A Chronology of Development by Daniel E. Watters
IMI supplies 350-400 Tavor to India’s Special Frontier Force (SFF). The transaction is estimated to be worth around $1.5 million. These rifles are eventually declared to be “operationally unsatisfactory” for various problems.
The Saudi Arabian National Guard adopts the FN F2000. 55,000 rifles are purchased via the US. 3,600 of the rifles are equipped with 40mm grenade launchers.
The Mexican Military Industry Technology Research and Development Center (CIADTIM) begin a 16 month effort to develop a new 5.56mm military rifle. The project is overseen by General Alfredo Oropeza Garnicia and Brigadier Jose Antonio Íztiga Landeros.
General Dynamics European Land Combat Systems and HK announce the creation of a US-based joint venture company to manufacture and deliver the XM8.
TACOM issues a solicitation for 3,000 to 150,000 M16A4.
TACOM awards a $46,060 delivery order to Colt for 47 M4.
Natec, Inc.’s Nabil Husseini and David E. Byron receive US Patent #6,845,716 titled “Ammunition articles with plastic components and method of making ammunition articles with plastic components.”
HK‘s Ernst Wössner and Heinz Matt file an US patent application for the detachable barrel system for the MG4.
TACOM awards a $4,757,000 delivery order to Aimpoint for 17,750 M68. An additional delivery order worth $2,532,600 is awarded later in the month for an additional 9,450 M68.
NSWC-Crane issues a sources-sought announcement for a Lightweight Machine Gun Signature Suppressor (LMGSS) System for the Mk 46 Mod 0 and Mk 48 Mod 0 LMG. The goal is to supply a coordinated modular family of complementary flash/sound suppressors. LMGSS System configurations are desired to support the Mk 46, the Mk 48 and/or a combination of both weapons. The LMGSS will correct the current operational shortfall of sound suppressors that are optimized for use with current Mk 46 and Mk 48 LMG. Sought are improvements in suppressor designs to lessen effects on the host weapon’s rate of fire, and eliminate or reduce heat retention, along with visual and auditory cues. Desired are improved materials, manufacturing processes, high endurance coatings, and other new technologies which can provide extended performance sound suppressor life to 15,000 – 25,000 rounds under various firing schedules.
TACOM–ARDEC issues a sources-sought announcement for COTS/NDI flash, blast, and sound suppressors for the US Army’s M9 and M11 Pistols, M4 Carbine, M16A4 Rifle, M249 SAW, M240B Machine Gun, and the M2 Machine Gun. Potential contractors must be able to produce a minimum of 60 systems per month, per weapon with a production surge capability of no less than 90 systems per month, per weapon. The suppressors must be able to reduce the baseline signatures of the weapon systems without adversely affecting or degrading weapon performance, accuracy, functionality, recoil, safety, and reliability. It must also be modular enough to be easily installed and removed by the operator without the use of special tools not readily available to the operator. Product information and samples should include, but not be limited to, drop-in barrels (if applicable), sound suppressors, suppressor compatible muzzle brakes, and/or flash suppressors that allow for non-suppressed weapon firing.
RDECOM–ARDEC issues a sources-sought announcement for a COTS/NDI Magnified Optical Sight (MOS) for the M4, M16, and M249. The MOS must meet or exceed the following requirements: 1) The MOS shall be illuminated (unpowered or powered, unpowered preferred) and shall be effective in day and night situations; 2) The MOS shall provide a capability to estimate range and effectively recognize and engage targets from 0 to 600 meters during the day and 0 to 300 meters at night (when coupled with the AN/PVS 7 or AN/PVS 14); 3) The MOS must provide the capability to acquire targets using one and/or with both eyes open for rapid target acquisition and allow for rapid transition between long-range and close quarters engagements; 4) The MOS must allow for rough handling, and shall be able to be carried by the optic’s body; 5) The MOS shall be able to maintain zero during operational modes in all environmental; and 6) The MOS shall contain a Laser Filter Unit or be compatible to be fitted with a Laser eye protection filter. The quantity required by the government is estimated to be 100,000.
ARDEC awards a $2,729,497.10 contract to Best Tool and Manufacturing Co. for M249 Improved Bipods.
MARCORSYSCOM PM-Training Systems (PMTRASYS) issues a sole-source solicitation to SNC Technologies for Special Effects Small Arms Marking Simulation (SESAMS) kits. The potential contract is worth up to $25,000,000.
ACA-Fort Carson issues a solicitation for 1200 M16 Right Hand Swift Slings, 600 M16 Left Hand Swift Slings, and 1200 M4 Ambidextrous Swift Slings. Later in the month the solicitation is cancelled.
RDECOM–ARDEC‘s Armaments Engineering & Technology Center (AETC), Weapon Systems & Technology Directorate issues a Broad Agency Announcement for a nonlethal projectile for use with the M203. The projectile will provide an electrical area stun effect to temporarily incapacitate a small group of belligerents out to a range of 100 meters. The projectile will derive its electrical energy from launch using conventional propellant, through the use of energy storage, or energy generation within the projectile. The projectile would not be tethered to the launching platform as in current versions of electrical incapacitation devices. The preferred launch platform is the 40mm M203 grenade launcher but other standard platforms (e.g., 12 gauge shotgun, etc.) will be considered.
At FN Herstal in Belgium, USSOCOM representatives conduct the second critical design review for the SCAR. Two improved SCAR-L variants are tested (CQC and Standard, with the EGLM) along with the modified SCAR-H (CQC) prototype. The following aspects of design and testing are discussed:
- A new pistol grip that improves the ergonomic fit
- A front sight post with folding and locking options
- Gas regulator settings
- Barrel mounting screws
- Stock adjustment controls
- Rear sight adjustments
- Modular butt plate features
- SCAR-H testing data
- Suppressor integration
- EGLM ergonomic decisions
- EGLM Fire Control System (FCS) decisions
Colt buys Diemaco for $16.5 million. Diemaco will be operated as Colt Canada Corporation.
