It has been a while since we had news from the US Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapons program, the last updates we got were on the final prototype and ammunition deliveries being made for the next stage of the Army’s evaluations. Now some interesting news regarding General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems’ bullpup entry the RM277-R and RM227-AR. A new company, LoneStar Future Weapons will be taking the lead on the post-development phase of the weapon.

What does this mean? Well it seems, from the statement released via LoneStar and True Velocity, that the new company, established several months ago, will leverage the skills from the precession engineering sector. Composite-cased ammunition manufacturer True Velocity will continue to lead the ammunition side of the NGSW submission.

The RM277 rifle variant on display at the Beretta Defense Technologies booth, SHOT 2020 (Matthew Moss/TFB)

Reading between the lines and extrapolating from the press release it would seem that the technical data package for the RM277 has been transferred to LoneStar Future Weapons. This is supported by a ‘Patents‘ page on LoneStar’s website listing half a dozen designs, patented by GD-OTS. Intriguingly, these also include some linked the GD-OTS’ Lightweight Medium Machine Gun design.

Elsewhere it is noted that LoneStar and GD-OTS have “executed their Next Generation Squad Weapons post development phase strategy aimed at giving the best overall system to the warfighter with a strong next generation focus going forward throughput the life cycle.” LoneStar Future Weapons are described as a Texas-based company specialising in advanced technology with a focus on the manufacture of next-generation defense solutions.

LoneStar Future Weapon’s website included a rebranded version of the slick promo video released earlier by GD-OTS:

As yet there is no word from General Dynamics, who stated they could not comment on an ongoing open competition, or from Beretta who were previously linked with the GD-OTS led project as “providing Research & Development support and future high-volume manufacturing capabilities at its new Gallatin, TN.”

Here’s the press release from True Velocity:

GARLAND, TX (April 12, 2021) – Lonestar Future Weapons announced today a strategic
partnership with composite-cased ammunition manufacturer True Velocity to leverage the two companies’ substantial expertise in R&D, precision manufacturing, quality control and production efficiency.

The announcement also signals the execution of a post-development phase strategy by General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems and Lonestar Future Weapons in their bid for the U.S. Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) program, allowing the strategic partners to ensure the efficient fulfillment of the best overall weapon system to the warfighter.

Lonestar Future Weapons will assume the prime contractor role in the final stage of the NGSW weapons system submission, focused on manufacturing the advanced weapons required to meet or exceed all standards set forth by the U.S. Army. True Velocity will continue to serve as an ammunition subcontractor responsible for the provision of its advanced 6.8TVCM composite-cased cartridge. Together, Lonestar Future Weapons and True Velocity will develop additional next-generation weapons and ammunition solutions, targeting forthcoming force modernization contracts.

Lonestar Future Weapons is led by a team that includes third-generation American
manufacturers with deep experience in the aerospace and defense industries. Chief among them is Automatic Products Corporation, an AS9100:2015 Rev D-registered manufacturer of high-precision machined and assembled components. Established in 1957, APC operates out of a 118,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility in Garland, Texas.

“We are going to bring weapons systems to market that fire the most advanced, accurate and reliable ammunition available, and we’re going to build them here in America,” said Craig Etchegoyen, chairman of Lone Star Future Weapons. “Our speed-to-manufacturing and domestic production will undoubtedly enhance the growth of the defense industrial base in the U.S.”

“True Velocity composite-cased ammunition represents a paradigm shift in terms of what is possible with internal ballistics,” said Kevin Boscamp, chairman and CEO of True Velocity. “Our strategic partnership with Lone Star Future Weapons and APC to design and optimize future weapons around our ammunition represents an unprecedented advancement in defense innovation that provides our warfighters with an unfair advantage on the battlefield.”

Current production includes a semi-automatic rifle and an automatic rifle designed to shoot True Velocity’s proprietary 6.8mm composite-cased ammunition. Lone Star Future Weapons and True Velocity also plan to develop a lightweight medium machine gun, as well as commercially available products in the future.

We expect to find out the outcomes of the US Army’s NGSW system later this year. With three major submissions in the running from SIG Sauer and Textron alongside the now-LoneStar submission. It remains to be seen if the weapons well be selected from a single or multiple manufacturers in a mix and match approach.

You can find LoneStar Future Weapons’ website, here.

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