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Textron, a Maryland-based weapons technology firm, has delivered the first of five automatic rifle prototype demonstrators to the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Armaments Center and Joint Services Small Arms Programs. The Army is working with the weapons firm, among others, to develop prototypes for the Next Generation Squad Weapons (NGSW). The prototypes in the work are both automatic and carbine versions of the NGSW, that are intended to fire a special government-designed 6.8 mm bullet.
The 6.8 mm projectile is a case-telescoped bullet that allows for the warfighter to carry more ammunition with a lighter load. Textron officials say that the new 6.8 mm bullet will be based on the company’s 14 years of experience in developing Case-Telescoped (CT) weapon systems. Just last year, the company showed off its new CT carbine, designed to fire 6.5 mm rounds.
Under the Lightweight Small Arms Technology program, Textron has developed light and medium machine guns that fire 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm CT ammunition. CT weapons and ammunition offer the next generation in weapon technologies, allowing the warfighter increased lethality at longer ranges, while also delivering significant weight reduction.
In 2018, Textron also received another military contract to develop a next generation automatic rifle prototype. The Army wants the automatic rifle to have a maximum length of 35 inches and weigh no more than 12 pounds. Military.com reports that the company intends to demonstrate the prototype by June 2019.
The automatic and carbine versions of the NGSW will both feature advanced fire-control systems that allow for better accuracy by automatically adjusting the weapon’s aiming for environmental conditions, such as wind, temperature, and barrel heat.