While the world focuses on the upcoming Next Generation Squad Weapons competition and coming contracts, the Army quietly moved to field Heckler & Koch rifles in the interim. The Army recently selected Heckler & Koch Defense to produce a squad designated marksman rifle in 7.62mm.
“It’s a bridge to next-generation capability,” said Col. Elliott Caggins, soldier lethality project manager at program executive office, according to nationaldefensemagazine.org.
Already fielded to a unit at 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss, Texas, HK will soon deliver up to 350 rifles per month, according to nationaldefensemagazine.org.
“These are examples of how we can use our own acquisition acumen and our own lessons learned and our own tools to produce capability pretty rapidly for the Army,” Caggins said.
Army Selects HK SDMR
Tactical Life reported in July that HK would provide 5,000-6,000 rifles to the Army. However, new information has since emerged. The Army will utilize SIG Sauer Tango6 optics, along with changing out the buttstock, reported nationaldefensemagazine.org
“That’s what the soldiers wanted,” Lt. Col. Peter Stambersky, product manager for individual weapons, told nationaldefensemagazine.org. “It was all about soldier touchpoint, what they felt was the best and what performed the best during our selection.”
Since the initial report, Army Special Operations reportedly showed interest in the SDMR. Meanwhile, the HK stands to serve the Army until the NGSW submission becomes a reality. Officials expect those rifles fielding somewhere around late 2022, according to nationaldefensemagazine.org.
“It depends on the next generation squad weapon timeline,” Caggins said. “The Army might keep SDMR in the formation. I don’t know.”
HK SDMR Features
The new HK rifle is a variant of the 7.62 G28/HK417. HK will manufacture the rifles in Oberndorf, Germany. Then the agreement calls for the company to import the arms to HK’s Columbus, Georgia facility beginning early next year. There, HK workers will install scopes and mounts purchased by the Army under a separate agreement, according to HK. Additionally, HK staff will kit the scoped rifles with additional accessories from 12 other U.S.-based manufacturers to round out the complete SDMR weapon system delivered to the Army. HK will also provide spare parts, support and training.