Image courtesy Textron Systems via YouTube.
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Textron has delivered five samples of their “next generation” Squad Automatic Weapon to the US Army for testing and evaluation. It fires a lightweight cased-telescoping round that substantially reduces the load for SAW gunners. Which, of course, just means if the Army adopts this system that SAW gunners will have to be able to carry more ammo.

The Maryland-based aerospace and defense development and manufacturing firm brags that this new gun, firing a new 6.8mm round the Army selected last fall, will defeat (“overmatch“) the world’s most advanced body armor at 600 meters. Basically the new round offers all the benefits of the 7.62 NATO in a package that’s smaller and lighter.

ZeroHedge reports that the new gun, if accepted, could find its way into units as soon as next year.

The Army is expected to test AAI’s NGSW-T weapon at firing ranges this summer. If the weapon meet’s the Army’s requirements for NGSW-T, then AAI could get a large contract to send the gun into series production to produce more than 250,000 units and 150 million rounds. The expected field date could be as early as 2020.

From the Textron press release:

“Our Cased-Telescoped weapons and ammunition offer the growth path to a true next-generation small arms weapon for U.S. warfighters, including increased lethality at longer ranges, while also delivering significant weight reductions to the warfighter.”

They have a nice, minute-long video about their new system though.



Here’s more of the Textron press release on the new gun.

HUNT VALLEY, Md. — Textron Systems, a business of Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT), announced today that it delivered the initial Next Generation Squad Weapon-Technology (NGSW-T) prototype demonstrator to the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Armaments Center and Joint Services Small Arms Program (JSSAP). The automatic rifle prototype, based on the company’s proven Cased-Telescoped (CT) Weapons and Ammunition technology, is the first of five weapon demonstrators that Textron Systems will deliver for the program.

“Moving from contract award to delivery of a revolutionary, next-generation weapon in just 15 months not only demonstrates the maturity of our CT technology, but also the project execution excellence our team possesses to rapidly fill critical warfighter needs on schedule,” said Textron Systems Senior Vice President of Applied Technologies & Advanced Programs Wayne Prender. “Our CT weapons and ammunition offer the growth path to a true next-generation small arms weapon for U.S. warfighters, including increased lethality at longer ranges, while also delivering significant weight reductions to the warfighter.”

Technologies demonstrated by Textron Systems under the NGSW-T effort will inform the Army’s formal NGSW program and include weapon and ammunition weight reduction, weapon sound suppression, as well as fire control integration technology.

In 2018, Textron Systems also received a separate contract from the U.S. Army to develop a prototype weapon for the Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle- Prototype Opportunity Notice (NGSAR-PON) program and remains on track to demonstrate the weapon in June 2019.

In development since 2004, Textron Systems’ CT weapons and ammunition offer an innovative weapon design that increases lethality and reduces total system weight by up to 40 percent. Textron Systems has developed rifles, including automatic rifles, in a variety of configurations and calibers, including 5.56mm, 6.5mm, and 7.62mm, and is supporting the Army’s current efforts to revolutionize its small arms capability.

How long will it take Textron to offer the new SAW to the civilian market in America? No doubt if accepted by the Army, a semi-auto version would instantly become a hot seller domestically. Depending on price, of course.

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      • Don’t worry, it’ll never be available to civvies; that’s how the real future of gun control will play out. Military will move on to newer technologies, and restrict them to us taxpayers as a condition of these contracts.

        • That legislation has probably already been written and will be introduced if the system is adopted by the military. Which is good because it automatically makes all conventional brass cartridge firing weapons non-military grade.

        • Nothing prevents a third party from turning out the guns and ammo once the patents expire.

  1. I’d love to see how this works in real life. The part that looks like a rotating chamber, also looks like a maintenance nightmare.

    • Maybe, maybe not. It’s just 5 trial guns. Certainly worth running through basic testing to see if the system itself is sound. I’d love to see how the gun holds up mechanically to a 20k-40k round service life test.

      • *BRRRRRAP
        “Cover me; rebarrelling!”
        “Cover me; reloading!”
        “Cover me; rebarreling!”

        • I’m rather concerned about all the moving fiddly bits and how they stack up once they get some routine wear on them.

        • “I’m rather concerned about all the moving fiddly bits and how they stack up once they get some routine wear on them.”

          Or when they get some fine, powdery orange abrasive in the works.

          More “moving fiddly bits” usually means more lubrication required, no? Lube that attracts grit like a magnet?

