Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Army Contracting Command publishes Specs for Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle

U.S. Army has released specifications for what it wants in a replacement for the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, the Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle (NGSAR) The Army expects to open a dialogue during a classified Industry Day on July 25-27, 2017. From fbo.gov:

The Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle (NGSAR) is a single incremental program to meet future force warfighting needs. It is the planned replacement for the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) in Brigade Combat Teams (BCT) and select support units during the next decade. It will combine the firepower and range of a machine gun with the precision and ergonomics of a carbine, yielding capability improvements in accuracy, range, and lethality. The weapon will be lightweight and fire lightweight ammunition with improved lethality.

The  Key Performance Parameters (KPP} for a Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle (NGSAR) are ambitious. They are considered essential. A 12 pound NGSAR is a tough nut to crack. 
KPP 4 System Weight: The NGSAR combat configured weapon including sling, bipod and sound suppressor will weigh no more than 12 pounds (T) 8 pounds (O). This does not include ammunition or magazine.
This weight includes a sound suppressor that must be effective on a fully automatic rifle.   The current M249 weights 17 pounds *without* a suppressor!

It is interesting that the requirement for a suppressor is prominent in these specifications. It shows that the Army is acknowledging how useful and effective suppressors are in combat.

There is also a KPP for ammunition to weigh 20% *less* than current brass cased ammunition.  How is that to be accomplished? 
KPP 5 Ammunition Weight: The NGSAR ammunition will weigh 20 percent less than tactical brass equivalent caliber ammunition (T) 50% (O). Note the NGSAR ammunition could be a caliber not currently in use by the US Army. In that case the equivalent weights will be calculated through interpolation by the USG.
There are several other KPPs. 

Then there are Key System Attributes. KSAs are not requirements, but things that the Army would love to have on the NGSAR. All of them involve trade offs. It is easy to reduce overall length by reducing barrel length, but that reduces projectile velocity, making it hard to meet the requirements for range and effectiveness.

Here are three of the KPPs, excerpted for easy readability:

The NGSAR would have  a maximum length of 38 inches.

The NGSAR would be able to fire in two round bursts, with both rounds impacting within 1 inch at 100 meters.

The sound signature of NGSAR with the suppressor would be less than sound signature of the current suppressor on the M249.

The document is, essentially a wish list of what the Army *wants* in a replacement for the M249 SAW. The industry will now submit proposals to attempt to fulfill theses desires.

I do not see any existing system that could meet these requirements, but proposals for Next Generation weapons must, of necessity, push the envelope.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch


Anonymous said...

I hope they do far more testing with a new weapon than they did with the M-16. the first m-16s were trash. the heavier the weapon the less ammo you can carry. the Geneva convention prevents using ammo that is designed to kill. Far better training is required to teach people how to shoot. I got one half hour on the M-16 just before I got orders for Vietnam. they showed us how to clean it for 20 minutes and then gave us one magazine to fire on full auto and that was it. I can write my name with an M-60. Hit 500 yard man size targets with open sights with an M-14. I can put your eye out with a pistol at 50 feet. any new weapon had better work correctly. You can throw a AK-47 in a mud hole pick it up a fire full auto. firing on full auto has its merits but your ammo lasts a lot longer on semi auto. I would rather have an M-1-2 than any of the newer weapons. 30 round mags and you are ready to go. 30 carbine ammo solves the weight problem. I can easily carry 21 mags for the M-1. I have downed deer at over 500 yards with an m-1 but I know how to shoot.

C. S. P. Schofield said...

I wonder if somebody has something like a scaled-up HK G-11 careless in mind?

Anonymous said...

Put an air borne M-1-2 30 carbine next to that hunk of junk. compare the fire power and tell me which one you would rather carry.

Anonymous said...

These weapons they are designing with box magazines seem ridiculous to me. Far to heavy to carry as an individual weapon they should be crew served (M-60). the Chinese communist 9mm drum full auto is very bulky or the Thompson 45 drum served, the drums add way to much weight. 30 round mags will get you across a street or to the next fox hole. AK-47 ammo is really heavy, the brass is very thick and 40 round mags are really heavy. all of the attachment mounts add so much extra weight. In a combat situation you need to be able to travel light, have enough ammo to get you out and back along with everything else you need to carry. I have a laser light that is less than 2.5 inches long and less than 3/8 of an inch in diameter. it will point out anything I am going to see at night. it also has a white light two in one unit. the problem with lasers and lights is your position is instantly given away. You can have special weapons for long range the single person weapon should be very light weight and versatile dependable with a good rate of fire. If 30 carbine ammo is too heavy for you try .25 caliber 90-100 grain bullet. neck down the 30 carbine.. .223 is to light and unstable. and too bulky for the distance it is usable at. I carried a .223 for a year and I would not have one as a gift.

Anonymous said...

The M-1 I mentioned is an M-1 30 caliber carbine. an M-2 is a 30 caliber carbine that fires semi and full auto. we had an M-2 in our perimeter bunker in Vietnam and a foot locker full of 30 round magazines. we had a machine gun nest on the top of our bunker with an M-60 and a 3,000 round continuous belt assembled. eleven bunkers to our left were over run and destroyed. we had foot lockers full of loaded magazines for every weapon in the bunker, M-16s and M-79s and grenades and 30 cans of extra ammo.