This rifle could be a dark horse candidate for the Army's next-generation squad weapon — and you can snag one next year

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VIDEO: 5.56mm vs 6.8mm ammunition for the Army's Next Generation Squad Weapon program

The Army says it's settled on three defense contractors to battle it out to become the service's M4 carbine and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon replacements, but at least one other company is hoping that a bit of consumer approval could help upset the competition.


On Thursday, MARS Inc. and Cobalt Kinetics unveiled their dark horse submissions for the Army's Next Generation Squad Weapon program, a carbine and light machine gun, on the heels of the Association of the U.S. Army's annual expo in Washington, D.C., where General Dynamics-OTS, AAI Corporation Textron Systems and Sig Sauer, touted their official candidates.

But while General Dynamics, Textron, and Sig Sauer are all working closely with Army officials to incorporate all manner of, ahem, next-generation features into the system, Mars and Cobalt Kinetic are going a different route: they plan on making their NGSW submissions available for consumer purchase as early as next year.

"I can't think of a better collaboration in this industry," Mars president CEO Michael Merino told American Rifleman in a statement. "Our MARS rifle design, coupled with the innovative approach to rifle manufacturing of the Cobalt Kinetics team, has been incredible

Mars Inc. / Cobalt Kinetics NGSW-R Carbine

(Mars Inc. / Cobalt Kinetics)

In Mars and Cobalt Kinetic submission, which has been in the works since early 2019, purportedly meets all of the Army's existing NGSW requirements. According to American Rifleman, that means the standard fire control and handling characteristics of the service's current small arms, a magazine well capable of handling the Army's new intermediate 6.8mm cartridge, and a fresh long-recoil system ripped from the Browning Auto-5 shotgun.

While it's unlikely that the Army officials methodically searching for their iPhone of lethality will take their acquisition cues from a bit of positive consumer feedback, it's not totally out of the question. Shortly after selecting its three NGSW prototype candidates, the service issued a sources sought notice for an NGSW Innovative Designs & Engineering Assessment (IDEA) Program to identify "new, innovative, enabling technologies" for the weapon fire-control system and specialized 6.8mm ammo.

More importantly, it means that, should the Mars and Cobalt Kinetics submission actually meet the requirements of the NGSW program, the the average civilian will soon have a chance to handle a NGSW-inspired firearm sooner than most soldiers.

"We believe that we have a rifle design that meets the requirements of the Army's ambitious NGSW program," Merino said in his statement. "We are excited to be part of the evolution of military effectiveness."

The Space Force has a name tape now

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The U.S. Space Force has a name tape for uniforms now. Get excited people.

In a tweet from its official account, the Space Force said its uniform name tapes have "touched down in the Pentagon," sharing a photo of it on the chest of Gen. John W. Raymond, the newly-minted Chief of Space Operations for the new service branch nested in the Department of the Air Force.

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PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump gave a minute-to-minute account of the U.S. drone strikes that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in remarks to a Republican fund-raising dinner on Friday night, according to audio obtained by CNN.

With his typical dramatic flourish, Trump recounted the scene as he monitored the strikes from the White House Situation Room when Soleimani was killed.

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The U.S. Navy will name its fourth Ford-class aircraft carrier after Doris Miller, an iconic World War II sailor recognized for his heroism during the Pearl Harbor attack, according to reports in The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and U.S. Naval Institute News.

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly is expected to announce the naming of CVN-81 during a ceremony on Monday in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, according to USNI. Two of Miller's nieces are expected to be there, according to the Star-Advertiser.

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Two immigrants, a pastor and an Army sergeant have been convicted of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud as part of an illegal immigration scheme, according to federal prosecutors.

Rajesh Ramcharan, 45; Diann Ramcharan, 37; Sgt. Galima Murry, 31; and the Rev. Ken Harvell, 60, were found guilty Thursday after a nine-day jury trial, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office in Colorado.

The conspiracy involved obtaining immigration benefits for Rajesh Ramcharan, Diann Ramcharan, and one of their minor children, the release said. A married couple in 2007 came to the U.S. from Trinidad and Tobago on visitor visas. They overstayed the visas and settled in Colorado.

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DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran said on Saturday it was sending to Ukraine the black boxes from a Ukrainian passenger plane that the Iranian military shot down this month, an accident that sparked unrest at home and added to pressure on Tehran from abroad.

Iran's Tasnim news agency also reported the authorities were prepared for experts from France, Canada and the United States to examine information from the data and voice recorders of the Ukraine International Airlines plane that came down on Jan. 8.

The plane disaster, in which all 176 aboard were killed, has added to international pressure on Iran as it grapples with a long running row with the United States over its nuclear program that briefly erupted into open conflict this month.

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