SIG Sauer publicly unveiled its entry for the US Army's Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) programme at the DSEI 2019 defence exhibition in London during September.
This follows an announcement in August that SIG Sauer had been downselected by the US Army, alongside Textron and General Dynamics, for the next phase of the programme.
The aim of the NGSW is to provide the US infantryman with greater firepower, mobility, and lethality by replacing the current M4 carbines and M249 machine guns in service with a new rifle and machine gun firing a new 6.8 mm calibre intermediate cartridge.
The solution showcased by SIG Sauer revolves around a new 6.8×51 mm hybrid cartridge, the MG-6.8 light machine gun, the SPEAR assault rifle, and corresponding suppressors and electro-optical sighting systems. The whole system is the result of a USD40 million investment by the company over a two-year period.
The core of the system is the 6.8×51 mm hybrid cartridge. The innovation touted by the company comes with associating a steel base with a brass cartridge case. Company president and CEO Ron Cohen explained to Jane's that retaining a brass case was essential to SIG's approach. Brass has been used in firearms design for more than a century and its properties in ammunition and firearms design are both well known and well mastered.
In order to meet the US Army's requirement for 20% lighter ammunition and 30% more energy than current 7.62×51 mm NATO cartridges, SIG Sauer patented a new method of fixing a steel base by adding a washer to the brass body of the cartridge case.
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