During a review of the OICW Increment I analysis of alternatives, the Study Advisory Group, chaired by the Deputy Under Secretary of the Army (Operations Research) Walter W. Hollis, requests that:
- TRADOC further develop the qualitative analysis for the family of weapons Key Performance Parameters (KPP);
- PEO-Soldier clarify how to mount the Multi-Purpose Sighting System (MPSS) on existing M4 carbines;
- TRADOC Analysis Center (TRAC), the Office of the Army Deputy Chief of Staff (G-8), and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Cost and Economics) – DASA(CE) to revise the cost analysis and the follow-on affordability assessment; and
- PM-Soldier Weapons update the cost and affordability analyses for existing weapons.
TACOM awards a $9,009,140 delivery order to Colt for 9,193 M4 Carbines.
PM-Maneuver Ammunition Systems announces its plans to research and select an optimum “green” 5.56mm cartridge that meets performance requirements and is affordable.
TACOM issues separate solicitations for M249 cartridge receivers and monoblock barrels. Of note is that the solicitations are limited to not only FN Manufacturing, but to Colt and General Dynamics (Saco) as well.
TACOM–ARDEC awards Savit Corporation a $1,236,668.98 contract for M249 Collapsible Buttstock Assemblies. This covers an initial order of 3,920 buttstocks with two additional options of 1,000-4,000 each. The buttstocks will allow for the use of the standard hydraulic buffer while giving the user the ability to adjust the stock’s length of pull.
TACOM awards $35,046,199.41 of a $47,530,000 contract to KAC for MWS components and assorted spares. Later in the month, additional delivery orders are awarded: $1,261,360 for 4,000 M5 RAS for the USMC, $317,437.48 for 234 M4 RAS and 773 M5 RAS for the Army, and $6,650 for spare parts.
TACOM announces a sole-source solicitation to FN Manufacturing for a minimum of 3,000 M249 Short Barrels. TACOM also awards FN Manufacturing a $6,915,141 contract option for 15,300 M249 Short Barrels.
TACOM issues a sole-source solicitation to Polymer Technologies for 18,333 M249 100 Round Soft Pack Magazines. Later in the month, TACOM issues another sole-source solicitation to Polymer Technologies for another 63,333 M249 100 Round Soft Pack Magazines. In addition, TACOM issues an open solicitation for 15,000 to 300,000 M249 100 Round Soft Pack Magazines.
- Multiple-Magazine Holders that clamp two magazines together
- Low Profile Bipods (Harris Bipods’ Model # BR-S: Bench Rest Swivel Series or equivalent)
- Tactical Slings
- Spray-on, Removable, Weapon Camouflage Kits (Hunter Specialties’ Camo Model No. 00462: 5-Can Bow-Flage Spray Paint Kit or equivalent)
- Forward Rail Brackets for M4 and M16 not equipped with the RAS
- Magazine Pouches suitable for attachment to M4 and M16 buttstocks
- Compact Cleaning Kits (Otis Technology Inc.’s ULT KIT 640-16 or equivalent)
The potential contract awards for each item range from 65 to 40,065. The contractors must be able to sustain a delivery schedule of 833 items per month for each product.
RDECOM, on behalf of the US Army and USMC, issues a sources-sought announcement for COTS/NDI Multi-Functional Aiming Lights (MFAL). The Multi-Functional Aiming Light (MFAL) will give the Soldier/Marine the capability to employ an IR aiming laser/pointer and IR illuminator in a small, lightweight aiming light that is weapon-mounted or hand-held. Desired, but not required, capabilities are a visible aiming laser and/or white light illuminator. When weapon-mounted, MFAL will provide the Soldier/Marine a capability to accurately aim his weapon during periods of darkness when used in conjunction with an image intensification device such as the AN/PVS-7 or the AN/PVS-14. The MFAL will be employed with the following weapons: M16A1/A2/A4, M4/M4A1, modular weapons, M240B, and M249 (threshold), M136, M203, MK19 and M2 (objective), and must be able to mount on a MIL-STD-1913 rail using an interface device. The IR aiming laser/pointer will have a range of 600m in clear, quarter moon conditions (threshold), 2,000m (objective). The IR illuminator will have a range of 600m in clear, quarter moon conditions (threshold), 2,000m (objective) and illuminate a darkened room. If proposed, the visible aiming laser should be visible with the naked eye and have a minimum range of 25m in daylight (with daylight defined as that time between sunrise and sunset, but not in direct sunlight). If proposed, the desired white light illuminator should provide facial recognition at a range of 25m. Each laser will have a Non-Ocular Hazard Distance (NOHD) of 25m in low power for the unaided eye.
TACOM issues a sources-sought notice to find manufactures willing to produce the M203, M203A1, and M203A2. From 1 to 2,500 launchers of each type may be ordered.
IMI‘s Small Arms Division is sold to a private investor for ~$3 million. The resulting company is renamed Israel Weapons Industries (IWI).
HK settles with Colt over the M4-related lawsuit. No money is exchanged as part of the settlement.
ARDEC, on behalf of the PM-Soldier Weapons, issues a solicitation for the OICW Increment I family of weapons. The OICW Increment I family of weapons is intended to replace current weapon systems to include the M4, M16, M249 and selected M9 pistols for the active Army. This solicitation contains a restatement of the criteria laid out in the November 2004 Sources-Sought notice for a 5.56mm Modular Weapon System family. Competitors will need to submit four examples of each category for a total of 16 weapons. After satisfying a Milestone C decision, Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) quantities of up to 4,900 weapons will be produced. Afterwards, multiple Full Rate Production (FRP) options may be award for up to 134,500 weapons total.
TACOM awards Colt a $787,538.77 contract for 700 M4 R0921 carbines, 3,500 spare magazines, and assorted spare parts. These are intended for the 10th Special Forces Group.
