Much digital ink has been spilled over the last several years regarding the US Army’s NGSW (Next Generation Squad Weapons) Program. Most of the rifles/carbines and machine guns currently employed by America’s soldiers are not particularly modern, by any stretch. Today’s M4A1 has seen some notable updates and improvements, to be sure, but at its core it’s still based on the same M16 that first entered service in the Vietnam era, more than half a century ago. The 5.56×45mm NATO round it uses has come under fire from time to time, for being perhaps a bit too anemic for its purpose. This same cartridge is used by the belt-fed M249 SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon), which was designed in the ’70s and has been in service since 1984. Though some update attempts have been explored since then, none came to fruition.
However, we are on the precipice of seeing that all change soon. Barring some significant unforeseen and catastrophic problem with SIG Sauer‘s selected prototypes or the military’s adoption of these weapons, it looks like the M4 and SAW are on track to be replaced starting in the next few years. Hot on the heels of their M17 and M18 pistols replacing the military’s Beretta M9, SIG is poised to do the same with their new 6.8×51 magazine-fed and belt-fed long guns as well. Efforts are well underway and look promising. CEO Ron Cohen, who joined SIG Sauer in 2004 and has some prior military experience from his time in the Israeli Army, is featured in a new video statement regarding SIG’s NGSW progress. TFB enjoyed an exclusive interview with Cohen in 2019. The April 28th press release and video are below.
SIG SAUER President and CEO Ron Cohen Highlights U.S. Army Next Generation Squad Weapons Program in Exclusive Video
NEWINGTON, N.H., (April 28, 2021) – Today, SIG SAUER, Inc. is proud to release an exclusive video featuring President & CEO, Ron Cohen highlighting the U.S. Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapons (NGSW) Program. The NGSW Program is a historic undertaking by the U.S. Army to develop weapons that will enhance squad-level lethality and is inclusive of a lightweight belt-fed machine gun (NGSW-AR), a rifle (NGSW-R), 6.8×51 hybrid ammunition, and suppressors.
“The Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapons program is the most audacious effort in decades. It is the ability to participate in writing history and whatever happens now will dictate the next twenty, thirty, forty years” began Cohen.
Each component of the SIG SAUER NGSW system offers significant advancements in battlefield weapons performance beginning with the SIG SAUER 6.8×51 hybrid ammunition – a lightweight cartridge designed to handle higher pressures resulting in increased velocity and terminal performance. The SIG SAUER Lightweight Belt-Fed Machine Gun (NGSW-AR) doubles the effective range and is 40% lighter than the current M249 while maintaining the preferred belt-fed operation, with reduced felt recoil increasing soldier lethality. The SIG SAUER Rifle (NGSW-R) is built on the foundation of the battle-tested MCX platform with the added firepower of the 6.8×51 round; both the NGSW-AR and NGSW-R feature familiar AR-style ambidextrous ergonomics designed for a seamless transition from the legacy weapons to the SIG NGSW system. The final component of the system is the SIG SAUER Next Generation Suppressors for reduced sound signature.
SIG SAUER has committed virtually every part of the company to develop the NGSW weapons, engineering resources, manufacturing resources to develop the most advanced system possible. This program is a result of the Army’s push for a transformational change in small arms requiring significant integration within the system to achieve its goals of greater lethality and capability.
“We are the only company that makes the ammunition and the weapons so we were able to harness the engineers on the weapons side with the engineers on the ammunition side. We are the picture of readiness. We are the singular small arms company in this competition, and SIG has the engineering resources, manufacturing resources, asset base and commitment to do this,” added Cohen.
An Inside Look at SIG SAUER’S NGSW Program: