Last month, the U.S. Army announced that it had selected Sig Sauer, Inc. to manufacture and deliver the two Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW), including the M5 rifle and the M250 automatic rifle, as well as the 6.8 common cartridge ammunition family. The prize was awarded following “a rigorous 27-month prototyping and evaluation effort” that included extensive technical testing.
The value of the initial delivery note on the the contract was for $20.4 million for weapons and ammunition that will undergo testing – while the army will eventually buy at least 107,000 M5 rifles to replace the M4/M4A1 carbine, while it will initially buy some 13,000 M250 automatic rifles to replace the automatic weapon M249 Squad (SAW). According to task and purposethe value of this contract would be around $4.7 billion, but as the M5 and M250 become the standard US military weapons, it will certainly result in far greater profits for New Hampshire-based Sig Sauer.
This could explain why another competitor in the NGSW competition, LoneStar Future Weapons, LLC, filed a complaint with the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) last week. The deadline for the protest is August 26, 2022. No further details were provided in the bid protest, and so far the US military, Sig Sauer, and even LoneStar Future Weapons have remained silent about it. .
The best gun?
The Sig Sauer design has been generally considered a evolutionary step forward. Based on the company’s MCX line of firearms, the overall design was deemed similar enough to legacy systems that soldiers did not need additional training.
LoneStar’s offering was considered much more radical as it featured a “bullpup” setup – where the magazine is behind the trigger control assembly – as well as an alternate barrel that could recoil with each shot fired to absorb the recoil. Additionally, the LoneStar weapons were designed to use 6.8mm composite ammunition made by True Velocity, which is said to be around 30% lighter than brass cartridges.
The story repeats itself
This is not the first time a gun maker has filed such a protest with the government against a US military award. In February 2017, Glock filed a similar complaint protest with the GAO after Sig Sauer was awarded a contract following the XM17 Modular Handgun System competition. The Army had announced in January of that year that it would replace the M9 Beretta, which had been the standard service sidearm for over 30 years, with the modified Sig Sauer P320.
Glock had challenged “the Army’s interpretation of the solicitation regarding the minimum number of contract awards required by the Request for Proposals (RFP)”. At the end, GAO rejected the challengeconcluding that the RFP allowed the Army to award only one award, although three were authorized under the terms of the proposal.
Today’s editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites. He writes regularly on military hardware and is the author of several books on military headgear, including A gallery of military hairstyles, which is available on Amazon.com. Peter is also a Contributing author for Forbes.