TACOM awards a $9,611,364 delivery order to Colt for 9,816 M4 Carbines. These are intended for the USMC and USAF. Later in the month, a $999,232 delivery order is awarded for 887 M4 and 200 M4A1 Carbines. Once again, the majority of these are intended for the USAF and USMC.
Picatinny awards a contract modification to ATK to design, build, and deliver two target-acquisition and fire-control system interfaces and a separate battery mount for the XM8, and to further develop the XM25.
ARDEC awards AAI $6.5 million of a potential $23.9 million contract for Phase II and III of the LMGA development program. During Phase I, AAI developed virtual prototypes for the weapon and ammunition. Phase II is a 28 month effort to develop, fabricate, and test these technologies. The Phase III will culminate in a demonstration of the fully integrated weapon system by late 2007. AAI’s LMGA team includes: ARES, ATK, Battelle Memorial Institute, Omega Training Group, Inc., and St. Marks Powder.
Malaysia’s National Aerospace and Defence Industries Bhd. withdraws from its joint venture with Steyr Mannlicher to produce the AUG A3.
The Philippine Armed Forces puts on hold the contract for 1,739 FN Minimi. The local press has alleged that the military is being overcharged P150,511.20 (US $2,687.70) per weapon. This comparison is based upon US military contract prices for the M249. Military and FN representatives explain the price difference as due to the order of accessories and shipping costs.
The British MOD announces the purchase of more than 1,500 HK MP7 for the MOD Police, who provide armed security for military installations across the UK. The MP7 will replace the 9mm L9A1 pistol and the L85A1 rifle. The contract is worth approximately £3.4 million.
TACOM awards Center Industries a $10,624,500 contract option for the production of 1,350,000 M16 thirty round magazines.
NSWC-Crane awards individual contracts worth up to $16,666,666 apiece to ARMS, Daniel Defense, and KAC for the RIS II. Up to 92,877 RIS II apiece will be acquired from each company. Delivery Order 1 is for 5 Engineering Test samples and 10 additional for Operational Testing. These are the only quantities the US Navy is obligated to buy from any one vendor. (Daniel Defense ultimately wins the final downselect in 2006.)
Fleet and Industrial Supply Center-San Diego (FISCSD), on behalf of the Navy’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group One, issues a presolicitation notice for 104 Carbine M4 Extended Length handguards. The preferred design is a two piece chassis that mounts piggyback to flattop upper receivers and fits around fixed M4 front sight towers. The model must be tan in color. The handguards must accept detachable MIL-STD-1913 rails and to be equipped with two 4-inch rails, two 2-inch rails, and one 6-inch rail. In a separate presolicitation notice, EOD Group One also desires 56 tan forward vertical handgrips with self contained bipods for attachment to Picatinny rail mounts.
TACOM awards a $5,784,600 contract modification to Okay Industries for 930,000 M16 thirty round magazines.
NSWC-Dalhgren, on behalf of the USMC and USSOCOM, issues a solicitation for NDI 40mm Infrared (IR) Luminescent Parachute Flares and 40mm Visual Parachute Flares. These will be used in the M203s, M79, and EGLM.
HK‘s Johannes Murello files an US patent application for an alternative locking system for the XM25/XM29.
At FN Herstal in Belgium, USSOCOM representatives conduct the third critical design review for the SCAR. FN displays several improvements to the existing platform, including a SCAR variant in the “flat dark earth” color representation, an anodized aluminum upper receiver rail colored in “flat dark earth,” a polymer lower receiver version, and a concept model of the EGLM. As in the previous Critical Design Reviews, FN provides SCAR rifles in various configurations including a 20″ barreled SCAR-H. The following aspects of design and testing are discussed:
- “Flat dark earth” color representation
- Barrel change with no torque requirement
- Polymer Lower and Side Rails durability testing
- Reliability of SCAR-L and SCAR-H
- Blank Firing Adaptor
- Force on Force training accessories
- Vertical Foregrip/Bipod issues
- EGLM Status
- EGLM Fire Control Status
- EGLM Trigger configurations
- Trigger pull weight and crispness
- Sniper variant issues
- SCAR operators manual
The draft Capability Development Document for the Infantry Automatic Rifle (IAR) is published.
Air Force Special Operations Command issues a solicitation for 60 EOTech Holosights (550 Military Model.)
RDECOM, on behalf of the US Army and USMC, reissues a sources-sought announcement for COTS/NDI Multi-Functional Aiming Lights (MFAL). It repeats the requirements from the February 2005 announcement, and adds the following: The MFAL aiming lasers shall retain a zero position within 0.5 mrad after being subjected to the shock of one combat load (210 rounds/M855 ammunition) of the M4/M16 rifle. The MFAL must have dual activation controls: an on/off switch which shall be located on the device housing and a wired remote control switch which shall momentarily activate each of the functions (i.e., IR aiming mode and IR illuminator mode.) The device will weigh no more than 10 ounces with batteries installed (threshold), 8 ounces (objective). The Government may award one or more, contracts for 2,000 to 340,000 MFAL.
Magpul’s Richard Fitzpatrick and Stephen Hines receive US Patent #6,874,267 titled “Modular Gunstock.”
Colt’s Vincent P. Battaglia files a patent application for handguards with accessory mounts placed 45 degrees on either side of vertical.
ATK delivers the first six XM25 Advanced Airburst Weapon Systems to the US Army for field testing.
PEO-Soldier issues a memorandum to the Army Acquisition Executive ASA(ALT) Bolton requesting that he designate the milestone decision authority for 376 programs on the PEO-Soldier Oversight List, including OICW Increments I, II, and III. The Oversight List showed PEO-Soldier as the milestone decision authority for OICW Increments I and II and the Army Acquisition Executive as the milestone decision authority for OICW Increment III.
USMC Ground Board 1-05 convenes to validate the draft POM-08 GCE ACL. Prioritized in first place is Individual Marine Equipment, which includes the Modular Weapon System and sensor fusion night vision devices. Among the Category ‘B’ issues (critical for POM-08) is an under-the-barrel shotgun for breaching. Among the Category ‘C’ issues (valid for POM-08) are the FN SCAR and enhanced sighting devices for the M203.
