From the Department of Defense’s budget justification books for the fiscal year 2021 we get an idea of the procurement scale and timescale for the winning entry/entries to the Next Generation Squad Weapon program. We also get an idea of how many Next Generation Squad Weapons – Fire Control Units will be procured to accompany the new NGSW rifles and automatic rifles. The program is one of the US Army’s most important and represents one of their six modernisation priorities and is supported by the Soldier Lethality Cross Functional Team.
Weapons from SIG Sauer, General Dynamics and AAI/Textron Systems are currently undergoing evaluation. Here’s a reminder of the entries:
General Dynamics’ RM277
SIG Sauer’s MG6.8 & MCX SPEAR
Here’s how the US Army describes the program in the budget justification book:
Next Generation Squad Weapons (NGSW) is a family of products that includes a Rifle (NGSW-R) and an Automatic Rifle (NGSW-AR) that integrate an advanced fire control (NGSW-FC) and common 6.8mm ammunition. The NGSW-R and NGSW-AR are the planned replacements for select weapons system for individual soldiers, squads, and/or platoons, capable of defeating protected and unprotected threats. The NGSW-R and the NGSW-AR ensure increased lethality against a broad spectrum of targets beyond current/legacy weapon capabilities; increased range, accuracy, and probability of hit; reduced engagement time; suppressed flash/sound signature; improved controllability and mobility.
The Next Generation Squad Weapons – Fire Control (NGSW-FC) is an advanced individual fire control device that supports the NGSW-R, NGSW-AR, and other individual and squad weapon systems. The NGSW-FC increases the probability of hit and decreases engagement time through a variable-powered direct view optic with integrated range finder, ballistic calculator, and digital display capable of providing an adjusted aim point. The NGSW-FC utilizes open architecture to deliver to an initial augmented core capability followed by increasing increments of capability over time as technology matures and evolves.
Fiscal year 2021 will be the first year the new weapon systems are procured with 3,983 weapons projected to be purchased at a cost of $35.8 million. Procurement will then ramp up with 11,370 procured in FY 2022 (at a cost of $98.6 million), 29,888 weapons in FY 2023 (at a cost of $216.4 million), 46,129 in FY 2024 (at a cost of $336 million) and 54,056 in FY 2025 (at a procurement cost of $383.9 million). This gives a projected per unit price of $8,994 in 2021, decreasing down to $7,101 in 2025.
The budget book also indicates that while the Army will receive the bulk of the first 5 years of production by 2023 the Army National Guard and Army Reserve will also receive some of the new weapons. The Army National Guard will receiver 3,978 weapons in FY 2023, 12,402 in FY 2024 and 9,161 in FY 2025. The Army Reserve will receive 282 in FY 2023 and 405 in FY 2024.
The US Army’s procurement objective (or APOs) for the fire control optic/system the rifle and the automatic rifle are laid out in the budget justification book. The army is aiming to procure 121,773 Next Generation Squad Weapons – Fire Control (NGSW-FC). These NGSW-FC units will be mounted on 108,568 Next Generation Squad Weapons – Rifles (NGSW-R) and 13,205 Next Generation Squad Weapons – Automatic Rifles (NGSW-AR).
Here’s how the budget books describes the NGSW-FC unit:
FY2021 Base procurement dollars in the amount of $35.822 million supports the procurement and fielding of 3,983 Next Generation Fire Control units. The Next Generation Fire Control (NGSW-FC) will have both close quarter and extended range capabilities and is intended for use with both the Next Generation Squad Weapon-Rifle (NGSW-R) and the Next Generation Squad Weapon-Automatic Rifle (NGSWAR). The NGSW-FC increases the probability of hit and decreases engagement time through a variable-powered direct view optic with integrated range finder, ballistic calculator, and digital display capable of providing an adjusted aim point. The NGSW-FC utilizes open architecture to deliver to an initial augmented core capability followed by increasing increments of capability over time as technology matures and evolves.
The $35.822 million cost for the NGSW-FC breaks down with the majority of the funding going towards hardware development costs while the rest is earmarked for technical publications, engineering change proposals and package fielding costs. An initial 3,983 units are to be procured between April 2022 and March 2023.