While the U.S. Army’s pursuit of a Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) to replace its current M16/M4 rifle/carbine weapons as well as its M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) is urgent has attracted considerable attention, the horserace to develop a Next-Generation Fire Control (FC) for the NGSW is also ongoing and, because this Fire Control must be ready six months prior to the NGSW itself, the pace is even more urgent.

While General Dynamics Ordnance, Sig Sauer, and Textron Systems continue to demonstrate their prototype NGSW weapons for the Army, two other contractors, Vortex Optics and (the above pictured) L3Harris (with Leupold & Stevens) recently delivered their Fire Control (FC) prototypes to the Army “on time and per requirements” in 1QFY21.”

The Army notes that “NGSW weapons, fire controls and other enablers were all included in the NGSW Interoperability Soldier Touch Point (STP) assessment conducted in 2QFY21.”

Program officials tell DSJ that the Army’s test and evaluation effort, consisting of technical tests and Soldier Touch Points also continues on schedule. “Test and evaluation of the prototypes includes numerous sub-tests and STPs at numerous test centers and installations, and all efforts are on schedule to be completed in 3QFY21.”

The Army’s evaluation will inform a planned downselect for the Next Generation FC between L3Harris and Vortex Optics in 4QFY21. This Fall award will lead to a production contract, as the Next Generation FC “is fully funded in the current POM.”

The NGSW weapons and fire control will be fielded together starting in 4QFY22.