After a lightning-fast decision, SIG Sauer is announcing that they have won a contract with the U.S. Army to supply new weapons, ammo and accessories for testing with the Next Generation Squad Weapons program, or NGSW.
“The U.S. Army is leading the world in the first significant upgrade to small arms in decades to meet the growing demands of soldiers on the battlefield,” said SIG president and CEO Ron Cohen. “We are honored to have been selected for the Next Generation Squad Weapons program bringing increased lethality to the warfighter over the legacy weapons.”
“At the core of our submission is our newly developed, high-pressure, 6.8mm hybrid ammunition that is utilized in both weapons and is a significant leap forward in ammunition innovation, design, and manufacturing.”
The new 6.8mm ammunition was developed to be effective on lightly armored targets past 1,000 yards. Critically, it also needs to be lightweight compared to similar-performing ammo which has lead companies to experiment with unconventional designs.
SIG calls it their 6.8mm “hybrid” cartridge and they’ve developed both a rifle and a machine gun chambered for the new round.
“Using patent-pending technology the SIG SAUER Ammunition division has engineered a completely new cartridge resulting in a more compact round, with increased velocity and accuracy, while delivering a substantial reduction in the weight of the ammunition,” added Cohen.
The machine gun looks fairly compact and feeds from a linked belt of ammunition as well as from detachable magazines. It has a flat-top rail for optics including night vision accessories, a modular handguard and an adjustable folding stock.
The rifle is at least similar in appearance to current infantry carbines with many of the same controls and what must be a similar manual of arms, though SIG has added a different operating system, a folding stock like the one on their machine gun and a side charging handle. SIG is including suppressors with their rifles and machine guns as well.
“The U.S. Army challenged the industry to bring forward significant improvements to the legacy weapons,” said Cohen. “The SIG Sauer NGSW-AR is lighter in weight, with dramatically less recoil than that currently in service, while our carbine for the NGSW-Rifle submission is built on the foundation of SIG Sauer weapons in service with the premier fighting forces across the globe.”
“Both weapons are designed with features that will increase the capabilities of the soldier,” he continued. “The final component of the SIG SAUER Next-Generation Weapons System is our suppressor, which through exhaustively researched design enhancements, reduces harmful backflow and signature.”
This was an extremely fast decision by the Army to select a new small arms package for evaluation, and it makes SIG look great at the same time. What this means for soldiers, the Army and the Armed Forces as a whole remains to be seen.