The U.S. Army has found a winner for its Next Generation Squad Weapon competition, selecting SIG Sauer’s MCX-SPEAR Rifle and SIG-LMG designs as the new XM5 Rifle and XM250 Automatic Rifle, respectively. SIG Sauer has been awarded a 10-year, firm fixed-price, follow-on contract by the U.S. Army to manufacture and deliver the XM5 and XM250, along with new SIG 6.8x51 mm FURY hybrid ammunition, known as the 6.8 mm Common Cartridge.
This contract was awarded after the U.S. Army conducted a thorough 27-month long testing period, during which prototype weapon systems from SIG Sauer, General Dynamics and Textron Systems were evaluated. These tests included attention to not only the inner workings and efficiencies of the platforms, but the interface and user friendliness to the soldier as well. All designs were also tested with prototype 6.8 mm ammunition, as well as submissions for next-generation fire-control systems, in which the Vortex offering was selected as the XM157.
The contract has an initial order worth $20.4 million for weapons and ammunition that will undergo final testing. Also included in the contract are accessories, spares and contractor support for the new weapons. It also allows other Department of Defense forces to acquire them, along with the possibility for foreign nations to do the same.
The SIG-LMG, which has been selected by the U.S. Army as the new XM250 Automatic Rifle.
With this selection, the XM5 is intended to replace the M4 and M4A1 carbines for use with close combat forces, while the XM250 will phase out the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. So, too, will the new SIG 6.8 mm FURY ammunition begin to phase out the long-lived 5.56 NATO and 7.62 NATO cartridges, in favor of increased ballistic performance from the latter. Both the XM5 and XM250 are chambered for the same cartridge, which utilizes government-provided projectiles and SIG Sauer-designed casings.
The Vortex-manufactured XM157 Fire Control system will be utilized on both the XM5 and XM250 as well. It combines several features, including 1-8X optic with a backup etched reticle along with a laser rangefinder, ballistic calculator, atmospheric sensors, compass, intra-soldier wireless linking, and a digital display along with visible and infrared aiming lasers. This new fire control system increases the effectiveness of the host platforms and increases the chance of hits on target, regardless of the range.