The final OICW Increment One solicitation document is released, and the closing date for submissions is pushed back to November 2005.
Projected production figures for OICW-I are as follows:
|Phase||Special Compact||Carbine||Designated Marksman||Light Machine Gun||Total|
|System Development and Demonstration||70||109||76||65||320|
|Low Rate Initial Production (Option 1)||780-980||1,760-1960||780-980||780-980||4,100-4,900|
|Production Qualification Testing/Operational Testing||30||36||36||30||132|
|Full Rate Production||20,410-26,410||40,810-52,810||20,410-26,410||20,410-26,410||102,040-132,040|
The DODIG sends a memorandum to ASA(ALT) Bolton suggesting that he suspend the OICW Increment I RFP until the OICW Program completes the required program documentation, determines the appropriate Acquisition Category (ACAT), and resolves weaknesses in the OICW ORD.
HK‘s Johannes Murello, Wilhelm Fischbach, Thomas Schweikart, and Alexander Stumpp file an US patent application for the cosmetic design of the XM8 Special Compact.
Colt files another lawsuit in Federal District Court against Bushmaster claiming patent infringement. This claim is based on information obtained through discovery in their earlier lawsuit.
NSWC-Crane issues a solicitation for 1,894,200 to 95,238,080 rounds of Mk 262 Mod 1 ammunition.
FN Manufacturing’s Greg Livermore and ARDEC‘s Lucian Sadowski release the report “Barrel Weight Reduction.” Ten Mk 46 Mod 0 barrels were full-length lined with Stellite 21, the exterior profile further lightened, and then plated throughout with UltraCem Nickel-Boride. The prototype barrels achieve an 11 percent decrease in weight versus the standard Mk 46 barrel, and a 48 percent decrease versus a standard M249 barrel.
ATK‘s Brian Tasson and ARDEC‘s Lucian Sadowski release the report “Aluminum Cartridge Case Concept.” By switching from brass cases to aluminum, a M249 gunner’s basic load of 600 rounds could be reduced by 26.8 percent in weight. The report describes the design of the cartridge case, the finite element analysis, the quality functional deployment analysis, the manufacturing of over 2,500 cases using production methods, and the results of the ballistic testing of the 5.56mm aluminum cartridge cases. The tradeoff for the reduced weight is increased cost due to the extra coatings required to prevent corrosion and burn-through.
Frontier Performance Polymers’ Jerry S. Chung and ARDEC‘s Lucian Sadowski release the report “Alternative Cartridge Case Material and Design.” Frontier addressed novel ways of designing a lightweight polymer cartridge case. Frontier designed several plastic cartridge cases, conducted finite element analysis, addressed the high heat of the chamber, and the material properties of polymers in its designs of the 5.56mm cartridge case.
Knox Engineering Company’s George L. Reynolds and ARDEC‘s Lucian Sadowski release the report “Enhanced Propellant and Alternative Cartridge Case Designs.” The use of global enhanced propellants in the Global Manufacturing Solutions/Knox Engineering Company (KEC) “high efficiency cartridge” gives M855 equivalent performance in a smaller cartridge case all while using shorter barrel lengths. The “high efficiency cartridge” weighs 28.5 percent less than the M855 and occupying 49.8 percent less volume. The use of the enhanced propellant also results in a 75 percent reduction in barrel heating, permitting the design of a significantly lighter barrel capable of sustaining the current firing schedule. Plastic belt links are recommended for a total weight loss of 39.55 percent and volume reduction of 52 percent versus a M249 gunner’s basic load of 600 M855 in M27 links.
Steyr Mannlicher announces its intent to sue Malaysia’s National Aerospace and Defence Industries Bhd. for withdrawing from its joint venture to produce the AUG A3.
FN Manufacturing’s Timothy D. Giauque, Gregory D. Livermore, and Tonny Kaempe file a patent application for a adjustable buttstock. The patent drawings show it attached to a Minimi variant, but the application notes that the design is not limited to this application.
MARCORSYSCOM‘s Infantry Weapons Product Group issues a sources-sought notice for 3rd Generation (or higher) Night Sights that are smaller, lighter, and better performing than the issue AN/PVS-4 Individual Night Sight. Separate versions for individual weapons and crew-served weapons are envisioned; however, one device with dual fields of view and/or adjustable magnification will be considered. The technology sought is not limited to image intensified devices only. The individual sight shall allow recognition and engagement of standing man-sized targets out to 500 meters (800m desired) with a 15 degree field of view desired. The crew-served sight shall allow recognition and engagement of standing man-sized targets out to 1100 meters (1700m desired) with an 8 degree field of view desired. The new sight should: weigh less than 4.0 pounds with batteries; have a MTBF greater than 2,000 hours; mount on a MIL-STD-1913 rail; use currently available military or commercial batteries (AA preferred); and possess internal reticule adjustments for azimuth and elevation with a BDC reticule desired. It should be compatible and not interfere with the AN/PEQ-2A or AN/PAQ-4C when mounted on the M4 Carbine, M16A2, or M16A4 Rifle. In addition, it should be capable of use with the M249 (including Para SAW), and the M240G and M240B Medium Machine Guns.
The USMC awards EOTech a $373,380 contract.
MARCORSYSCOM‘s Infantry Weapons Systems, Program Manager-Optics and Non-Lethal Systems issues a presolicitation notice for 100,000 to 500,000 Rifle Combat Optic II (RCO II) for the M16A4 and M16A2 service rifles, and the M4 carbine. According to the draft specifications, the RCO II will be a fixed 4x magnification optic, weighing no more than two pounds (one pound desired), and no longer than 10 inches (six inches desired). The RCO II will use a chevron aim point in an illuminated, range finding, ballistic drop compensating reticule pattern. The reticule must be capable of illumination in all conditions without the use of batteries. There will be different versions calibrated to match the individual ballistic characteristics of the rifle and the carbine. The M16A4 and M4 versions will mount via the MIL-STD-1913 rail, while the M16A2 version will have a special mount for the rifle’s carrying handle.