  2. Just give me a good ole M60 and I’m good…They worked great for decades, and will work fine for many more…

    The original S.A.W., M249 was a joke…I’m not convinced one in 6.8(.270 short) is going to be much better…

    • You must have been working with very different M60s than the few I’ve seen. The M60 had a tendency to beat itself to death. Also had some, let’s say “quirky”, maintenance procedures that could turn your GPMG into a club if not followed correctly. Ian did a great video on the M60 a while back.

      • The M60 was pretty darn good, especially for something that plopped out of Ordnance in that era. That said, it was a lot of work & money for something that was no better than the MG42, and possibly worse in some ways. It wasn’t like we didn’t have access to as many free MG42’s as we could ever want at the time, either.

      • I never had any problems with any of the 60’s I came into contact with, and the last one I carried was during ReForGer ’84, humped it halfway across Germany…Having said that, we had a pretty strict maint. routine, and an even stricter Co. armorer(had him a multiple duty stations), like ANY gun/weapon, taken care of, will last a LONG time, neglected, not so much so…

        God loves the Infantry…

    • The M60 is and always was a BEST a marginal POS. Perhaps a bit better than a Chauchat. But I’ve never fired a Chauchat and have read that it’s widely reported deficiencies were vastly overblown.

      Failure of the M249 to use magazines was hardly a critical failure. I’d certainly take one over an M60.

      • The M60’s issues are likewise overblown, and nearly all a result of poor management (ie running far-beyond service life guns, instead of replacing them as originally planned in a responsible manner) rather than design flaws.

        • The gas piston assembly going flying into the wilderness was a pretty big design flaw. As was the fact that you could physically put the piston in backwards and turn your gun into a straightpull.

    • The M60 is the the only gun I know where the receiver is considered a disposable part. It had some good features but not enough to redeem it.

      Preference would be given to FN MAG, MG3, or even PKM.

  3. I’ve heard this thing is supposed to have a 3500 fps muzzle velocity. So they want a short barrel, light weight, light recoiling .270 Weatherby Magnum with an acceptable barrel life.
    That’s cute.

    • If the bullets had a polymer coating on them, then the barrel life should be acceptable as it’s heat and friction that kill barrels. Polymer is a lot softer than copper, so for anti-personnel ammo a polymer bullet world be fine.

      For any sort of penetration of light armor, it would need a metal tip, but the tips of bullets aren’t what’s in contact with the rifling, so again, better barrel life.

      We’ll see how the new guns and ammo do in the tests, but I’m not sure they’re worth replacing the M249. Realistically, how much more ammo can be carried vs 5.56? 100 rds? 200 rds? It doesn’t sound significant enough with the fire rates of a machine gun in combat. The flatter shooting, more powerful round is understandable, but again, what impact does that have in combat?

      • That would have to be some fancy ass polymer to hold up to the heat, which is more important than friction. I’ve had Vmax bullets melt and cause jams from ~30 rounds in a minute.
        Bullet material is definitely important, but if you’re using hefty powder charges with a small bore, there will be reduced barrel life.

        • Oh the gubment will probably spend 13trillion dollars of “Our” money to develop a plastic coated bullit.

      • Let’s build a gun meant to spew bullets and then build bullets so expensive that we’ll exhaust the budget if we start shooting them.

        Sounds like a brilliant government program to spend as much money as possible.

  4. Wait, was this the 6.8 round that TTAG more or less proved with simple math can only deliver on its #ubermatch promises with more tungsten than Earth (let alone America) has available for the volume of ammunition needed, and will otherwise perform poorly in the far more common simple unarmed targets?

  5. I still haven’t seen much about the bullet composition. It is hard to imagine that it is not tungsten carbide cored/tipped if it has the AP effects they say it does. If it is substantially tungsten carbide, how much will each round be costing? With China possessing at least 85% of the worlds tungsten production and tightening exports it is hard to imagine that ammo is not so expensive that it can’t be for general issue. No?

    • Maybe we can give them the technical data & let them make us the bullets for a fraction of we can do them for, lol

  6. What a load of hyperventilating BS on a piece of vaporware. Never gonna happen. Solution is search of a problem/requirement/funding.

  7. What about barrel length? There’s a lot of new vunderounds out now that out preform the old rounds, like .224 Valkyrie/6.5 godmode and what not, however they need 24” barrels to make them worthwhile. One of these new hot rounds out of the standard 14.5” barrel isn’t really going to offer much of an advantage and result in a very annoying muzzle blast.

    • Old tech, well designed and optimized old tech but not what this project was going for (and waiting to see if it delivered). The point of the project was to get a overpressure cartridge to spit out a 6-7 mm at a speed and weight sufficient to punch plates at a typical engagement distance. Short of tungsten and sub caliber sabots good luck with that in a short barrel using typical nonmagnum brass. What triggers my tinfoil is how little armor is actually fielded by china/russia/proxies and how many are privately owned domestically, but again tinfoil.

