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