US Army: next-generation assault rifle will pack a punch like a tank's main gun

The goal, as Col. Geoffrey A. Norman, force development division chief at Army HQ, claimed it, is to equip infantry soldiers with an automatic rifle “that fires a small bullet at the pressure equivalent to what a tank would fire.”

US Army next generation assault rifle will pack a punch like a tanks main gun 

Textron 5.56mm LSAT light machine gun. The Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle (NGSAR) demonstrator weapon

is a Textron prototype based on LSAT technology (Picture source: Textron)

The US Army announced its new assault rifle will unleash a hailstorm of specially-designed shells with as much chamber pressure as a battle tank gun to tear through even the most advanced body armor. Colonel Norman said the new weapon might be delivered with two per nine-man infantry squad, starting in fiscal year 2022 instead of 2025.

Indeed, the Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle (NGSAR) — the first version in the Army’s Next-Generation Weapons System that chambers a round between 6.5mm and 6.8mm — appears to be a potential replacement for its 80,000 M249 SAWs (the Squad Automatic Weapon is a US production of the Belgian FN Herstal Minimi, which stands for Mini-Mitrailleuse, mini-machine gun).

The NGSAR will weigh less, shoot farther, and pack more punch than the service’s existing infantry weapons. More importantly, the platform will incorporate a chamber pressure superior to the current system in soldiers’ arsenals to ensure that the rounds can still blast through enhanced enemy body armor at up to 600 meters.

The chamber pressure for the standard M4 assault rifle is around 45 KSI (kilopound per square inch), but the NGSAR’s pressure should range between 60 and 80 KSI, the same order as for a 120mm shell fired by an M1A1/A2 Abrams.

The NGSW systems is currently undergoing testing and evaluation by the Soldier Lethality Cross-Functional Team at Fort Benning, Georgia. It will initially head downrange with the 7.62mm XM11158 Advanced Armor Piercing (ADVAP) round while the army aims at a specialized round built to achieve the proper balance between range and lethality.

A crucial aspect of the NGSW program is the fire control system, developed independently from the receiver and chamber. The system will adjust and potentially only fire when the muzzle will line up with its target. It will take into account atmospheric conditions, even automatically center the weapon using an internal system. We’re looking to get these capabilities ready as soon as possible.