Something that has flown under the radar is that the US Army has granted a novation from Next Generation Squad Weapons contender General Dynamics-OTS, makers of the Bullpup configuration guns, to Lone Star Future Weapons.
For those of you unfamiliar with the term, Novation means to transfer or substitute a new contract in place of an old one.
Upon request, I received the following statement regarding the action from Program Manager Soldier Lethality, Program Executive Office Soldier, which manages Product Manager Next Generation Weapons (PdM NGW).
“On 30 June 2021, Agreement W15QKN1991024, one of three Agreements supporting the Next Generation Squad Weapons Program for weapons and ammunition prototyping, was novated from: General Dynamics-OTS, Inc. to Lone Star Future Weapons (sic).”
An April press release form LoneStar and partner True Velocity announced a strategic partnership to leverage the two companies’ substantial expertise in R&D, precision manufacturing, quality control and production efficiency.
This is a significant event in the NGSW program. It means General Dynamics-OTS, Inc is out as the prime, along with production partner Beretta USA, and LoneStar Future Weapons along with ammunition partner True Velocity, is in. However, General Dynamics-OTS remains in an advisory role according to LTC Mark Owens (USA, Ret) who currently serves as the Chief Strategy Officer for True Velocity and Project Director at LoneStar Future Weapons whom I spoke with about the novation.
Owens said, “We are extremely excited to pursue the upcoming NGSW RFP. While General Dynamics has novated the contract to us, we will continue to work with their team to combine the best elements of a large company like GD, with the innovation and agility of Lone Star Future Weapons and True Velocity.”
Owens expanded on the significance of what they are doing, “Making something that has never existed before requires a lot of “different”. Different materials, different manufacturing processes, different weapon and ammunition geometries as well as different business relationships and constructs. Maintaining the status quo cannot provide our warfighters with compact, “fightable” weapon systems capable of defeating current and Next Generation threats. We are not different for the sake of being new. We are different in order to adapt to the rapidly changing battlefields of the future. Every piece of our weapon system componentry and ammunition combines the best of traditional technologies from battlefield proven systems with the most lethal, robust, compact and lightweight solutions available for a new, different, enhanced level of lethality.”
One of the big things for the team is that True Velocity has recently introduced commercial production of their composite ammunition in .308 WIN.
Hoping to see additional calibers in the future I asked Owens what might be in the wings and he mentioned a civilian 6.8 round for hunting. I explained that like most shooters, I don’t have any firearms which fire that caliber. He told me not to worry, that LoneStar would be introducing those as well to complement the ammo saying, “We also look forward to a commercial release of the 6.8 Rifle and ammunition for sporting purposes.” He went on to mention that they are working with industry partners to introduce firearms chambered for their 6.8 cartridge.
In addition to access to the NGSW firearm intellectual property, LoneStar is also moving forward with the GD-OTS Lightweight Medium Machine Gun design in 338 Norma Mag and is perusing the USSOCOM opportunity currently underway with SOFWERX. Owens concluded our discussion with, “In addition to the contract, IP for the NGSW R, AR, as well as for the .338 NM MG have conferred. We believe that these weapons will have an important place in both our Army and allied arsenals of the future.”
There’s a lot going on and it sounds like the NGSW novation is just the beginning for LoneStar Future Weapons and partner True Velocity.