BREAKING: Sig Sauer Wins Contract to Make Next-Gen Squad Weapon

By Stew Magnuson

After years of development and a vigorous competition between major gun makers, the Army announced April 19 that Sig Sauer Inc. will manufacture the service’s next-generation squad weapons.


The Army awarded a 10-year firm-fixed-price follow-on production contract for the manufacture and delivery of two squad weapon variations — the XM5 Rifle and the XM250 Automatic Rifle — and the 6.8 Common Cartridge Family of Ammunition.


“This award was made following a rigorous 27-month prototyping and evaluation effort that included numerous technical tests and soldier touch points of three competing prototype systems,” the Army said in a statement.


Starting in 2017, companies such as Textron Systems, FN America, General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems all had competed for the lucrative contract, but the competition ultimately came down to Sig Sauer and a team of LoneStar Future Weapons and BerrettaUSA.


LoneStar had partnered with ammo maker TrueVelocity, which was offering composite rounds.


The value of the initial delivery order on the contract is $20.4 million for weapons and ammunition that will undergo testing. The contract includes accessories, spares and contractor support. It also provides the other Defense Department services and, potentially, foreign military sales, the statement said.


The Army’s 2023 fiscal year budget request calls for the service to acquire 17,164 fire control modules, 1,704 automatic rifles and 16,348 rifles.


The XM5 Rifle will replace the M4/M4A1 carbine within the close combat force, and the XM250 Automatic Rifle is the planned replacement for the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, the statement said.


Both weapons will provide significant capability improvements in accuracy, range and overall lethality, the Army said. “They are lightweight, fire more lethal ammunition, mitigate recoil, provide improved barrel performance, and include integrated muzzle sound and flash reduction,” the statement said. 


Both weapons fire common 6.8 millimeter ammunition utilizing government provided projectiles and vendor-designed cartridges. The new ammunition includes multiple types of tactical and training rounds that increase accuracy and are more lethal against emerging threats than both the 5.56mm and 7.62mm ammunition, the statement said. 


The Army in January announced that Winchester would manufacture the new 6.8 common cartridge.


The XM5 and XM250 will be paired with the XM157 Fire Control, a ruggedized advanced fire control system that increases accuracy and lethality for the close combat force, made by Vortex Optics, the statement said. 


It integrates a number of advanced technologies, including a variable magnification optic (1X8), backup etched reticle, laser rangefinder, ballistic calculator, atmospheric sensor suite, compass, Intra-Soldier Wireless, visible and infrared aiming lasers and a digital display overlay. 



Topics: Army News, Guns, Armaments, Small Arms

Comments (5)

Re: BREAKING: Sig Sauer Wins Contract to Make Next-Gen Squad Weapon

It doesn't matter what I think or say, the Army has decided on the 6.8mm round and that's that. Of course it'll screw up the overall logistics picture. The other services will now have to at least consider going to the 6.8mm round or settle for having different supply chains. This also pretty much puts an end to cross services familiarization, seeing as all of our NATO partners use either 5.56mm, 7.62mm or 7.62 X 39mm ammunition. The idea of cross training and weapons familiarization meant something when everyone used the same rounds but now, well it wasn't all that important. The XM5 and XM250 are both fine weapons, but the way the Army is rolling this out is a big mistake.

Brian Foley at 11:43 AM
Re: BREAKING: Sig Sauer Wins Contract to Make Next-Gen Squad Weapon

I wonder how long it will take before they figure out that the weapon won't work? Soldiers won't be able to engage targets at 600 yards in combat, it has too much recoil, our allies won't adapt the caliber, major fubar!

Edward Randall at 9:46 AM
Re: BREAKING: Sig Sauer Wins Contract to Make Next-Gen Squad Weapon

I believe the NGSW program is a waste of money. The rifle is no better than the FN SCAR or Designated Marksman rifle already in service. We could save a lot of money by using the composite case ammunition from true velocity in 7.62 and the current rifles. The suppressor on the NGSW is not needed. Rifle fire location systems such as the Boomerang use the shock wave from the projectile to locate the point of origin. The fire locator could still locate our troops with suppressors on the rifles unless the projectile is subsonic.

Edward Randall at 10:08 AM
Re: BREAKING: Sig Sauer Wins Contract to Make Next-Gen Squad Weapon

@Brian Foley - the use of the new ammunition was actually well thought out and rather clever. Virtually every weapon which will use the 6.8mm ammo can be quickly re-barreled for 7.62 or 5.56. Yes it is a new supply line, but the overall increase in higher velocity (for less wind and gravity correction as well as better penetration and lethality) are an upgrade level not seen since about the time of Vietnam. We can't move forward if we cling to the past.

Johnathan Galt at 2:56 PM
Re: BREAKING: Sig Sauer Wins Contract to Make Next-Gen Squad Weapon

1.) I wonder if it would be possible to replace the brass part of the Sig-Sauer case with a combustible part of the cartridge like the new German 130 mm main gun for their proposed new Main Battle Tank? This way maybe they could make the combustible part of the cartridge a little slower burning than the rest of the cartridge so that the bullet would be propelled by the same or little slower initial impulse but for a longer period of time. This way one might be able to attain a equal or higher velocity for the same size bullet or an equal velocity from a bigger bullet. Just a thought.
2.) I wonder if H&K could make a 468 version of their 417 weapon with better recoil mitigation?

Mike From Brielle at 12:27 PM
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