The US Army’s ongoing Next Generation Squad Weapon program has spawned capable designs from three companies. While the NGSW program has not yet selected a winner it was inevitable that the companies would begin to offer their weapons to other nations seeking to upgrade their infantry small arms. It appears that the first may be the NGSW prototypes from SIG Sauer.
It has been reported by Defence Technology Review that SIG Sauer’s MCX Spear and LMG 68 will be offered to fulfil an Australian Army requirement by Aquaterro, an Australian company specialising in supplying weapons, uniforms and equipment. According to Aquaterro’s website they appear to be a SIG Sauer military dealer for Australia.
The Australian Army launched their Land 159 program several years ago. The second element or tranche of the Land 159 program covers “the Close Combatant Assault Rifle, Machine Guns, Direct Fire Support Weapons and Grenades and is due for Government consideration in FY2024/25.” This would suggest that Aquaterro will be offering the MCX Spear, LMG 68 and MG 338 – the .338 Norma Magnum-chambered lightweight medium machine gun (which is not part of the US Army’s NGSW program, but is being examined by other US military programs).
It remains to be seen if any of the other current US NGSW program weapons are submitted to Australia’s Land 159 Tranche 2 program, but with the Australian government not due to approve Tranche 2 for another two to three years by the time the Australian program does get off the group we will know the outcome of the NGSW program.
Interestingly, Australia’s current service rifle, the EF88, only recently entered service – perhaps indicating that Land 159 Tranche 2 is only looking at equipping close combat formations or do not expect to be fielding any selected weapon before the 2030s.
At the same time Tranche 1 of Land 159 is currently ongoing and is searching for a Sniper System and the Close Combat System (comprising fighting knife, pistols, shotgun and the assault breaching system), this element of Land 159 is due for Government consideration sometime in 2022.
This article was originally posted at our sister site – TFB