Vortex Gets Green Light for Army's Next Gen Squad Weapon Optic

Vortex’s entry to the Next Generation Squad Weapon-Fire Control (NGSW-FC) program, the 1-8x Active Reticle, a really cool looking FDE scope

Vortex’s entry to the Next Generation Squad Weapon-Fire Control (NGSW-FC) program is a 1-8x first focal plane optic with an integrated rangefinder and overlaid display. (Photos: Vortex)

Wisconsin-based Vortex Optics announced Monday they have entered into an agreement with the U.S. Army an agreement to deliver an optic for evaluation as a component of the service’s Next Generation Squad Weapon.

The contract between the Pentagon and Vortex is an Other Transaction Authority (OTA) agreement, an award type traditionally used to fund innovative prototype procurement and development of forward-looking technology. Vortex said in a statement they will provide the Army with production-ready prototypes for use in Soldier TouchPoint evaluations.

The optic at the center of the OTA is Vortex’s 1-8×30 Active Reticle Fire Control, which the veteran-owned company explains is, “built around a revolutionary technology based on many years of internal research and development, along with multiple cooperative development efforts with the Army’s PM-Soldier Weapons group.”

The Active Reticle has reportedly been proven to increase hit percentage and decrease time to engage during Soldier TouchPoints in the past two years. In the case of a battery power loss, users still have an uncompromised 1-8x direct-view optic and glass-etched reticle, which alone exceeds current optics.

Vortex's 1-8×30 Active Reticle Fire Control shown on an FN SCAR

Vortex’s 1-8×30 Active Reticle Fire Control shown on an FN SCAR

“By combining a unity power 1-8x direct view optic utilizing a first focal plane, etched reticle, a 1km capable laser rangefinder, state of the art on-board ballistic engine, atmospheric sensor suite, and programmable active matrix micro-display overlaid onto the first focal plane, Active Reticle delivers a true multi-mission fire control enabling everything from CQB to designated marksmanship at the extents of the NGSW’s effective range,” said Sam Hamilton, Chief Technical Officer at Vortex Optics.

Fundamentally, explained Hamilton, “End-users will no longer need to leave their field of view to consult separate rangefinders or ballistic calculators, slowing them down and compromising their situational awareness.”

The NGSW program has three different consortiums vying to produce weapons for evaluation by the Army with the intention to replace the M4 Carbine and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon systems in front-line service. The three competing designs are currently undergoing 27 months of testing. The Army plans to purchase 85,986 NGSW systems with an eye towards replacing guns in combat units first. Ultimately, the winner could stand to deliver 250,000 NGSWs and 150 million rounds of ammo plus options for further contracts.

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