The Army wants $111 million to finally field its next-generation squad weapon by 2023

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The Defense Department is asking Congress for $111.2 million to field the service's Next Generation Squad Weapon and its related 6.8mm ammunition some time in fiscal year 2023.

The Pentagon's budget request for fiscal year 2021 indicates that the service wants $35.822 million to procure protoypes of the next-generation weapons system, as well as $11.988 million in specially-designed 6.8mm ammo for the NGSW.

Beyond completing prototypes and down-selecting a final vendor for production, the remaining funding is going towards research and development for the Army's next-generation weapon system of choice.

The $111.2 million in the Pentagon's budget request represents a twofold increase over the $51.3 million the Army was allocated in fiscal year 2020 for the NGSW program.

In September, the Army selected General Dynamics-OTS Inc., AAI Corporation Textron Systems and Sig Sauer Inc to develop prototypes of the NGSW's carbine and automatic rifle variants chambered in 6.8mm, prototypes the gunmakers flaunted at the Association of the United States Army's annual meeting in October.

Two weeks after selecting those contractors for NGSW prototyping, 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.

"These technologies will be used for experimentation, technical evaluation, and/or assessment of operational utility focused on enhancing system performance, sustainment, and/or training," the government's soliciation notice read. "This information will advise/inform future NGSW requirements and may compliment or be integrated into existing programs such as the NGSW weapons, ammunition, and fire control."

Army modernization officials previously told Congress recently that the service originally aimed to field the NGSW to soldiers by fall 2021. Fielding is currently scheduled for fiscal year 2023, according to Military.com

Update: A previous version of this article stated that the Army planned on fielding the NGSW by fiscal year 2021. The correct timeframe is fiscal year 2023