The Army has published footage of soldiers giving the service's much-hyped next-generation squad weapon prototypes a workout on a military range.
In a video addressing the 2020 Maneuver Warfighter Conference back in September, Brig. Gen. David Hodne of the Soldier Lethality Cross-Functional Team provided a detailed update on several high-tech initiatives for infantry soldiers, including the Next Generation Squad Weapon program.
The video, which was published to YouTube on Oct. 8 by Fort Benning public affairs, includes footage of soldiers putting several NGSW prototypes through their paces during soldier touchpoints conducted earlier this year.
"We've recently completed a series of both user acceptance events and technical testing events on the first series of prototypes from the three vendors," Hodne told Task & Purpose in early October. "Vendors will take the feedback, technical and user, and improve prototypes in what will be the second series of tests to occur in the spring of 2021."
The Army in Sept. 2019 selected General Dynamics-OTS, AAI Corporation Textron Systems, and Sig Sauer to develop prototypes of the NGSW's carbine and automatic rifle variants chambered in 6.8mm.
More than 600 soldiers and Marines have contributed thousands of hours to the first of several soldier touchpoints, events designed to elicit direct user feedback "in operationally relevant scenarios during developmental testing," according to Army spokeswoman Bridgett Siter previously told Task & Purpose.
According to the Army, the prototyping phase is scheduled to continue through the summer of 2021 with the goal of eventually down-selecting a single weapon vendor to produce the NGSW's carbine and automatic rifle variants and its accompanying 6.8mm ammunition.
The NGSW program is still on pace to eventually field two weapons — a rifle and an automatic rifle — to U.S. soldiers by 2022, which will replace both the M4 carbine and the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon in infantry arsenals.