ACA-Fort McPherson issues a sole-source solicitation to SNC Technologies for 45 each of M4 flattop and M16A2 conversion kits, 90 M16/M4 conversion kit magazines, FX marking cartridges, and protective gear.
Eric S. Kincel files another patent application for the design of the Vltor Mod Stock.
TACOM awards a $12,740 delivery order to Colt for 13 M4.
Colt’s Paul Hochstrate, Laurance Robbins, and Arthur F. Daigle file a patent application for a modular M4 type firearm with a monolithic upper receiver and interchangeable magazine wells.
TACOM–ARDEC conducts a market survey to identify potential sources for supplying engineering services, facilities, supplies, materials, and testing for the M249 and M240. This support effort applies to all fielded, warehoused, and in-process M249, M240, and related peripheral equipment (such as mounting platforms and other ancillary items), and related engineering studies as required by task orders for the M249 and M240 systems. This shall include design, system modeling, technical analysis, fabrication of prototype components, and logistic support. These tasks include, but are not limited to: investigating and developing solutions for reported performance and interface problems, fabrication of prototype tooling, alternative material investigations, and elimination of known hazardous processes and materials.
RDECOM–ARDEC issues a solicitation for engineering support for the OICW Increment I and Increment II programs. The contractor will represent the PM-Individual Weapons in preparation of the programs entering Milestones B, C, and FRP. Efforts will include acting as a liaison with government agencies such as Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Cost and Economics) – ODASA(CE) and TRADOC Analysis Center (TRAC). The contractor will also be an active participant as required for Milestones B and C reviews, i.e., Cost Review Board (CRB) working groups and Analysis of Alternatives (AOA) development sessions. The contractor will review, revise, and provide comments for discussion of all milestones and analyze documentation as an independent evaluator.
TACOM issues an open solicitation for the procurement of 4,500 to 9,000 M5 Collapsible Buttstocks for the M249.
TACOM reissues its February 2005 solicitation for 100 round Soft Pack Magazines for the M249. The maximum quantity is increased from 300,000 to 600,000.
TACOM issues a presolicitation notice for the procurement of M203.
PM-Individual Weapons issues a sources-sought notice for the execution of the System Development and Demonstration (SDD), and Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Phases of the OICW Increment II Airburst Weapon System. The notice appears to be opening up the procurement of the OICW Increment II to a full and open competition.
OICW Program Office updates the draft XM25 acquisition plan.
ARDEC increases the XM320 contract award by $2,212.50 to fund 30 tritium-equipped mechanical sights.
ASA(ALT) Bolton states that the Study Advisory Group supports a System Development and Demonstration (SDD) decision for OICW Increment I, and that he anticipates a formal analysis of alternatives in September 2005. Assistant Secretary Bolton further states that the OICW Program should be designated as an ACAT I, based on the result of meetings with the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics. Specifically, it was determined that the program was of sufficient size to be an ACAT I program and had the potential for use by other Military Departments. Assistant Secretary Bolton anticipates that the OSD will publish guidance concerning the ACAT I designation after the analysis of alternatives is signed and available for review.
Upon the instruction of ASA(ALT) Bolton, ARDEC suspends the OICW Increment I solicitation in order to incorporate joint service requirements. It is predicted that the RFP will remain suspended until the Joint Requirements Oversight Committee (JROC) can convene, which is currently scheduled for early September. The RFP will then be amended with any new joint OICW-1 requirements.
MARCORSYSCOM issues a sources-sought notice for a NDI 5.56mm Infantry Automatic Rifle (IAR). The IAR will replace the M249 with an automatic rifle easily operable by a single Marine. The design will emphasize light weight and portability in order to maximize dismounted maneuverability. The IAR (excluding the magazine and accessories) must weigh less than 12.5 pounds empty (Threshold), 10.5 pounds (Objective). The IAR will fire 5.56 mm ammunition with a sustained rate of fire of 36 rounds per minute (Threshold), 75 rounds per minute (Objective). (Sustained rate is defined as the rate at which a weapon can fire indefinitely without experiencing a major malfunction such as [but not limited to] a cook-off or a significant degradation in accuracy.) The weapon will be capable of both semi-automatic and full automatic firing. The IAR will use a 100 rounds magazine (Threshold), which will permit rapid visual determination of the number of rounds remaining (Objective). However, the weapon must accept, and function with, the standard M16A4 30 round magazine. The IAR must also possess a robust, detachable, collapsible, and adjustable bipod.
TACOM issues a sole-source solicitation to Colt for 50,881 M4 Carbines.
TACOM awards Colt a $4,033,475 delivery order for 2,954 M4 and 135 M4A1 for the USMC and an additional 1,025 for FMS. Later, an additional delivery order worth $1,047,922 is awarded for 1,064 M4 and 6 M4A1 for the USAF, USMC, and a FMS to Nepal.
FISCSD, on behalf of the Navy’s EOD Group One, issues a sole-source solicitation to Magpul for coyote brown carbine stocks, 296 double HK style snap rings, and 516 coyote brown MIAD modular grips with 123 lithium and AA/AAA battery cores, and enhanced aluminum trigger guards. (Separately, at a later date, EOD Group Two also adopts the Magpul M93B stock.)
FISCSD, on behalf of the Navy’s EOD Group One, issues a sole-source solicitation to Southeastern Weaponry Research (SWR) for 609 Grip Pod Forward Vertical Handgrips with Self Contained Bipod (Polymer Version).
FISCSD, on behalf of the Navy’s EOD Group One, issues a sole-source solicitation to Abrams Airborne Manufacturing (Vltor) for 433 Carbine M4 Extended Length (model #EL) handguards and 97 Five-Position Receiver Extensions (Item #RE-1).
