Earlier this week Textron was one of three companies down-selected by the US Army for the Next Generation Squad Weapon program. TFB had the chance to have a brief chat with Wayne Prender Textron Systems’ Senior Vice President of Applied Technologies & Advanced Programs about the program and their entry into the program.
While Textron were unable to go into specifics about their prototypes they did discuss their partnerships with Heckler & Koch and Olin Winchester. Prender explained that while Textron have the ‘capability to organically produce ammunition’, Olin Winchester have been instrumental in helping ready Textron’s 6.8mm Cased-Telescoped round for high-rate production. This is a factor which will be important during the initial testing phase, as Texton will not only have to provide 845,000 rounds of ammunition to the Army but also a large amount of ammunition which will be needed for the trials and iterative testing and improvement before final delivery. Prender said that it was their intention to ‘hit the ground running’ and have the ammunition ready for scale production. Winchester currently produce ammunition for the US military’s Modular Handgun System. The Army themselves will be aiming to produce the ammunition of the winning system at the Lake City Ammunition plant.
Textron’s other submission partner is Heckler & Koch and it seems that they are fulfilling a similar role to Olin Winchester, providing Textron with assistance in terms of larger scale production, as Textron are primarily concerned with system development. Prender explained that H&K are assisting with “scaling, robustness and driving down costs of production,” continuing “we’re looking to hit the ground running… We’ve built a team to, not just be down selected, but to be the number one selection and be a product that can be matured and scaled.”
TFB asked when we might get our first look at Textron’s NGSW prototypes but the company is keeping their cards close to their chest. They did, however, confirm that we will see the prototypes on the floor at the 2019 Association of the United States Army (AUSA) annual meeting in October.
Sadly, but for obvious reasons, companies involved in the NGSW program are unable to go into specifics of their systems or ammunition but Prender did confirm that they had had no issues scaling up their CT weapon system from the 6.5mm CT round, which the systems had previously been chambered in and seen for the first time at AUSA 2017, and when asked how confident and happy Textron is with where their system is at this stage of the program Prender said “we are happy with the system but we are striving to make improvements” and that the program has a number of iterative design phases to improve the design based on testing and soldier feedback.