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 contract 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.
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 development). 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.