USCG Maintenance and Logistics Command-Atlantic issues a sole-source solicitation to the Simunition Division of SNC Technologies for 30 M16A3 Commando conversion kits, 3 M16A2 conversion kits, 50 M16 conversion kit magazines, 18 M9 conversion kits, FX marking cartridges, and protective gear.
RDECOM–ARDEC issues a sources-sought notice for the development of “Direct Write” explosive technologies applicable to Microelectric Initiators (MEI) and Microelectric Mechanical Systems (MEMS). The contractor shall develop the technologies and processes required for high speed/low cost loading of explosives (e.g., MEMS-scale explosives such as EDF-10, proposed for use with the XM29 Integrated Air Burst Weapon) into “small-volume MEMS” (e.g., future Safe and Arm Initiator and Detonator Devices) using “direct write” technologies.
ARMS, Inc.’s Richard E. Swan receives US Patent #D507,620 titled “Pair of interface adapter panels.”
LWRC‘s Paul Leitner-Wise files a patent application for the Modular Receiver System (MRS), a monolithic upper receiver with quick-change barrel capability. This was intended to be part of LWRC‘s submission for the USMC‘s IAR competition; however, the USMC ultimately deleted the requirement for quick-change barrels.
CZ introduces a new 5.56mm CZ2000 family of rifles. As opposed to the previous CZ2000 series, this model is reportedly based on the Czech vz58 rifle instead of the Kalashnikov.
TACOM awards Colt a $52,509,192 delivery order for 50,881 M4 Carbines.
NSWC-Crane issues a sole-source solicitation to Colt for the refurbishment of at least 200 M4A1 Carbines.
The ARL publishes the report “Instrumented Indentation of M855 Cartridge, Core, and Jacket Materials.”
NSWC-Crane issues a solicitation for 7,648,000 to 43,334,400 linked 5.56mm frangible ammunition cartridges.
TACOM, on behalf of the US Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group, awards HK a $175,794 contract for 83 HK 416 Carbines with 14.5″ barrels. Included in the package deal are HK front and rear BUIS, and KAC flash suppressors and two-stage trigger sets.
On behalf of the US Army, Ronny Alzamora and Adam Foltz file a patent application for a magazine feed lip gauge. Gauging the M16’s thirty round magazine is mentioned as one of the applications.
MARCORSYSCOM awards Trijicon a contract worth up to $660,000,000 for a maximum of 800,000 RCO. The initial delivery order is for 104,000 RCO at a total price of $63,440,000. At some point, the RCO is type-classified under the designation AN/PVQ-31A.
TACOM issues a sole-source solicitation to KAC for 109,436 M4 RAS, 9,156 M5 RAS, and 7,400 M203 Quick Release Brackets. Later in the month, TACOM awards KAC a $33,098,654.10 delivery order for the above quantities, minus 33 M5 RAS.
TACOM awards a contract to Polymer Technologies for M249 100 Round Soft Pack Magazines. The first delivery order worth $500,880 is for 24,000 magazines.
NSWC-Crane awards Insight Technologies a contract worth up to $32,467,941 for the VBL III. Procurement will run from 50 to 92,877 units. Two different versions are eventually chosen, the SU-233/PVS Gun Light and the SU-238/PVS Integrated Gun Light.
NSWC-Crane issues a sole-source solicitation to Norgon, LLC for 1,900 ambidextrous magazine releases for the M4 Carbine.
FISC-Norfolk, on behalf of the Navy’s EOD Group Two, issues a sole-source solicitation to Austin Precision Products (LaRue Tactical) for Special Operation-Peculiar Subsystems Scope Mounts and associated rings for the M4A1 and Mk 14 Mod 0 weapon systems. These include 650 LT102M CompM2 QD Mounts, 464 LT100M ACOG QD Mounts, and 13 LT139-1 SPR/M4 EER QD Mounts.
FISCSD issues a sole-source solicitation to Trijicon for 217 Model TR21 weapon scopes, 1.25-4x BAC with amber reticule.
FISCSD issues a sole-source solicitation to Austin Precision Products (LaRue Tactical) for Special Operation-Peculiar Subsystems Scope Mounts and associated rings. These include 411 LT110 EOTech QD Mounts, 217 LT139-1 SPR/M4 EER QD Mounts, 100 LT124 PEQ-2 QD Mounts, and 3 LT100M ACOG QD Mounts, plus options for additional quantities of up to 550 LT124 and 150 LT110.
ACA-Fort Carson issues a solicitation for 200 M4/M16 Sound Suppressors. The suppressor must have the following characteristics:
- Sound attenuation of 30db or better at approximately 100 ft directly in front of the weapon;
- Weigh less than 18 oz.;
- Overall length of less than 8 inches;
- Endurance of at least 25,000 rounds;
- Non reflective black or gray; and
- Corrosion resistant.
Eric S. Kincel receives US Patent #6,925,744 titled “Modular Firearm Buttstock.”
Metal Storm Limited successfully test fires the Advanced Individual Combat Weapon (AICW) Capability Technology Demonstrator at the Port Wakefield Proof and Experimental Range near Adelaide, Australia. The benched test firing demonstrates the AICW‘s ability to switch between 5.56mm and 40mm barrels instantly and without reloading. The 40mm barrel incorporates the Metal Storm electronically initiated “stacked munitions” system and can fire three rounds before reloading is required. The trial firings engage targets at 100, 200 and 300m, each with three 40mm projectiles, fired at a nominal velocity of 95m/s. In addition, the target at 300m is engaged with the standard 5.56mm rounds. The firings demonstrate the capability of engaging consistently a target the size of a window or doorway at 100m. New technology associated with recoil mitigation, sighting systems, and electronic fire control is also demonstrated.
