Gone are the days of the M4 and M16. They have served their time, and now the military is putting them to bed. But not so fast. Manufacturing for the new systems hasn’t begun just yet, and my guess is we are still a year or two out until we start seeing the new bad boys in our arms rooms.

The Army expects the first unit to be equipped in Fiscal Year 2022.

To replace the M4 and M16, three weapon and ammunition vendors and two fire control vendors are competing through FY21 in two separate prototyping efforts, with the option to produce and field their offerings based on system performance. Those vying for the job are Sig Sauer, General Dynamics, and Textron Systems, all of which have made prototypes that are pending soldier feedback.

The Next Generation Squad Weapons (NGSW) Program is a future prototyping effort, using Middle Tier Acquisition Authority, to develop and create operationally relevant, squad-level lethality in order to combat increasing threats. The program is informed by soldiers’ feedback.