A new Army assault rifle will tear through any body armor with the pressure of a battle tank, strike from unprecedented ranges, and withstand the rigors of weather, terrain and soldier use, Army Chief of Staff. Gen. Mark Milley told The Military Times.
The new 6.8mm rifles, which are expected to be in use by 2022, will offer major improvements in capabilities over the decades-old M16 and M4 weapons, the Army claims.
The “Next Generation Squad Weapon program,” is an Army initiative but has had input from Marines and special operations forces, according to The Times. Milley has described it as “better than any weapon on earth today, by far,” and a “pretty impressive gun.”
The so-called Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle (NGSAR) will “weigh less, shoot farther, and pack more punch than the service’s existing infantry weapons,” Col. Geoffrey A. Norman told Task & Purpose.
The goal, Norman said, is to equip soldiers with rifles that fire “a small bullet at the pressure equivalent to what a tank would fire.”
Norman cited the Army’s shift from the urban environments of Iraq and Syria to the open terrain of Afghanistan and “near-peer threats like Russia.”
“For the past 10 or 15 years, we’ve been really focused on the requirement of lethal effects against unprotected targets,” Norman said. “Now we’re looking at near-peer threats like Russia and others. We need to have lethal effects against protected targets and we need to have requirements for long-range lethality in places like Afghanistan, where you’re fighting from mountaintop to mountaintop over extended ranges.”
The upgrades in soldiers’ weaponry will necessarily require changes in training, Army spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Ophardt told The Times.