The Army on Thursday released final details for its effort to find a new fire control capability for its future squad weapons, with plans to award up to two prototype contracts next April to deliver over 100 test systems.

Proposals for the Next-Generation Squad Weapon-Fire Control (NGSW-FC) program are due in early November and officials will begin accepting bid samples in January 2020 before holding a test event with soldiers to inform the contract award later that spring.

Army’s M249 Squad Automatic Weapon light machine gun

“These prototype OTAs will develop industry’s potential solutions [and] concepts through prototypes, user evaluation, and testing to ensure producible fire control systems that are safe, suitable, effective, and sustainable with a goal of delivering a production representative fire control system,” officials wrote in the notice.

NGSW-FC is intended to find a capability for the Army’s next-generation rifles that that increases soldiers’ ability to “rapidly engage man-sized targets out to 600 meters or greater while maintaining the ability to conduct close quarters battle.”

An draft prototype opportunity notice released in March detailed plans for the new fire control system to be used on both the NGSW-Rife, the Army’s M4A1 replacement, and the NGSW-AR, the successor to the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (Defense Daily, March 18).

Each prototype award is estimated to cover up to five years for system integration, test and evaluation, according to the Army.

The vendor prototyping period for NGSW-FC will run from the contract award next April through that December, and include two additional soldier touch points.

Beyond December 2020, the Army is expected to move into tests of fire control prototypes before releasing a production Request for Proposals in FY ’21.

NGSW-FC offerings are expected to cover the whole weapon-mounted fire control system, including soft cases, remotes, lens covers and mounting and alignment tools.

Officials have previously said the Army plans to award up to three companies prototype contracts to develop both NGSW-R and NGSW-AR, with initial bid offering tests to begin this summer.