By: Friedrich Seiltgen
Copyright © 2022
The U.S Army has selected Sig Sauer to supply their soldiers with the Next Generation Squad Weapons System (NGSW). Sig won the 10-year contract in April 2022 with an initial order worth $20.4 Million. Sig will be supplying their SIG FURY Hybrid Ammunition (6.8 Common Cartridge), SIG-LMG (XM250), SIG MCX-SPEAR Rifle (XM5) and SIG SLX Suppressors.
Sig Sauer won a contract in 2017 for their M-17/M18 line. Now they provide the U.S. Army with an individual rifle; light machine gun, 6.8 common cartridge ammunition; and a handgun. These contracts mean that Sig Sauer now provides most of the small arms used by U.S. close combat forces.
Sig provides a lot of power in light-weight form. The XM5 rifle weighs 8.3 pounds and their Next Generation Squad Weapon Light Machine Gun (XM250 LMG) weighs in at 12 pounds, with an effective range of approximately 1,000 meters. This XM250 will replace the M249 and M240 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW.)
Sig Sauer’s proposal won over the bullpup design of Lone Star/True velocity, which featured a reciprocating barrel that cycles to the rear with every shot in order to absorb recoil.
The selected weapon had to use the 6.8mm common cartridge designed by Sig. A 27-month, Small Arms Ammunition Configuration Study showed the 6.8 round is more lethal at distances beyond the effective range of the 5.56mm, and more accurate than the 7.62mm. Thus, the 6.8mm round provides significant improvements in range, accuracy, and overall lethality.
Soldiers will get revolutionary sighting systems with the new rifles. The Army also selected the Vortex Optics Next Generation Squad Weapon Fire Control System, with an initial buy of 250,000 systems over 10 years, worth $2.7 billion.
U.S. ARMY PRESS RELEASE:
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Army announced today the award of a 10-year firm-fixed-price follow-on production contract to Sig Sauer for the manufacture and delivery of two Next Generation 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 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 Department of Defense services and, potentially, Foreign Military Sales countries the opportunity to purchase the NGSW weapons.
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. Both weapons provide significant capability improvements in accuracy, range, and overall lethality. They are lightweight, fire more lethal ammunition, mitigate recoil, provide improved barrel performance, and include integrated muzzle sound and flash reduction.
Both weapons fire common 6.8mm 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 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. The XM157 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. It is produced by Sheltered Wings Inc. d/b/a Vortex Optics, Barneveld, Wisconsin.
SPECIFICATIONS XM5 XM250
Caliber: 6.8 x 51mm SIG FURY
Magazine capacity: 20 Rounds Belt Feed
Sights: XM157 Fire Control System
Overall Length: Weight: 8.3 pounds 12 pounds
The NGSW rifle and light machine gun variants will initially be issued to “Close Combat Force” soldiers. This group usually means infantry, forward observers, engineers, and of course Special Operations Forces. Eventually the weapons will make their way to all units.
If you want an XM5 for yourself, Sig will be offering a civilian version with its Semi-Automatic MCX Spear chambered in .277 SIG Fury!
That’s all for now folks! Please keep sending in your questions, tips, and article Ideas. And as always – “Let’s Be Careful Out There”
Friedrich Seiltgen is a retired Master Police Officer with 20 years of service with the Orlando Police Department. He conducts training in Lone Wolf Terrorism, Firearms and Active Shooter Response. His writing has appeared in RECOIL, The Counter Terrorist Magazine, American Thinker, Homeland Security Today, and The Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org