The contract is for the production of two Next Generation Squad Weapons, the XM5 Rifle and the XM250 Automatic Rifle as well as the 6.8 Common Cartridge Family of Ammunition.
According to the Army’s press release:
“The XM5 Rifle will replace the M4/M4A1 carbine within the close combat force, and the XM250 Automatic Rifle is the planned replacement for the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon
Both weapons provide significant capability improvements in accuracy, range and overall lethality. They are lightweight, fire more lethal ammunition, mitigate recoil, provide improved barrel performance, and include integrated muzzle sound and flash reduction.”
Prior to being awarded the contract, prototypes provided by Sig Sauer underwent extensive testing. Both the rifle, automatic rifle and ammunition were tested over a 27-month period.
The weapons will also feature the XM157 Fire Control optic, which is manufactured in Barneveld, Wisconsin by Sheltered Wings Inc., a part of Vortex Optics.
According to the Army Times, Sig Sauer beat out competitors Texron Systems and Lone Star Future Weapons for the contract.
In 2017, Sig Sauer was also awarded a handgun manufacturing contract with the Department of Defense worth over $580 million. The manufacturer was one of nine groups that submitted a bid for the contract that replaced the M9 manufactured by Beretta.
The XM5 and XM250 represent nothing less than transformative change for an Army that still uses the M16 series of weapons and the 5.56-millimeter cartridge.