Sig’s $4.5 Billion Army Rifle, Machine Gun Contract: By the Numbers

Here are some interesting data, dates, and figures to keep in mind on the NGSW contracts:

XM5 – Designation of the Sig Sauer NGSW-Rifle as adopted. The rifle, Sig’s MCX-Spear design, is intended to replace the M4 Carbine in use with “close combat forces.” Once it has been fully adopted and released, the “X” will fall off, making it the M5.

 

Sig Sauer NGSW XM5 rifle
The XM5 is based on Sig Sauer’s MCX-Spear rifle system (Photo: Sig Sauer)
Sig Sauer NGSW XM5 rifle
Chambered in a new 6.8-caliber round, it is suppressor-ready and uses 20-round magazines (Photo: Sig Sauer)

 

XM250 – Designation of the Sig Sauer NGSW-Automatic Rifle as adopted. The weapon, Sig’s Lightweight Machine Gun design, is intended to replace the M249 SAW Carbine in use with “close combat forces.”

 

Sig Sauer XM250 NGSW machine gun
The XM250 is Sig Sauer’s LMG, and is belt-fed, using the same suppressor and cartridge as the XM5 (Photo: Sig Sauer)
Sig Sauer XM250 NGSW machine gun
It is reportedly four pounds lighter than the M249, while using a more powerful round with a greater effective range. (Photo: Sig Sauer)

 

XM157 – Designation of the Fire Control system, a separate contract awarded earlier this year to Vortex, to provide an integrated optic to be used on both the XM5 and XM250.

 

 

6.8x51mm – The Common Cartridge family of ammunition to be used by both the XM5 and XM250. The first types will be general-purpose, blank, drill/dummy inert, a reduced range training cartridge to allow the Army’s current ranges to be used, and high-pressure test rounds.

$4,500,000,000 – The total contract value if all options are taken for Sig Sauer to manufacture and deliver the XM5 Next Generation Squad Weapon Rifle, the XM250 NGSW Automatic Rifle, and the 6.8 Common Cartridge Family of Ammunition, as well as accessories, spares, and contractor support, over the next 10 years.

$20.4 million – Funds authorized for now to Sig covering weapons and ammunition that will undergo further testing.

$20 million – Amount of the contract awarded to Winchester earlier this year to plan the production of new NGSW ammo types at the contractor-run Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Missouri. Lake City has already been providing projectiles for Sig Sauer and the other competitors to use on their cartridges during the prototyping phase.

$2.7 billion – Maximum amount of the 10-year contract to Vortex to provide the XM157 Fire Control optics system for the NGSW firearms. The Army said this week the weapons will be fielded as a system, with both the rifles and machine guns carrying the same optics and suppressors.

140 – The number of rounds carried by the average XM5 user. The XM5 ammo loadout is seven 20-round mags for a weight of 9.8 pounds, compared to the current M4 loadout of seven 30-round mags (210 rounds total) for 7.4 pounds, meaning XM5 shooters will give up 70 rounds and carry another 5 pounds in a total weapon, optic and ammo load compared to the M4.

400 – The number of rounds carried by the average XM250 user. The XM250 ammo load per automatic rifleman is four 100-round pouches weighing 27.1 pounds. Compare this to the current SAW gunner who carries three 200-round pouches (600 rounds total) for 20.8 pounds. In other words, XM250 light machine gunners will lose 200 rounds and add 3.6 pounds compared with the M249 SAW load. While the XM250 is lighter overall, the ammo is heavier and the new optic adds 2.6 pounds to the system.

16,348 – The number of XM5 rifles planned to be purchased by the Army in Fiscal Year 23.

1,704 – The number of XM250 machine guns planned to buy in FY23.

17,164 – The number of NGSW fire control modules planned to be purchased by the Army in FY23.

27 Months – The length of the Army’s rigorous testing and evaluation process prior to down-selecting Sig this week.

500 – Number of Soldiers, Marines, and special operations personnel involved in 18 touchpoints and more than 100 technical sub-tests during the past 27-month evaluation.

20,000 – Hours of user feedback garnered from Soldiers and Marines in the testing process.

120,000 – Soldiers in the Army’s active (COMPO 1) and reserve (COMPO 2) close combat force– identified as infantrymen, cavalry scouts, combat engineers, medics, special operations, and forward observers– who will use the NGSW platforms. Army spokesmen this week said other units and specialties will continue to use legacy small arms. “For example, the company supply sergeant will continue to carry M-4 or another weapon, not the Next-Gen Weapon.”

250,000 – Current ceiling of NGSWs in the contract. With that being said, the Army stated this week the current thinking is to field 107,000 M5 rifles and 13,000 M250 machine guns initially, roughly an 8:1 ratio.

Two pounds — The weight that the XM5 rifle is heavier than the current M4 it is set to replace.

Four pounds – The weight that the XM250 machine gun is lighter than the current M249.

3-to-5 Years – The length of time Sig Sauer will remain as the primary supplier of 6.8 ammunition to the Army as the military ramps up production at its own facilities. After that, it is expected the company will still provide ammo to the Army as a secondary source.

10 Years – Potential length of this week’s contract between Sig and the Army, broken into annual ordering periods.

65 Years – The last time the Army fielded a new weapon system of this nature– a rifle and machine gun along with a new caliber family of ammunition. The previous date was 1957 when the M14 and M60, in 7.62 NATO, replaced the M1 Garand, M1918 BAR, M1 Carbine, and M1919 machine gun.

2023 (3rd quarter) – When the Army expects its IOT&E– Initial Operational Test and Evaluation– a major program milestone that, will be completed on the NGSW, paving the way for full-rate production.

2023 (4th quarter) – The year the Army expects to equip the first unit with production NGSW variants, as detailed in a Pentagon press conference this week.

2026 – Expected start date of 6.8mm ammo production at a new building constructed specifically for the purpose at Lake City.

2029 – The theorized date mentioned by Army spokesmen this week when 6.8 ammo production “perhaps open it up to commercial vendors like we do with the other calibers.”

2032– The year this week’s Army NGSW contract with Sig concludes.

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