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Discussion Starter #1
from defense tech http://www.defensetech.org/archives/004416.html


"The Army recently issued a solicitation to industry asking for a view of what's out there to replace or refine the M4 carbine and M16 rifle.

The solicitation, issued Aug. 22 by Program Manager Soldier Weapons through PEO Soldier, asks industry for their ideas on "the enhanced carbine and subcompact small arms technology." The solicitation asks for industry to look specifically at performance and production capacity at this point -- ignoring the main gripe about the M4's susceptibility to jam due to its gas operated system.

Performance Improvement. Request information on potential improvements in individual weapon performance in the areas of accuracy and dispersion out to 600m, reliability and durability in all environments, modularity, and terminal performance on a variety of target mediums. Modularity includes, but is not limited to, compatibility with accessory items such as optical sights, image intensification sights, thermal sights, laser targeting systems, bipods, tactical lights, MILES, bayonets, and accessory type grenade launchers. There is specific interest in improvements to zero retention and zero repeatability...

Production capacity estimates. Request information on minimum and maximum monthly production rates for a military carbine and/or subcompact individual weapon, and the lead times to achieve these production rates. This estimate should consider a US based production facility by the third year of deliveries. This capacity should be above and beyond any current production orders or current sales. If new facilities are planned or required, so state.

The solicitation did leave open the possibility of weapons with calibers other than the standard 5.56mm NATO round...

Note: Although this request for information is not limited to 5.56mm NATO systems, it is limited to ammunition that will meet International Convention standards

This addresses another gripe of the M4: stopping power. So at least the Army seems open to a 7.62 or a 6.8 round or some other boutique caliber. [Note: A source in the industry tells me that SOF is getting good results by tweaking the 5.56 round for more stopping power...and not from making it a hollow point.]

That same industry source reminded me that the "technical data package" -- essentially the patent -- of the M4 is released in June 2009, so anyone can have access to the plans and make copies of the M4. I'm working on a longer, more comprehensive story on this for Military.com, but it seems that the Army is starting to open itself up to a new weapon as an M4 replacement -- though restricting the ideas simply to accuracy seems weird.
"
 

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Sounds like the SCAR, and HK 416 have an advantage here and are what they are looking for. The ACR might be able to fit in as well (not sure about Bushmaster's production, but it should be fine). LWRC's M6A2 would probably also fit in. Not sure of any others (note: IMO the XCR would not be accepted due to Robinson Arms limited production capacity).
 

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I don't want to start the direct impingement or 5.56 argument, but honestly the M-4 is doing fine for now. If they decide to make the switch I really hope they go in the direction of a low(er) maintenance weapon. That is the only real gripe I had with it from a soldier on the ground point of view.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
isnt most of this political BS anyhow?

They are really searching for short barreled FAL's with folding stocks they just dont know it yet :lol: :-D
 

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OMG - this surfaces every Fn' year. Hoe many SOCOM programs have we been through? How many rifles were 'almost' adopted?

These are the facts: 1911 is the best combat pistol platform there is. Period. FNP .45 will be the ticket if the DoD wants to replace the 9mm. HK's are too expensive and too bulky.

M4 is the best combat rifle platform there is. Piston driven uppers will solve any relenting reliability issues. So DoD can go the SCAR route, or replace the uppers with the HK. Since I doubt that HK would sign a contract fro upper assembly only, SCAR would be the ticket.

As for the venerable .223 - all they have to do is learn from the Russians. Lenghten the bullet and drop the weight to the base. Tumble .. tumble. Nasty.

It's all a function of money. Keep your platforms, keep your mags, keep your training apparatus and you are good to go.

At the very least, the uppers have to go, and at $1,000 a pop for about .5 million units in service, that's a cool 1/2 billion. Wait .. doesn't one of those cool stealth fighters cost way more than that?

-TH
 

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I agree, they won't buy a whole new unit. They will either do a refit piston system or for older weapons, buy new uppers. Thats alot more cost effective.

Special units will probably get SCARs or 416's, but not sevice wide.

I have to laugh at the photo, I saw that weapon out at YPG, the back pack you see him carring, has a battery that weigths 20lbs to power the unit. Add 5.56 ammo plus grenades for the unit, flak and the rest of your gear and Hump that all day (even your "chit" will have muscles).
 

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Crazy thing is, it's all for real. Just wait and see what gets released onto the commercial market later this year and thru 2009.
A few names you'll know and a few you won't.

Here's a copy & paste of the actual govt sources sought announcement:


Solicitation Number:
W52H0908 Notice Type:
Sources Sought Synopsis:
Added: Aug 22, 2008 9:17 am
The Army is in the process of assessing the state of the art in small arms technologies and how these technologies can potentially provide the best weapon system(s) for our Soldiers. To that end, the Program Manager for Soldier Weapons (PM SW) Picatinny Arsenal, on behalf of the Program Executive Office Soldier, Fort Belvoir, VA, is assessing the enhanced carbine and subcompact small arms technologies as well as production capacity of the US small arms industrial base. This effort may be formally initiated in late 2009 with a competitive solicitation. To facilitate planning for this pending solicitation, the following information is requested:

o Performance Improvement. Request information on potential improvements in individual weapon performance in the areas of accuracy and dispersion out to 600m, reliability and durability in all environments, modularity, and terminal performance on a variety of target mediums. Modularity includes, but is not limited to, compatibility with accessory items such as optical sights, image intensification sights, thermal sights, laser targeting systems, bipods, tactical lights, MILES, bayonets, and accessory type grenade launchers. There is specific interest in improvements to zero retention and zero repeatability. Note: Although this request for information is not limited to 5.56mm NATO systems, it is limited to ammunition that will meet International Convention standards.

