Army chooses new rifle for combat troops

Army chooses new rifle for combat troops

The Army has picked a replacement weapon for the venerable M-4 carbine, the service’s standard-issue weapon that was wielded by combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan for several years.

After a 27-month prototyping and evaluation effort, New Hampshire-based Sig Sauer won a $20.4 million contract to manufacture and deliver two Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) variations — the XM5 rifle and the XM250 Automatic Rifle — along with the 6.8 mm common cartridge family of ammunition, Army officials said late Tuesday.

The XM5 Rifle will replace the M4 carbine while the XM250 Automatic Rifle is the planned replacement for the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW).

“Both weapons provide significant capability improvements in accuracy, range, and overall lethality. They are lightweight, fire more lethal ammunition, mitigate recoil, provide improved barrel performance, and include integrated muzzle sound and flash reduction,” Army officials said in a statement.

Other military services will be able to acquire the NGSW system. It may be an option for foreign military sales in the future. The new 6.8 mm ammunition includes multiple types of tactical and training rounds that increase accuracy and are more lethal than both the 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm ammunition used for the M-4 and the SAW, Army officials said.

The XM5 and XM250 will both use the XM157 Fire Control system that integrates a number of technologies, such as an increased magnification scope; laser rangefinder; ballistic calculator, and other systems, Army officials said.

The Army examined three competing prototype systems before choosing Sig Sauer.