  8. The only questions that need to be answered is whether it is more reliable that an m249, or less reliable than an m240.

    If it truly offers the range capability of a 7.62×51, with less weight, cool. But I like my belt fed to just keep eating it up.

    I wish I could have a 240 again… just to have it…

    • Going through as much of the media I can find and using just a little mechanical sense, the gun doesn’t look at all any more complicated and in some ways it is simpler in functionality, especially since the main “moving” parts appear to be a rod to push the case into a tilting mechanism, which is all of 1 piece that moves. I would assume the gas piston controls this part much like how an AK bolt rotates, which people haven’t complained about at all.

      Granted, we’ll never know until we can see whats inside of it, but judging by what i have now, it doesn’t look disastrously complicated over what we have now anyways. I’d say reliability would be fine.

      Manufacturing that thing, on the other hand, won’t be cheap.

  9. I know this may be silly, but I have made the decision to refuse to buy any semi-auto derivative of an automatic firearm. It’s despicable all these alphabet agencies think they can possess what we mere civilians cannot. If I cannot buy an original, mil-spec’d AR-15 or AR-10, then I refuse to buy its watered down version. That doesn’t mean I won’t buy an SKS or another rifle that hasn’t been neutered.

    • Yeah you’ll sure show those government agencies by… refusing to buy guns they don’t sell… huh?

      Ever heard of cutting off your nose to spite your face?

  10. Definately worth evaluating.

    When the M-16 was first introduced, many soldiers derided it as the “Matel -16” not just because of the plastic stock but because of the puny .22 caliber cartridge. The rifle “redeemed” itself only because US troops were fighting peasants armed with AK-47s in the jungles of Vietnam where you could seldom see beyond 50 yards so the “spray and pray” tactics made puny, lightweight ammo advantageous.

    There is a reason why the Delta Force operators in beautiful, down town Mogidishu were armed with M-14s.

    Now the US is confronted with the prospect of fighting better trained soldiers armed with the AK-74 and its successors and wearing body armor that can resist 5.56mm.

    The telescoped, caseless ammunition is not a radical new technology. It has been around for awhile. The US army already uses a similar technology for its 155mm howitzers rather than bagged powder. The proposed 105mm Variable Volume Chamber Cannon uses the same propellant charges to out range everyone else’s artillery.

    • If the armor can resist the 5.56 it’s going to be equally as good at stopping the 5.45 the AK-74 uses.

    • “There is a reason why the Delta Force operators in beautiful, down town Mogidishu were armed with M-14s.”
      Only 2 were. The rest of the rifles were M16s variants.

    • For all people romanticizing the M14, the design as an obsolescent piece of shit before it was even introduced.

      Open action, horrible ergonomics, piss poor accuracy, etc… the AR10, FAL, and G3 were superior to the M14 in every way except the old “not made here” bullshit. It was basically an M1 Garand with a box magazine chambered for a different caliber and with a giggle switch attached.

      Even modern M1A rifles based on the pattern have to spend thousands of dollars to get accuracies I can get from an out of the box SR25 at half the price and with none of the magazine or open action issues.

  11. What could go wrong with a rotating chamber and bullets that don’t seat into the rifling.

    Certainly nothing bad will happen with that….at all….ever, especially when the guns don’t get proper maintenance and sit full of sand for days on end.

  12. “Waste of money. It’s the Indian, not the arrow.”

    “Our troops deserve the best.”

    Pick one.

    • The question always comes up as to what this newest boondoggle does that other guns don’t. The telescoping ammo sounds cool, but until they run tens of thousands of rounds through these test guns under adverse conditions, I’d questions its reliability.

      You want a better SAW? Take a look at the dozens of light weight alternatives on the market that use proven technology. I don’t think you COULD make a better GPMG than the M240G unless you find a way to seriously shave weight off of the thing. (Which, again, doesn’t require an ammo redesign.)

      • Read your comment again to see the contradiction. Its a waste of money until tons of money is spent to prove that it isn’t. And then, like the 240 that replaced the pig, it isn’t such a boondoggle anymore.

        • The 240G did something the pig didn’t. It lacked a tendency for self disassembly if you didn’t wire the gas plug in place or if you damaged one of the springs holding the trigger on. The point is that the first rule of engineering is incremental development. If your product works, take baby steps, don’t throw out the entire project to go back to the drawing board chasing unicorns.

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