The top pretender for the M4 replacement, MARS Inc. and Cobalt Kinetics NGSW-R Carbine, is a hell of a rifle. The ongoing competition for the next Army M249 Squad Automatic Weapon and M4 carbine replacement has entered the next phase as Army revealed they have settled on three defense contractors. The final decision has yet to be made, but at least one other weapons manufacturer is hoping that a bit of consumer approval could help upset the competition.
Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapon program
Earlier this week, MARS Inc. and Cobalt Kinetics unveiled their newest futuristic gun designed especially for the Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapon program, a carbine, and light machine gun. The submission was presented on the heels of the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual expo in Washington, D.C., where General Dynamics-OTS, AAI Corporation Textron Systems, and Sig Sauer touted their official candidates.
But while General Dynamics, Textron, and Sig Sauer are all working closely with Army officials to incorporate all manner of, ahem, next-generation features into the system, Mars and Cobalt Kinetic are going a different route: they plan on making their NGSW submissions available for consumer purchase as early as next year.
“I can’t think of a better collaboration in this industry,” Mars president CEO Michael Merino told American Rifleman in a statement. “Our MARS rifle design, coupled with the innovative approach to rifle manufacturing of the Cobalt Kinetics team, has been incredible.
Civilian version to be available
Mars and Cobalt Kinetic’s official submission, which has been in the works since early 2019, purportedly meets all of the U.S. Army’s existing NGSW requirements. According to American Rifleman, that means the standard fire control and handling characteristics of the service’s current small arms, a magazine well capable of handling the Army’s new intermediate 6.8mm cartridge, and a new long-recoil system ripped from the Browning Auto-5 shotgun would be a most significant addition and innovation.
The rifle should become available in a civilian version in 2020. It will be interesting to see how it will implement new technologies and U.S. Army requirements.