Vortex Win US Army Next Generation Squad Weapons – Fire Control Contract

Matthew Moss
by Matthew Moss

Vortex Optics’ submission to the US Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapons – Fire Control procurement program has been selected and is set to become the XM157 NGSW-FC.

The optic will equip the winning submission from the US Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapons program which seeks to select a new rifle and automatic rifle to replace the M4 and M249 in close combat units.

Sources suggest that the US Army will be announcing the outcome of the NGSW program in the next couple of months. With the apparent exit of Textron, the Army’s choice is between submission from SIG Sauer and Lone Star Future Weapons/True Velocity.

The Fire Control unit procurement program has been less well reported but is no less important as the ballistics of the 6.8mm round the US Army has requested the NGSW submissions use can be utilized at ranges beyond what is currently expected of riflemen. In April 2020 Vortex was awarded a development contrac t to provide prototype FC units for testing. Selection of the optic was originally expected in late summer 2021.

Vortex’s XM157 beat the submission from L3Harris Technologies to win the 10 year fixed price contract worth a minimum of $20 million but with a “maximum ceiling value of $2.7 billion for production and delivery of up to 250,000 XM157” optics.

L3Harris's candidate for the US Army's NGSW-FC system (L3Harris)

The XM157 has a number of next gen features including a variable magnification optic, a built-in laser rangefinder and atmospheric sensors which feed into an onboard ballistic calculator. It also features a compass and intra-soldier wireless connectivity (presumably alongside the IVAS kit which is in developmen t). It also includes visible and infrared aiming lasers, and a digital display overlay.

Here’s contract award announcement from US Army Soldier Lethality:

The Army has awarded Sheltered Wings Inc. d/b/a Vortex Optics, based in Barneveld, WI, a 10-year firm fixed price, Follow-on Production Other Transaction Agreement (P-OTA) with a maximum ceiling value of $2.7 billion for production and delivery of up to 250,000 XM157 Next Generation Squad Weapons – Fire Control (NGSW-FC) systems over a 10-year period.

The NGSW-FC system is a ruggedized fire control that increases accuracy and lethality for the Close Combat Force. It integrates a number of advanced technologies, including a variable magnification optic, backup etched reticle, laser rangefinder, ballistic calculator, atmospheric sensor suite, compass, Intra-Soldier Wireless, visible and infrared aiming lasers, and a digital display overlay.

The agreement minimum is $20 million and provides the U.S. Government the ability to procure fire control systems, supporting accessories, spare parts, repairs, and engineering services, to include requirements for other Department of Defense Services and potential Foreign Military Sales.

The NGSW-FC will serve as the fire control for the Next Generation Squad Weapons – Rifle and Automatic Rifle. The NGSW-FC is the planned replacement for the Close Combat Optic, Rifle Combat Optic, and Machine Gun Optic within the Close Combat Force (Infantry, Cavalry Scouts and Combat Engineers).

The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey, is the contracting activity.

Matthew Moss
Matthew Moss

Managing Editor: TheFirearmBlog.com & Overt Defense.com. Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written several books and for a variety of publications in both the US and UK. Matt is also runs The Armourer's Bench, a video series on historically significant small arms. Here on TFB he covers product and current military small arms news. Reach Matt at: matt@thefirearmblog.com

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  • AF_Ret_20.5 AF_Ret_20.5 on Jan 11, 2022

    The government is going to pay $10,800 for each of the optics??? That is fricken disgusting.

  • Eric B. Eric B. on Jan 15, 2022

    The closest setup we have for civilian use is SIG/Sauer's "BDX" system (Ballistic Data Exchange). Ex. Sierra6 variable power scope W/Bluetooth, laser rangefinders (monocular of binocular) with Bluetooth, KESTREL 5700 Elite weather meter/ballistic engine with Bluetooth. The rangefinders and KESTREL weather meter all talk to the scope. A lighted "hold" dot appears on the vertical crosshair and (using the KESTREL 5700) lighted windage dot on the horizontal crosshair. VOLIE'! a firing solution using at least the scope and rangefinder plus the KESTREL 5700 for windage, coriolis effect, station pressure, temperature, etc. IF you uploaded the correct muzzle velocity and ammo stats into the scope from your smart-ass phone SIG app. the other data will play well with the ballistic engine in the scope.

    So getting most of those sensors shrunk into the Vortex unit the Army chose is a damn miracle, and a game changer in combat.