Editor's Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

The U.S. Army just awarded a contract worth $162 million to General Dynamics Land Systems to produce remote-controlled robotic mule vehicles to transport heavy combat necessities so small units won't have to carry them into battle.

After months of testing, Army robotic officials selected the GDLS Multi-Utility Tactical Transport (MUTT), which will become the service's Small Multipurpose Equipment Transport (SMET). The Army plans to start fielding it to infantry brigade combat teams (IBCTs) by early fiscal 2021.

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Editor's Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

The U.S. Army's Next Generation Squad Weapon effort looked a lot more possible this week as the three competing weapons firms displayed their prototype 6.8mm rifles and automatic rifles at the 2019 Association of the United States Army's annual meeting.

Just two months ago, the Army selected General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems inc., Textron Systems and Sig Sauer Inc. for the final phase of the NGSW effort — one of the service's top modernization priorities to replace the 5.56mm M4A1 carbine and the M249 squad automatic weapon in infantry and other close-combat units.

Army officials, as well as the companies in competition, have been guarded about specific details, but the end result will equip combat squads with weapons that fire a specially designed 6.8mm projectile, capable of penetrating enemy body armor at ranges well beyond the current M855A1 5.56mm round.

There have previously been glimpses of weapons from two firms, but this year's AUSA was the first time all three competitors displayed their prototype weapons, which are distinctly different from one another.

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The sun may not be out, but the guns certainly are.

General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, AAI Corporation Textron Systems and Sig Sauer Inc. were all chosen in August as finalists for developing the Army's Next Generation Squad Weapon, one of the service's primary modernization priorities, and all three companies were touting their best best rifle and automatic rifle prototypes at the Association of the U.S. Army's annual conference last week.

Task & Purpose stopped by the General Dynamics booth at AUSA to get a better look at their prototypes for the Army's next rifle of choice.

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U.S. Air Force photo by Alex R. Lloyd

A number of defense contractors continue to decry the budget cuts enacted in 2011, citing the need to modernize capabilities to stay ahead.

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