Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told Military.com that it is purchasing a new squad rifle that fires bullets faster and farther than previous infantry rifles—likely able to penetrate existing body armors—in massive quantities.
In an interview Monday, Milley said the 6.8 mm next-generation rifles will be quite deadly:
“It will fire at speed that far exceed the velocity of bullets today, and it will penetrate any existing or known body armor that’s out there. What I have seen so far from the engineers and the folks that put these things together, this is entirely technologically possible … It’s a very good weapon.”
In July, the Army announced it had selected five gunmakers to create prototypes of the Next Generation Squad Weapon. Last week, the Army put together a draft solicitation for two variations of the weapon with a common cartridge for the 6.8 mm ammunition.
According to the solicitation, the Army is seeking 250,000 total weapons—with semi-automatic and fully automatic variants—as well as 150 million rounds of ammunition, which is approximately 600 rounds per weapon. Milley said specifications of the weapons will remain a closely guarded secret for some time to avoid tipping the Army’s hand to U.S. adversaries:
“It’s a very sophisticated weapon, a very capable weapon. It’s got an integrated sight system to it, and it also integrates into the soldier’s gear and other equipment that we are fielding.”
Milley said he expects the NGSW to be “pretty expensive,” and for that reason, it will not be equipped to the entire Army, at least not initially. He said he is hopeful the first models will be testing on ranges at Fort Benning in Georgia in the late summer of 2019.