Confirming our report back in June that the US Army’s future Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle program has identified five current contestants and awarded opportunity notice awards to facilitate prototype development.
Back in June Miles reported that five vendors had passed the theoretical feasibility phase of the NGSAR program with the specifications submitted by the vendors meeting the US Army’s current NGSAR criteria. These companies responded to a Prototype Opportunity Notice posted in March 2018.
On the 12 July the US Army Contracting Command, New Jersey, posted an update announcing the award of six separate Fixed Priced, Full and Open Competition prototype Other Transaction Agreements (OTAs). These were awarded to the following companies:
AAI Corporation Textron Systems – Hunt Valley, MD; OTA W15QKN-18-9-1017
FN America LLC. – Columbia, SC; OTA’s W15QKN-18-9-1018 & W15QKN-18-9-1019
General Dynamics-OTS Inc. – Williston, VT; OTA W15QKN-18-9-1020
PCP Tactical, LLC – Vero Beach, FL; OTA W15QKN-18-9-1021
Sig Sauer Inc. – Newington, NH; OTA W15QKN-18-9-1022
The OTA award notice explains:
These Prototype OTA’s will be for the manufacture and development of a Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle (NGSAR) system demonstrator representative of a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 and Manufacturing Readiness Level (MRL) 6. The expected Prototype OTA duration is twelve months after award. The Prototype OTA’s were awarded on 25 June 2018.
The demonstrators are to be read by June 2019 for the first phase of practical testing. Technology Readiness Level 6 and Manufacturing Readiness Level 6 means a demonstration weapon which represents a major step forward in demonstrated readiness which can be built in a production relevant environment. This represents the development approaching the mid way point.
The exact approaches and design details of the various NGSAR prototypes on offer are still largely unknown. AAI Textron, perhaps the NGSAR vendor that we know the most about, has issued a statement responding to the OTA award stating that their demonstrator:
…will build on its current portfolio of Cased-Telescoped (CT) Weapons & Ammunition to develop and deliver a system demonstrator. Textron Systems plans to develop a high-velocity, magazine-fed system of an intermediate caliber. Based on program requirements, the prototype will weigh less than 12 pounds, with ammunition weighing 20 percent less than an equal brass case.
FN America have also released a statement confirming that the two weapon systems they submitted have been selected to progress to the next development phase. The statement explained that “one of the submissions is a lightweight machine gun and the other is the FN HAMR™, a heat adaptive modular rifle.”
At the time of publication the other three vendors have not published statements on their OTA awards.