By David Crane
david (at) defensereview (dot) com
May 18, 2020
DefenseReview’s (DR) been interested in polymer-cased rifle and machine gun ammo (ammunition) for many years now, and in True Velocity ammo, specifically, for the last few years. So, we were very happy to finally get a chance to talk to one Patrick (Pat) Hogan about their ammo’s attributes, which include “30% lighter than loaded brass, increased accuracy, reduced heat transfer, “magnetic retrieval” (whatever that is), 100% recyclable.” You can see our video of Mr. Hogan discussing the ammo below.
While True Velocity manufactures (polymer-cased) rifle ammo from 5.56mm NATO (5.56x45mm NATO) to .50 BMG rounds, their latest endeavor is a polymer-cased 6.8mm round designed and developed for the US Army’s Next-Generation Squad Weapons (NGSW) Program in partnership with General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (GDOTS, also written GD-OTS). GD-OTS has some interesting bullpup 6.8mm NGSW weapon prototypes, consisting of both an “NGSW-Automatic Rifle” (developed to replace the FN M249 SAW) and “NGSW-Rifle” (developed to replace the M4/M4A1 Carbine).
Here’s what the U.S. Army has to say about the NGSW program, in case the reader isn’t already knowledgeable about it:
The Next Generation Squad Weapons (NGSW) Program is an iterative, prototyping effort, using Middle Tier Acquisition Authority, to develop squad-level lethality to combat proliferating threats, informed by Soldiers to be operationally relevant.
The NGSW prototyping effort consists of the Rifle (NGSW-R) and Automatic Rifle (NGSW-AR) with a common 6.8mm cartridge and Fire Control (NGSW-FC) between the two systems. The effort aims to field to the Close Combat Force (CCF) with the NGSW-R as the planned replacement for the M4A1 and the NGSW-AR as the planned replacement for the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon.
It is currently in a competitive prototyping iteration with three vendors: SIG SAUER, General Dynamics – Ordinance and Tactical Systems, and Textron Systems. The first prototype test, beginning this spring, will serve as a “diagnostic test” to inform the vendors on their current performance and feed another design iteration. The second prototype test, beginning in January 2021, will inform a selection team on the performance of these systems.
BENEFIT TO THE SOLDIER
The NGSW program significantly increases lethality and probability of hit at the squad level. Due to the nature of the General Purpose ammunition, the 6.8mm projectile will outperform even the most modern 5.56mm and 7.62mm ammunition. These weapons will give Soldiers significant capability improvements in accuracy, range, signature management, and lethality.”
DR plans to start writing about this program soon. To date, we’ve had a healthy level of skepticism about it, based on the ignominious demise of so many previous and similar U.S. Army infantry small arms weapons programs. Let’s face it, the US Army’s track record for such programs hasn’t exactly been good.
Anyway, while we remain skeptical about the program, we also like to retain a level of cautious optimism. That said, Defense Review has already witnessed and test-fired an M4/M4A1-formate mag-fed (magazine-fed) automatic rifle/machine gun made by Arm West (also written ArmWest) that signficantly outperforms both the M4/M4A1 AND the M249 SAW in combat performance, so we’re also a bit jaded about the NGSW program because of that.
By the way, while we were at the company’s booth, DR also found True Velocity’s .338 Norma Magnum ammo display quite interesting, since it featured an experimental .338 Dillon Aero Gatling Gun, with a belt of True Velocity ammo hanging from it. Since we here at DR are big fans of Dillon Aero’s gatling guns AND the .338 Norma Magnum cartridge, we REALLY liked the display. What a weapons/ammo combo. We certainly wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of that one.
Company Contact Info:
General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (GD-OTS) Corporate Offices
11399 16th Court North, Suite 200
St Petersburg, FL 33716
Main switchboard: 727-578-8100
RUAG Holding AG (Norma Ammo)
3000 Bern 22 Switzerland
Phone: +41 31 376 64 50
Fax: +41 31 376 64 51
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