The US Army awarded Sig Sauer the Next Generation Squad Weapons system (NGSW) program contract. It was chosen after an evaluation and testing period that spanned over 27 months.
Now, the new Sig Sauer rifle, the XM5, will replace the M4/M4A1 carbine for close-range combat, while the XM250 machine gun will replace the M249 as the US Army’s main squad rifles.
The new Sig Sauer XM5 rifle and XM250 machine gun
The XM5 and XM250 are impressive weapons that will update the Army’s squad rifle arsenal. Even if the Army hasn’t disclosed all their specifications, they look spectacular and are probably state-of-the-art weapons.
This Sig Sauer rifle and machine gun will use their own ammo, the SIG 6 8×51 mm Fury. The ammunition is manufactured by Sig Sauer to have superior fire performance with its metallic case that withstands higher pressure than the majority of ammunition and dramatically increases muzzle velocity and accuracy.
It is noteworthy that the ammunition is lighter than conventional ammo, which will give it less weight and be less of a logistical problem, especially when soldiers are deployed and must carry other equipment.
More importantly, this 6.8 mm ammunition has a longer range and above all, much more stopping power than the 5.56 mm ammunition that the M4 and the M249 currently use.
Selecting new squad rifles is a competitive selection process
Sig Sauer is one of the significant weapon manufacturers with a solid reputation earned in the last decades. The army already counted on some of this company’s weapons like the SIG Sauer M17 or SIG Sauer M18 – and after decades of operating the same weapons, the army is getting ready to adopt new rifles and machine guns.
At least 500 soldiers and Marines have participated in these evaluations and have dedicated more than 20,000 hours of their time to these rifles and machine gun tests.
It has been a pretty rigorous testing process involving companies such as General Dynamics and Textron Systems. In addition, the weapons will still be undergoing a process of testing and development while transitioning from the previous M4 system to the M249.
I got to play around w some big guns the other day! So we qualify with an M4 rifle. This one is a M240 machine gun, I also got to shoot an MK-19 grenade launcher and a 50-Caliber hehe pic.twitter.com/anJsYf1zo4— Fresa (@lesleyleft) August 12, 2020
With this considerable effort, the Army is securing exceptional and extensively tested NGSW to replace other legendary weapons.
The development and supply contract for new squad rifles
The first purchase order is valued at $20.4 million to start testing the Sig Sauer rifle, machine gun, and ammunition.
This agreement covers accessories, spare parts, and technical support. It also considers additional opportunities for other militaries to buy the NGSW weapons and ammunition via the U.S. government’s Foreign Military Sales program.
If the program is satisfactory, there will be a set budget of up to $4.7 billion for manufacturing 250,000 weapons.
In the meantime, the M4 and M249 will remain in use for close combat for a few more years.
The XM5 rifle and XM250 machine gun
The XM5 Sig Sauer rifle specifications may vary slightly as they are still in the testing phase – and are expected to enter service in 2025 at best.
- Empty weight: 8.38 pounds or 3.80 kilograms
- Barrel length: 330 mm or 12.99 inches
- Length: 866 mm or 34.09 inches
- Rate of fire: 800 rounds per minute (rpm)
- Maximum effective range: 1700 feet or 518 meters
Likewise, the specifications of the XM250 machine gun may vary after its testing period or even undergo factory modifications, but currently is expected to have the following characteristics.
- Empty weight: 16.20 pounds or 7.35 kilograms
- Barrel length: 465 mm or 18.31 inches
- Length: 1045 mm or 41.14 inches
- Rate of fire: 800 rpm
- Maximum effective range: 2500 feet or 762 meters
Once the test period is over, these new squad rifles will take on the official designation given by the Army and will become M5 and M250, without the “X” as they will no longer be in the experimental phase.
The M5 and M250 are likely to be very reliable, deadly weapons
The US Army is taking a bold step toward 21st-century battlefield needs with its new squad rifles, and Sig Sauer is a reliable supplier of infantry weapons. The adoption of Sig Sauer’s XM5 and XM250 will add dynamism and cutting-edge weapons to the Army’s arsenal.
However, these weapons will have to meet numerous expectations when they are fielded and deployed in combat, which will be their real and final that they need to overcome.
Feature image credit: NSGW-LIFESTYLE-6 by sigmedialibrary.com