After more than two years of technical evaluation and scrutiny, the US Army announced the winner of the race for the New Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW): the Sig Sauer.
The Swiss / German firm had already imposed itself, for the supply of the new pistols for the American FFAA, with the M-17 and M-18 (P-320, read article), replacing the Beretta 92F (M-9).
The NGSW program consists of two parts: NGSW-AR (M-250), intended to replace the M-249 SAW; and NGSW-R (M-5) to replace the M-4 carbines.
The Sig's new guns will be chambered with 6,8x51mm caliber ammunition. The need for American soldiers to be able to use calibrated small arms with more powerful ammunition than the 5,56x45 NATO, it was evident from the earliest stages of operations in Afghanistan: the Taliban militias could have at their disposal weapons and ammunition (of ex-Soviet conception) capable of exceeding those supplied to Western forces in terms of power, penetration and range.
The shot uses a hybrid case, which is composed of a brass body and a stainless steel caseback. This ammunition will allow a clear improvement in ballistic terms against the 5,56x45 mm NATO and, in terms of initial speed (910 m / sec), also against the 7,62x51 mm.
So the US Army infantry squad (on 9 elements), at least as far as the front line (Close Combat Force) is concerned, will be equipped with seven M-5s, two M-250s and two single-shot grenade launchers of the H&K M- 320 of 40x46 mm.
The second-line departments, at least for the moment, will still use the M-4 and M-249 carbines, with a further burden for logistics.
The British Army is very interested in Mrs.. In the near future, London plans to replace the L-85A2 / 3 and the Minimi, both in 5,56x45mm caliber.
The choice of the Americans will certainly also influence the other NATO armies, as did the 5,56 ammunition and even earlier the 7,62 ammunition.
We'll see if Beretta intends to produce a 6,8x51 caliber version of the ARX-200 and perhaps a LMG (Light Machine Gun) in the same caliber. OR, if Italy also decides to adopt the new caliber, MAYBE you can make a RACE, as it was done in the USA and France (to replace the FA MAS), instead of having to acquire obtorto neck the weapons produced by the Gardone Val Trompia factory.
Photo: Sig Sauer / US Army