The US Army has chosen Vortex Optics as the preferred bidder for the delivery of optics for a rifle it is yet to buy.
A contract announcement from the US Army Contracting Command said Sheltered Wings, a Vortex Optics subsidiary, was being contracted to deliver up to 250,000 fire control systems for the XM157 Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) it is currently procuring.
The service is still choosing between SIG Sauer, General Dynamics and AAI Textron for the delivery of the actual rifle.
For the optics contract, Vortex and Sheltered Wings won against L3 Harris, which was the other company awarded a contract for the prototype and evaluation phase.
The awarded contract for the NGSW fire control (FC) systems has a maximum ceiling value of $2.7 billion over a 10-year period, with an agreement minimum of $20 million.
The NGSW-FC system is a ruggedized fire control that increases accuracy and lethality for the close combat force, the US Army said.
Much more than simply an optic, the system will integrate a number of advanced technologies, including a variable magnification optic, backup etched reticle, laser rangefinder, ballistic calculator, atmospheric sensor suite, compass, intra-soldier wireless, visible and infrared aiming lasers, and a digital display overlay.
The NGSW-FC will serve as the fire control for the NGSW rifle and automatic rifle. It is also the planned replacement for the close combat optic, rifle combat optic, and machine gun optic within the close combat force (infantry, cavalry scouts and combat engineers).
The US Army NGSW effort is aiming to procure an NGSW rifle (NGSW-R) and an NGSW automatic rifle (NGSW-AR) with a common 6.8mm cartridge and fire control between the two systems. NGSW-R is expected to replace the M4A1 and the NGSW-AR as the planned replacement for the M249 squad automatic weapon.
The army says the 6.8mm projectile will outperform even the most modern 5.56mm and 7.62mm ammunition, and the weapon systems will provide soldiers with significant capability improvements in accuracy, range, signature management, and lethality.