Video Above U.S. Army Long Range Precision Fires
“Achieving greater energy on target.” That’s what the US Army wants from the emerging Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW), a new rifle now being pursued by two distinct industry teams: Sig Sauer and a recently announced partnership between Beretta USA and True Velocity subsidiary LoneStar Future Weapons (LSFW).
Intended to replace the Army’s 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge as well as the M4 carbine and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, the NGSW is designed to massively increase lethality against a wider range of defended targets. Army developers say the new weapon will be much longer range, lighter weight and “much more lethal” than the existing weapons it is being engineered to replace.
Beretta already produces the Army’s M9 pistol, and the company will no doubt seeks to leverage its experience and history with gun design and US manufacturing for a specific emphasis on innovation in its partnership with LSFW.
Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) to "Ensure Overmatch"
The concept for the NGSW emerged following a 2017 US Army Small Army Ammunition Configuration study. Among other priorities, the study called for advanced fire-control technology and bullet design to “not only defeat threat capabilities but also ensure overmatch.”
To achieve this, Army requirements called for improved ergonomics, signature-suppressing capabilities, data power transfer, new rail designs, a lightweight case, and “increased performance at range.”
NGSW: Beretta and LoneStar Future Weapons
Beretta’s partnership with LSFW appears a natural marriage of Beretta USA’s “rich history of delivering high-quality, rugged, reliable weapons” and True Velocity’s “innovative approach to advanced weapon and ammunition development,” according to a statement from True Velocity Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Boscamp. The partnership puts the team in “an optimal position to lead the global modernization of small arms and ammunition.”
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For the NGSW, the Beretta and LSFW team will be testing and developing its “Bull Pup” design, with Beretta USA also taking a leading role in developing a variant of its RM277 for sale to US allies as well as a semi-automatic variant for civilian sale in the US commercial market. Capable of stable and accurate automatic fire, long-range effectiveness and reduced recoil, the RM277 weapon offers maximum lethality in a compact, lightweight package.
Both weapons will fire True Velocity’s 6.8mm TVCM composite case cartridge, an innovation intended to bring unprecedented advantages to the weapons’ performance characteristics while lightening the soldier’s load.
A June 2021 article from Bulgaria’s National Military University specifies a number of the tactical advantages associated with the True Velocity 6.8mm cartridge, including its metal base upon which a polymer body is cast in a configuration identical to conventional ammunition.
“The polymer used in the cartridge case can be significantly lighter than a metal one,” writes Miroslav Dimitrov. “The polymer is significantly cheaper to manufacture and has much better insulating properties than metal. The polymer is also corrosion resistant which means that the ammunition can be stored for a much longer time.”
The weapon’s “Bull Pup” design – with the magazine located behind the trigger – also brings the benefits of a relatively long barrel length, higher muzzle velocities, and increased range, Dimitrov adds.
“This design allows for the production of a shorter weapon compared to a carbine with the same barrel length, which significantly improves the maneuverability and handling of the weapon. The advantages of the longer barrel, such as improved accuracy and higher round initial velocity are preserved, while at the same time maintaining a compact weapon design,” the paper states.
The Beretta-LSFW NGSW offering is intended to align with the Army’s requirements. For instance, Army specified that the NGSW needed a sound suppressor to reduce the weapon’s acoustic signature. The Bulgaria’s National Military University notes the Beretta-LSFW team’s introduction of a sound suppressor, but also notes improvements in barrel design.
“The additional weight added to the front of the barrel acts as a counterweight negating the oscillations occurring while firing thus, improving accuracy and shot grouping.
Kris Osborn is the Defense Editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Master's Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.