Winchester Awarded $20 Million Contract for Next-Gen Weapon Development
Winchester recently announced it has been awarded $20 million by the United States Army for ammunition development and production capacity planning for ammunition as part of the Next Generation Squad Weapons Program (NGSWP).
The Army’s decision was made in part due to the fact that Winchester was previously awarded an $8 billion contract to operate Lake City Army Ammunition Plant (LCAAP), which is the United States’ sole government-owned, contractor-operated production facility of small-caliber ammunition. Winchester will use LCAAP, located in Independence, Mo., to perform operations on the new contract.
So, what exactly is the Next Generation Squad Weapons Program, and what does it mean for the U.S. Army going forward?
According to the official United States Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC), one of the prominent goals of the NGSWP is to upgrade the weapons of Close Combat Forces (CCFs) with more modern weaponry. Currently, the standardized rifle among CCFs is the M4A1, and the standardized automatic rifle is the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. But while the NGSWP seeks to replace these firearms, there are still a few more decisions that have to be made about the components.
Perhaps the greatest tactile advantage of this new line of weaponry is the ability of the rifles to utilize 6.8mm ammunition at a performance level that will surpass weapons that use 5.56mm and 7.62mm ammunition.
This upgrade comes with the installment of modernized weapon systems. A series of prototypes will be tested to discern which weapon systems will eventually be used..
“The NGSW program significantly increases lethality and probability of hit at the squad level,” writes the USAASC on their website. “These weapon systems will give soldiers significant capability improvements in accuracy, range, signature management, and lethality.”
The U.S. military has used Winchester ammunition for well over a century. This new contract is the latest partnership between the two organizations.