clearly reference Textron’s earlier LSAT demonstrator, for instance at the 2018 AUSA Conference. It’s also worth noting that the current Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, Ellen Lord, was President and Chief Executive Officer of Textron Systems Corporation (from 2012 to 2017) for much of the LSAT’s initial development and work with the Army.
Here’s Textron Systems’ press release on the delivery:
Textron Systems, a business of Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT), announced today that it delivered the initial Next Generation Squad Weapon-Technology (NGSW-T) prototype demonstrator to the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Armaments Center and Joint Services Small Arms Program (JSSAP). The automatic rifle prototype, based on the company’s proven Cased-Telescoped (CT) Weapons and Ammunition technology, is the first of five weapon demonstrators that Textron Systems will deliver for the program.
“Moving from contract award to delivery of a revolutionary, next-generation weapon in just 15 months not only demonstrates the maturity of our CT technology, but also the project execution excellence our team possesses to rapidly fill critical warfighter needs on schedule,” said Textron Systems Senior Vice President of Applied Technologies & Advanced Programs Wayne Prender. “Our CT weapons and ammunition offer the growth path to a true next-generation small arms weapon for U.S. warfighters, including increased lethality at longer ranges, while also delivering significant weight reductions to the warfighter.”
Technologies demonstrated by Textron Systems under the NGSW-T effort will inform the Army’s formal NGSW program and include weapon and ammunition weight reduction, weapon sound suppression, as well as fire control integration technology.
In 2018, Textron Systems also received a separate contract from the U.S. Army to develop a prototype weapon for the Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle- Prototype Opportunity Notice (NGSAR-PON) program and remains on track to demonstrate the weapon in June 2019.
In development since 2004, Textron Systems’ CT weapons and ammunition offer an innovative weapon design that increases lethality and reduces total system weight by up to 40 percent. Textron Systems has developed rifles, including automatic rifles, in a variety of configurations and calibers, including 5.56mm, 6.5mm, and 7.62mm, and is supporting the Army’s current efforts to revolutionize its small arms capability.
The NGSW-T demonstrators use Textron’s polymer-based Cased-Telescoped (CT) ammunition technology. Textron note that the delivery of the prototype indicates the maturity of their technology. Sadly, no new images of the prototypes have been released at this time.