In response to the May 2005 PEO-Soldier memorandum, the Army Acquisition Executive ASA(ALT) Bolton issues a memorandum stating that, although the OICW Program is shown as three distinct Acquisition Category II programs on the PEO-Soldier Oversight List, the OICW was one program with three increments. Further, Assistant Secretary Bolton states that the OICW Program is being reviewed for possible redesignation as an Acquisition Category I, Major Defense Acquisition Program. Assistant Secretary Bloton states that until the acquisition category issue for the OICW Program is resolved, he will retain milestone decision authority for the OICW Program. He also designates the OICW as an Acquisition Category IC program.
Colt announces a licensing agreement with the Turkish weapon manufacturer Sarsilmaz to produce and export the M4 and other Colt products.
Colt’s Grzegorz Kuczynko and Josh Dorsey file a patent application for a gas piston system and accessory rail forearm for the M4 carbine.
TACOM awards Colt a $3,104,249 delivery order for 3,349 M4 and 69 M4A1. These are destined for the USAF, USMC, USCG, and TARDEC. Later, another delivery order worth $1,243,687 is awarded for 500 M4 and 759 M4A1. These are for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the USAF respectively.
NSWC-Crane awards a $49,999,999 contract to Black Hills Ammunition for 1,155 to 58,072 boxes of 5.56mm 77 Grain Long-Range Ammunition.
The MCWL issues an open sources-sought notice for the procurement of 16-inch monoblock barrels and collapsible buttstocks for the M249.
MARCORSYSCOM awards Gemtech a $30,608 contract for sound suppressors.
NSWC-Crane, on behalf of USSOCOM, issues a sources-sought announcement for a Clip-on Night Vision Device-Sensor Fusion (CNVD-SF). The goal is to conduct a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) assessment of the state of the art to determine if and when a CNVD-SF acquisition project will be undertaken, and may also be used provide parameters for the initial performance specifications. The CNVD-SF will combine image intensification technology with thermal imaging, and/or other multi-spectral capabilities. The device will provide SOF combatants a “daylight-in-darkness” target acquisition and aiming capability, providing full-color or false-color output. The output might be analogous to daylight when used during night, sandstorms, fog, and rain or in caves, tunnels, or dark structures. A further objective of CNVD-SF might be to provide “better than daylight” optical features that will enhance the SOF Operator’s ability to detect, locate, identify, and engage the enemy in different environmental conditions. The CNVD-SF should weigh less than 1 pound (Objective), 2 pounds (Threshold). The device should have a production cost less than $15,000 (objective), $20,000 (threshold). It should be ambidextrous in operation, and possess open architecture attachment interface surfaces that provide space and footprint for the addition/accessorizing of future spiral-development capabilities, such as clip-on lasers, back-up sights, and rangefinders. It should also incorporate design features that maximize battery life. The CNVD-SF, as its name suggests, is seen primarily as a clip-on device to be used with existing day-scopes. However, USSOCOM will welcome proposals to make it a stand-alone scope, which ideally could be used even when detached from the host weapon. The government plans to conduct the TRL assessment in March or April of 2006.
TACOM awards a $2,655,861.50 contract to Brownells for 336,185 M16 thirty round Magazines. The contract contains a 200 percent option provision for up to an additional 672,370 magazines.
TACOM awards Ontario Knife Company a $797,000 contract for 20,000 M9 Bayonets.
TACOM awards a $521,750 delivery order to Polymer Technologies for 25,000 M249 100 Round Soft Pack Magazines.
The US Army Communications-Electronics Life Cycle Management Command (C-E LCMC) issues a solicitation for AN/PVS-4A Mounting Bracket Assemblies for the M249. The contract will have a minimum guaranteed value of $75,000.
RDECOM awards Insight Technologies a $81,000,000 delivery order for the Multi-Functional Aiming Light System. The contract is worth $783,521,740.
RDECOM awards Laser Devices a $26,000,000 delivery order for the Multi-Functional Aiming Light System. The contract is worth $586,243,100.
ARDEC awards Insight Technologies a $7,567,939 contract modification M203 day/night sights.
On behalf of the US Army, Michael Heayn, Christopher M. Shaffer, Dean M. Mohamed, Kenneth R. Jones, and Richard Beckman file a patent application for the improved M249 Collapsible Buttstock Assembly.
HK‘s Johannes Murello files an US patent application for an accessory rail forearm for the G36/XM8 family.
HK‘s Jürgen Gablowski and Wolfgang Bantle file an US patent application for rail attachable vertical foregrip.
AFSOC, 16th CONS – Hurlburt Field issues a solicitation for 25 M16A2 Simunition FX conversion kits, 25 M4A1 flattop conversion kits, 60 M16/M4 conversion kit magazines, 25 M9 conversion kits, FX marking cartridges, and protective gear.
USCG Integrated Support Command-San Pedro issues a solicitation for 17 Simunition Colt Commando conversion kits, 5 M16A2 conversion kits, 22 M16 conversion kit magazines, 20 M9 conversion kits, FX marking cartridges, and protective gear.
The OICW Program Manager states that his office has requested that USAIC produce a CDD for OICW Increment II. Without an approved CDD in FY 2006, the XM25 might not be fielded until as late as 2020. Also, the existing XM25 contract is scheduled to expire later in the month, and the lack of a CDD will prevent the XM25 from entering the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase.
USMC Ground Board 2-05 convenes to validate the draft POM-08 GCE ACL. Among the Category ‘A’ issues (essential for POM-08) is sensor fusion night vision devices. Among the Category ‘B’ issues (critical for POM-08) is service rifle replacement. Among the Category ‘C’ issues (valid for POM-08) are enhanced sighting devices for the M203.
The DOD Office of Inspector General issues the report “Acquisition of the Objective Individual Combat Weapon.” The DODIG finds that Army issued the OICW Increment I RFP before the program entered the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase. The Army had not completed key required program documentation needed for decision making. Nor had the Army determined the appropriate acquisition category that, as a matter of classification, would highlight the level of proposed investment and importance to the DOD. Moreover, the Army had not resolved issues with the OICW ORD, which had not identified a requirement for a family of weapons.
