TFB have been closely following developments in the US Army’s Next Generation Small Arms Program and it has been a while since we heard any major developments. On the evening of the 29th August, however, the Army Contracting Command posted an award notice for the NGSW program that signals progress in selecting the US Army’s next rifle and automatic rifle.
US Army’s NGSW Program Awards SIG Sauer, AAI & General Dynamics
Back in January the Army launched a Prototype Project Opportunity Notice (PPON) for the NGSW, calling for the submission of prototypes to fill the role of the Next Generation Squad Weapon-Rifle (NGSW-R) and the Next Generation Squad Weapon-Automatic Rifle (NGSW-AR). Both the weapons were to be chambered in ammunition, developed by the submitting company, based on the Army’s 6.8mm General purpose projectile – NOT to be confused with 6.8 SPC.
Since January 2019, we have slowly learnt more about the programme and its aims, however, what the weapon systems that are submitted by most entrants remains unknown. We have seen prototypes from VK Integrated Systems and Bachstein Consulting and MARS Inc. and Cobalt Kinetics but nothing but hints from the major companies believed to be submitting. We now know that three companies have been selected to progress in the programme and have been awarded Other Transaction Agreements or OTAs.
These companies include AAI Corporation Textron Systems, General Dynamics-OTS Inc. and Sig Sauer Inc. If you remember the Army’s earlier Prototype Opportunity Notice (PON) for the Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle (NGSAR) – NOT to be confused with the NGSW Program, you’ll remember that back in July 2018, contracts to produce NGSAR system demonstrator were awarded to AAI/Textron, General Dynamics, PCP Tactical and SIG Sauer. The Army has said that while separate this earlier NGSAR PON fed into the current NGSW program.
Navigating the complicated history of the US Army’s search for its next generation of small arms is not easy. Check out our earlier articles detailing the earlier phases of the search: US Army Calls for Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle Prototypes (March ’18), Five Companies To Develop Prototypes For US Army’s Next Generation Squad Automatic Weapon (July ’18), Army Issues Call for New Next Generation Squad Weapons Prototypes (January ’19).
No value for the OTAs has been disclosed and the notice states that delivery of the prototype weapons within 27 months, this is in line with the Army’s stated aim of having the first unit equipped in FY2022. The ‘Acquisition Objective’ is to procure 85,986 systems (including an undisclosed number of rifles and automatic rifles) with an initial ‘Acquisition Procurement Objective’ of 17,972 systems.
The OTA Award Notice in full:
Under Section 815 Other Transaction Agreements (OTA) authority, pursuant to 10 U.S.C. § 2371b, the U.S. Army Contracting Command – New Jersey (ACC-NJ), on behalf of Project Manager Soldier Weapons, awarded three separate Fixed Amount, Full and Open Competition (F&OC), Prototype OTA’s to:
W15QKN-19-9-1024 – General Dynamics-OTS Inc. – Williston, VT
W15QKN-19-9-1025 – AAI Corporation Textron Systems – Hunt Valley, MD
W15QKN-19-9-1022 – Sig Sauer Inc. – Newington, NH
These Prototype OTAs will enhance mission effectiveness by developing two weapon variants under the Next Generation Squad Weapons (NGSW) program and 6.8 millimeter ammunition common to both weapons. The weapons include the Next Generation Squad Weapon-Rifle (NGSW-R) and the Next Generation Squad Weapon-Automatic Rifle (NGSW-AR). The expected Prototype OTA period of performance is up to 8 years with delivery of weapons and ammunition expected within 27 months after award. The Prototype OTAs were awarded on 29 August 2019.
TFB will bring you updates on the weapon designs which won contracts as soon as information becomes available.