The U.S. Army says, at least at present, it is only considering doling out new squad automatic weapons to front-line or “close-combat” units, while rear echelon elements would continue to use their existing M249 Squad Automatic Weapons for the foreseeable future. This comes soon after the service announced it had picked five companies to supply prototype designs, one of which could begin entering service as early as 2022.
Military.com was first to report the new details about which soldiers might get the guns after an interview with U.S. Army Lieutenant General Paul Ostrowski, the Principal Military Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, earlier in July 2018. The service announced it had awarded developmental contracts to Textron System’s AAI Corporation division, FN America, General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, PCP Tactical, and Sig Sauer as part of what it officially calls the Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle (NGSAR) program on June 25, 2017. This notice on FedBizOpps, the U.S. government’s main contracting website, did not say what weapons each of these firms would submit.