The GD RM277 assault rifle is being developed by a consortium of companies, led by American industrial giant General Dynamics for the NGSW-R “Next Generation Squad Weapon – Rifle” program, funded by US Army. Besides GD, which acts as a system integrator and project leader, consortium also includes Beretta USA, which is responsible for the weapon itself, and True Velocity, which is responsible for new ammunition.
Highly ambitious NGSW program is intended to equip American infantrymen with new rifle and squad automatic weapon / light machine gun, both firing new, high-performance ammunition. Ultimate goal is to deliver squad small arms system, capable to defeat modern body armor at extended ranges and produce improved lethality, compared to existing 5.56mm small arms system. Requirements for NGSW program call for an entirely new cartridge, firing government-designed bullet with caliber of 6.8mm and weight or about 135 grains / 8.8 grams, with muzzle velocities of about 3000 fps / 915 m/s or even faster. These requirements, especially from a relatively short assault rifle barrel, call for very high bore pressures, which in turn would result in powerful muzzle blast and significant felt recoil. As a result, special type of sound suppressor is a must for these weapons, to help to attenuate “magnum” level muzzle blast and tame recoil.
Current plans call for NGSW program winner to be announced by 2022, but with previous similar programs like SPIW, ACR or OICW in mind we shall wait and see for the results. At the present time all NGSW contenders, including GD RM277 assault rifle, as well as SIG MCX Spear and AAI / Textron NGSW-R, are still in prototype form.
Since particulars of the cartridge design are left out to contenders, consortium led by GD is intended to offer a unique composite cartridge, designed by True Velocity and loaded by a government-designed 6.8mm projectile. Exact specifications of the new round are not known yet, and might change during the course of development, but as of late 2019 it features “neckless” polymer case about 47 mm long, with steel base molded in at the rear. Bullet is deeply seated in the case, which apparently has thick upper part to provide sort of “internal” neck for proper positioning of the projectile.
General Dynamics / Beretta GD RM277 assault rifle is an indigenous weapon of bullpup design. Particulars of its inner workings are not yet known, but it is believed that rifle uses more or less conventional gas operated action, and its barrel and inner receiver are allowed to recoil inside the outer housing against a special buffer to decrease peak recoil. Gun is fired from closed bolt in single shots, and from open bolt in full automatic, to improve barrel cooling and avoid cook-offs. Ammunition is fed from 20-round box magazines, made from plastic, and barrel is normally fitted with specially designed stubby sound suppressor. It appears that ejection ports are provided on both sides of the gun, so it can be set for right- or left-hand side ejection. Safety / fire selector switch is ambidextrous and located above the pistol grip. Charging handle can be set on either side of the gun. All sights are installed using integrated Picatinny rail located on the top of receiver.
|Barrel length, mm||?|
|Rate of fire, rounds/minute||?|
|Magazine capacity, rounds||20|