Next Generation Squad Weapon Fielded to 101st Airborne Unit

by Vern Evans

Soldiers with the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell became the first unit equipped with the Army’s new Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) recently.

Next Generation Squad Weapon Fielded

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, accepted Next Generation Rifles and Automatic Rifles in preparation for New Equipment Training (NET) in April. NET is an in-depth, train-the-trainer course that prepares designated non-commissioned officers to facilitate follow-on training across the company.

“The process of developing and fielding new equipment is never without challenges and setbacks and speed bumps, so we’re celebrating the fact that we’re delivering on schedule, as promised,” said Lt. Col. Mark Vidotto, the NGSW lead for the Soldier Lethality Cross-Functional Team (SL CFT) at Fort Moore, Georgia. “It was a team effort from start to finish.”

The “start” dates back to 2018, and the “team” included the SL CFT and their Program Executive Office Soldier partners, Joint Program Executive Office Armaments and Ammunition, SIG Sauer, Vortex, and a number of other stakeholders. Each worked to hasten development and production of the new system after requirement identification in a 2017 study recognized the need for weapons to perform better at range.

Soldiers invested more than 25,000 hours during the development and testing of the NGSW system. Testing includes the XM7 Rifle, XM250 Automatic Rifle, XM157 Fire Control and the 6.8mm family of ammunition.

“The NGSW fielding is a culmination of a comprehensive and rigorous process of design, testing and feedback, all of which were led by Soldiers,” said Col. Jason Bohannon, project manager, Soldier Lethality, PEO Soldier. “As a result, the Army is delivering on its promise to deliver to Soldiers the highest quality, most capable small-caliber weapons and ammunition.”

Based on modernization schedules, the Army will field NGSW systems to a National Guard armored brigade in May.

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