Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milly said that the Army will be 100,000 weapons in its initial contract award for its Next-Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) program, which aims for a 10x capability upgrade on the Army’s current M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW).

Milly added that maybe the Army will get an opportunity to shoot sometime next summer on one of the prototypes being developed via Other Transaction Agreement contracts (OTAs) awarded in July to five companies:  AAI Corporation Textron Systems, FN America General Dynamics-OTS, PCP Tactical, and Sig Sauer.

Milly said that the program will be “pretty expensive” to get the capabilities that they want.

The specifics of the NGSW are vague—shooting 6.55mm caliber rounds further with a greater rate of fire—but Milly also said it will be able to penetrate any body armor that could be developed in the next 25 years at up to 600 meters, but did not give any more technical specifics, citing attention from adversaries.

“What I have seen so far from the engineers and the folks that put these things together, this is entirely technologically possible,” he said. “It’s a very good weapon.”

The service plans to start fielding the guns in FY 2022, according to Task and Purpose.

“The bottom line is we are committed to a new rifle and a new squad automatic weapon,” Milly said.