ARDEC cancels the RFP for OICW Increment I. The Army intends to reevaluate its small arms priorities, incorporate emerging requirements, and address capability gaps identified during recent combat operations.
Thailand’s government endorses the purchase by the Ministry of the Interior of 21,893 M16A4 rifles worth 637.5 million baht. These will be ordered via the US FMS program. This decision is criticized by some due to the cost of the rifles being perceived as higher than would be expected through an open bid.
ARDEC awards Nammo a $8,800,817 contract for 5.56mm M995 and 7.62mm M993 armor piercing cartridges.
Polytech Ammunition Company’s Sy Wiley, William E. Rembert, III, and Gary Loftin file a patent application for a lead free, composite polymeric bullet and a mostly plastic cartridge case design.
The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration signs a MSEK 260 contract with Saab Bofors Dynamics to upgrade almost 40,000 Ak5 assault rifles to the new Ak5C standard. The new Ak5C standard differs from the earlier Ak5CF trial models. The barrel is shortened to 350mm, the top receiver and bottom handguard rails are extended, a new rail is added to each side of the handguards, and folding iron sights are also added.
The Taiwanese press claims that Taiwan gave the United Arab Emirates (UAE) 10,000 T91 rifles and other military items in exchange for the UAE allowing President Chen Shui-bian to make an unofficial visit to the country a week earlier.
NSWC-Crane conducts a market survey for the Miniature Red Dot (MRD) sight Product Improvement Project (PIP). The MRD PIP will allow SOF Operators to quickly transition from a magnified optic to an attached unity-powered sight module that is explicitly designed to quickly acquire and engage targets in close quarter battle (CQB). The magnified optic platforms in question include the 4x Day Optical Scope (ACOG), AN/PVS-17A Miniature Night Vision Sight, and various sniper scopes with 30mm tubes. Ideally, the MRD should fit or be adaptable to existing DOCTERsight mounts already in limited service.
OICW Program Office again updates the draft XM25 acquisition plan.
Nepal purchases $15 million of 5.56mm ammunition from Israel.
The United States District Court for Maine grants summary judgment for Bushmaster in the trademark case brought by Colt. The Court’s order affirms a prior recommended decision of a US Magistrate Judge in the case. Among other things, the Magistrate’s decision:
- Holds that “M4” is a generic term which merely describes a type of firearm, and is not an identifier of Colt as a sole source for such firearms. In doing so, the decision notes that more than a dozen firearm manufacturers other than Colt have used the term “M4” for years to refer to military-style carbines with collapsible buttstocks and shortened barrels. Since the “M4” term is generic, the court grants judgment for Bushmaster that Colt’s federal trademark registration for the “M4” should be cancelled.
- Dismisses Colt’s claim for infringement of M4 trade dress both because the alleged trade dress is primarily non-functional and because Colt could not establish that the buying public associated the look of the M4 only with Colt.
- Dismisses Colt’s claims for infringement of the terms “M16”, “CAR”, “Match Target”, “AR-15”, and “Commando” because it concludes that there is no likelihood of confusion among purchasers as to the source of Bushmaster’s products.
The Court also holds that Colt cannot recover damages on its only remaining claim, false advertising, under Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act. (Colt’s false advertising claim include Bushmaster’s assertions that its products are made according to “military specifications” and are purchased by the US military, along with the use of Colt part numbers on Bushmaster’s M4 and M16 lookalike products.)
The House of Representatives Conference Report 109-359 requests that the Army provide a report detailing updated requirements, acquisition strategy,and schedule for OICW Increment I by January 29, 2006.
Hugh A. McElroy and Michael R. Harris receive US Patent #6,973,879 titled “Monolithic high incapacitation small arms projectile.”
The Greek government announces the purchase of 112,370 HK G36 as part of a thirty year deal worth 250 Million Euros.
The Indonesian Army announces its intent to purchase 10,000 Pindad SS-2 Assault Rifles in 2006.
ARDEC awards a $3,892 contract to Polymer Technologies for M249 200 Round Soft Pack Magazines.
On behalf of the Program Manager-Clothing and Individual Equipment (PM-CIE), RDECOM issues a sources-sought notice for a commercially available Launched Electrode Stun Weapon (LESW). The LESW is a stand-alone/weapon attachable, non-lethal device capable of launching stun electrodes into a person causing immediate temporary incapacitation of targets at a range of 0 to 10 meters. The LESW will provide under barrel capabilities by interfacing with the MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny Rail. LESW cartridges must be compatible with a M203 Grenade Launcher form factor.
NAVICP awards a $93,411 contract to Aimpoint for reflex sights.
NAVICP awards a $74,886 delivery order to Trijicon for telescopic sights.
The Regional Contracting Department, Marine Corps Base Hawaii issues a solicitation for 150 Micro-Electronic Red-Dot Reflex Sights with 8 MOA dots, capable of being mounted to the Trijicon ACOG without modifications. These are for the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines.
The Regional Contracting Department, Marine Corps Base Hawaii issues a solicitation for 480 SureFire Millennium Universal Weapon Light Systems (M951XM07) or equal. These are also for the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines.
On behalf of PEO-Soldier, ARDEC announces its intent to award a sole-source contract to ATK. This award will cover additional work to facilitate a smooth transition from the PDRR to SDD phase on the XM25 Air Burst Weapons System.
by Daniel E. Watters, Small Arms Historian
Post questions or comments at The 5.56mm Timeline’s Facebook page.
Last Revised: 05/17/2009
This article was originally published at The Gun Zone — The Gunperson’s Authoritative Internet Information Resource. My friend and mentor Dean Speir has graciously hosted my articles at TGZ for nearly 16 years. These articles would likely have never appeared online without his constant encouragement and assistance.
With TGZ’s closure in early 2017, Dean encouraged me to find a new home for my scholarship so it wouldn’t be lost in the dustbin of the Internet. Loose Rounds has welcomed me with open arms. In the future, I intend to expand my legacy TGZ articles and add new contributions here at Loose Rounds.