Army’s newest rifle in coming years


Armytimes has some figures on the costs of the Army’s new rifle system with optic.

Marines and soldiers could see another major change in the coming years if the Next Generation Squad Weapon program is successful. These are three variants of a 6.8mm rifle/automatic rifle suite competing to replace both the Squad Automatic Weapon and M4/M16. (Jacqueline Belker/Marine Corps Times)

Over the next five years, the Army plans to buy a mix of more than 120,000 new light machine guns and rifles, built around new ammunition, to replace both the M4 carbine and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon for select soldiers.

As you read, keep in mind that the government pays about $650ish dollars per Colt M4 carbine.

Army officials are asking for $111 million to continue prototyping the Next Generation Squad Weapon through the next fiscal year in their recent budget request. The NGSW program was designed to replace the standard rifle and squad machine gun, but only for close-combat units such as infantry, scouts and possibly combat engineers. And the procurement numbers show that only around a quarter of the 485,000 active-duty soldiers might get a chance to carry the weapon.

At the same time, the service is developing an advanced fire control system for the new 6.8mm rifle and automatic rifle. It’s intended to go far beyond optics currently used by soldiers on their light carbines and rifles.

The Army wants the unit to include a variable-powered optic for short and long range shooting, an integrated range finder, ballistic calculator and digital display capable of providing an adjusted aim point, according to budget documents.

Yes, we talked about that little ditty the other day. The new miracle optic.

And procurement for those fire control systems give a hint at how quickly the inventory of NGSW will accumulate. They want to buy nearly 4,000 next fiscal year, doubling that number for 2023 and 2024 until by fiscal year 2025 they’ve purchased a total of 121,773.

I’m gonna make a prediction right now. We will still be using the M4 carbine or something nearly identical in 2025 after the military wastes an absurd amount of our money. SIG will make a lot of money though and some Generals will get cushy retirement jobs at SIG USA.


  1. Somebody has a running count on the new wizz-bangs that were going to replace the M-16 in the last fifty years?

    With everything else they have done to make logistics a friggin nightmare they still want to incrementally add a new cartridge and this time they aren’t even pretending it will be the new standard for everyone?

    How about an article, Cliff Notes style on the transition to 7.62×51 from .30 and then to 5.56?

    Kirk NEEDS to chime in asap

  2. I gots nothing…

    Other than to comment that, yet again, we’re putting the developmental cart before the horse. I’ve seen nothing in the unclassified RFP that describes exactly what it is that this weapon is supposed to do, or how it’s going to integrate into our tactical and operational planning. People I know who’ve looked at what’s up on the “high side” tell me they can’t find squat that they can make sense of, either, so I suspect that this is another one of those initiatives that hasn’t been thought through very well, past this nebulous and undefined “overmatch” bullshit Miley spouts.

    Here’s the deal: The weapon needs to be integrated into the tactics and operational planning. Period. You don’t design the weapon and then work out tactics and the rest; we’ve done that before, and it simply does not work. It’s kinda like the SAW–Initially, they thought they were going to be able to replace the M60 with it, all over the damn place, and in every role. They even went so far as to differentiate an automatic rifle role for it, and an LMG role. That never actually eventuated, due to “reasons”. Mainly, because it’s just like a goddamn bulldozer–There’s nothing out there that can substitute for a D7, aside from a D8 or a D9. Same-same with the MG role–Nothing substitutes for a real 7.62mm system except, maybe, a .50 caliber one.

    You have to think this crap out, especially in this day and age. You look back, and you can pick out the number of ill-conceived ideas from historical examples. The Montigny Mitraileuse is a perfect example–That was a weapon well in advance of its era, and yet… The idjits failed to work out in advance how to effectively use it, and it actually detracted from their tactical efforts.

    I am not going to hold myself out as any kind of “expert” on any of this crap, but I can identify ill-conceived BS at a thousand meters. This NGSW crap is right in the center-of-mass for poorly thought-out BS, as near as I can tell.

    Firstly, the size of the cartridge and all the characteristics of it. I seriously doubt that they’re going to be able to design a weapon that is light enough for someone to carry, and still be heavy enough for the recoil this thing is going to generate on full-auto. And, like it or not, you need full-auto on an individual weapon, if only for emergency conditions that will inevitably arise. We tried semi-auto “battle rifles” during the early phases of Vietnam, and guess what? That shit didn’t work. You simply cannot generate the volume of fire to dominate the initial moments of a firefight to really achieve anything–And, let us not forget the purely psychological impact. Even if you’re slaughtering the enemy with precise single shots from a silenced rifle, you may lose the psychological edge because the guys assaulting your position won’t realize they’re dying in job lots as they stand up to make the assault. And, if you’re part of a small element, guess what? Your failure to intimidate may well sign your death warrant. Little brown dude getting in close with a bayonet is still just as deadly as he always was.

    I’m not a fan of a lot of the things the geniuses have come up with, down the years. I remain convinced that we don’t have a goddamn clue how a lot of what we do actually works in combat. Hell, I’ll go even further: I don’t think we really even know which weapons are doing most of the killing, or what sort of fires are doing it. We like to think we’re deadly marksmen, killing with single semi-auto shots taken deliberately, but I strongly suspect that the real killers are the essentially random hits generated by the MG teams and other fires. You take away the MGs, and restrict support fires, and I think we’re gonna see a whole lot more casualties than we do right now. This idea of relying on single precision-shot kills is, frankly, nuts. And, it’s not because you won’t kill the enemy with them, it’s because most of the enemy is essentially invisible, and if you’re unable to spot his ass, you’re not gonna kill him. However, if you see one, then drop a few bursts into that general vicinity with your MG team, guess what? You’re probably gonna hit something. Maybe a couple of “somethings”.

    Combat is confusing as shit. That’s a fact–Almost none of what you think you perceive as a guy on the ground is actually what is happening, because you’re suffering from tunnel vision and the fact that you can’t exactly stand up and look around to figure out what the fuck is going on. Add in other factors like night, enemy fire, and all the rest of the things that go on? Oh. My. Gawd.

    I sat up in the 101st Division HQ Main for a year. I remember one night, where we had a platoon in contact and overhead surveillance from a drone. The LT in contact was taking fire from a location, and he was directing fire from his platoon where he thought it was coming from. The drones-eye view showed us that the fire was coming from somewhere other than where he and his guys were shooting, so their fires were ineffective. Before the drone operators could tell them what the hell was going on, somebody else fired up the area where the shooting was coming from, and wiped out the enemy element. Thing was, whoever it was? They were firing red tracers, and were not showing up on Blue Force Tracker at all. So, either they were some really well-situated SF unit with PKs that wanted to remain anonymous, or it was a really fun example of blue-on-blue by the enemy. My suspicion is that Bubba Abdul opened fire on his own guys, and didn’t know it.

    The LT that was running our element, though? He’s still convinced, to this day, that he was the guy who eliminated the enemy shooting at him. He even has a Bronze Star to show for it…

    I’m telling you–We don’t even know what we don’t know, when it comes to combat down at the lowest levels. And, worse yet? We’re not even interested in finding out.

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