US Army Tests Next-Gen Squad Weapon in Extreme Cold

The US Army has completed extreme cold weather testing of its Next-Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) ahead of its much-awaited fielding to the 101st Airborne Division later this year.

Soldiers based in Alaska fired the XM7 rifles and XM250 automatic rifles in various mission-oriented tasks, with temperatures dipping to -35 degrees Fahrenheit (-37 degrees Celsius).

The test aimed to evaluate the ability of the NGSW to support Arctic operations.

According to Soldier Lethality Cross-Functional Team (SL CFT) member Maj. Brandon Davis, weather testing provides developers with necessary insights into how atmospheric conditions affect weapon performance.

“Extreme cold can affect the weapon’s functionality, of course, but it also hinders a soldier’s movement and mobility,” he said.

“So which sling does he prefer in these conditions? Can he or she effectively manipulate the widgets on the weapon wearing gloves? We’re getting after every aspect of how the NGSW impacts lethality and mobility under extreme conditions.”

Results of the Arctic test will be made available to Army senior leaders soon.

Keeping Soldiers Engaged

SL CFT director Brig. Gen. Monté Rone said the process of developing and fielding transformational capabilities is no longer linear.

Before, soldiers were reportedly provided with weapons the service thought they needed but not necessarily wanted.

“We do things differently now, keeping soldiers engaged in every step of the process in a variety of soldier touchpoints,” he explained. “So we will give them the weapons they need to be more lethal and more survivable on the battlefield.”

Prior to the test at the Cold Regions Test Center in Fort Greely, Alaska, a platoon within the 101st Airborne Division completed a limited user test of the weapon to assess its capabilities and limitations.

The US Army plans to test the NGSW in extreme heat and humidity later this year.

About the NGSW

The US Army’s NGSW program aims to find the best solution to range, accuracy, and lethality challenges of small arms for close combat forces.

Sig Sauer won the competition with its XM5 and XM250 proposals.

More than 18,000 NGSWs are expected to be procured by the army within 10 years under $331 million in funding.

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