o Production capacity estimates. Request information on minimum and maximum monthly production rates for a military carbine and/or subcompact individual weapon, and the lead times to achieve these production rates. This estimate should consider a US based production facility by the third year of deliveries. This capacity should be above and beyond any current production orders or current sales. If new facilities are planned or required, so state.

o Detailed descriptions of proposed weapon systems to include engineering drawings, pictures, brochures, etc. that will convey the principles as well as general and specific capabilities behind the submissions.

o Summarized and detailed test data from any certified test facility that addresses improvements in the areas proposed. Test operating procedures utilized and independent evaluations are also solicited.

o All respondents to this RFI will get an invitation to an Industry Day to be conducted in the fall of 2008. Specific date and time will be announced in the aforementioned invitation.

Interested offerors should submit the information annotated above, in hard copy, by 16 Sep 2008 to: U.S. Army TACOM LCMC Submissions shall not exceed 25 pages (8 x 11 inches), not including test data. Font shall be 12 pitch with one inch borders. All information is to be submitted at no cost or obligation to the Government. All information marked {Proprietary to company name} will not be disclosed outside of the Department of Defense.
 

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Therm, you speak as if common sense, fiscal responsibility, and doing the right thing, is something the government is known for. :x
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Heres more info

Army (might) Abandon "Leap" for M4 Replacement

In a move that could reverse years of Army small arms policy, the service is asking industry to send in ideas for a new combat rifle that could replace the M4 carbine.
In late August, the Army issued a solicitation to the arms industry asking companies to submit proposals that would demonstrate "improvements in individual weapon performance in the areas of accuracy and dispersion ... reliability and durability in all environments, modularity and terminal performance."
And in a dramatic gesture that could throw the door wide open to a totally new carbine, the service did not constrain ideas to the current 5.56mm round used in the M4.
"We're at the point now where we're going to go out and compete," said Richard Audette, project manager for Soldier weapons at the Army's Picatinny Arsenal.
"We're looking for anyone that has a world-class carbine," Audette told Military.com in a Sept 15 interview. "We're interested in any new technologies out there."
Audette couldn't remember an Army weapons program that opened up the competition to ideas so diverse; he cited the M240 request in the 1990s and M9 solicitation in the 1980s as examples of broad requests, but they stuck with specific caliber ammunition.
The Army's abrupt change in direction -- after long stating it would stick with the M4 until there was a "leap" in technology that would far surpass current carbine performance -- comes after nearly two years of pressure on the service to re-examine the M4 and entertain a nearer-term replacement.
Some in Congress have called for the Army to hold a "shoot-off" with several other carbine designs alongside the Colt-built M4 to demonstrate the state of the art in today's military arms market. Sen. Tom Coburn (R - Okla.) briefly held up the nomination of Army Secretary Pete Geren in mid-2007 to force the service into side-by-side comparisons of M4 competitors in extreme dust conditions.
Many argue the M4 is more susceptible to fouling due to its gas-operated design, and say other systems are less maintenance intensive.
The move to broaden the competition is also calendar-driven: the so-called "technical data package" of the M4 -- essentially the blueprints for the design -- are up for release in June of next year. That means the Army can rebid the M4 to any company that can make it, potentially driving down costs and boosting production capacity.
And as if that wasn't enough, the Army is also in the midst of re-writing its carbine requirements document, which will spell out specifically what the service needs for its primary weapon. Audette said the ideas sent in as a result of his solicitation will help inform officials at Training and Doctrine Command as they update the Army's carbine plan.
"If there's some new technology out there, they want to be able to write a requirement that will not limit the Army to something they could possibly have," Audette said.
The Army is leaving itself open to carbine ideas that could stray from the nearly 40-year policy of using 5.56mm ammunition for its rifles. Recent developments in ammunition calibers have bolstered critics who contend the 5.56 round has too little "stopping power" and passes through its target without incapacitating him.
Army officials have repeatedly stated that knockdown has as much to do with marksmanship as ballistics, arguing that if you shoot more accurately, you'll drop your target on the first shot.
But several "boutique" rounds have been making inroads with weapons developers both in and outside the government. The 6.8mm and 6.5mm round are increasingly popular, as is the old-school 7.62mm round -- which Special Operations Command plans to incorporate into its new carbine program.
"We want to know about everything that's out there, regardless of caliber," Audette said. "If you've got a 6.8, we're interested in that and seeing what that brings to the table."
 

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Sounds like the army just wants to play with some new toys, but has no idea if they really want to buy anything. This kind of thing keeps the testing guys employed.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
devildoc said:
Sounds like the army just wants to play with some new toys, but has no idea if they really want to buy anything. This kind of thing keeps the testing guys employed.
ha ha great point. Crap there will probably be 6 more weapons we will need to personally own by the time its over and we still cant get the current hot tickets.
 

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Just don't forget to include your blank firing adapter when you send in your sample. That's what happened to Robinson arms when they submitted the XCR. Got rejected for not having the adapter in the shipment.
 

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If you read the request it sounds like a teen age girl going shoping.

Army: We want a new gun.
GunMaker: What Caliber would you want it to fire?
Army: I don't Knooooow.
Gunmaker: Well do you have a effective range you'd like it to be about
able to hit accurately.
Army: I'm not sure.
Gunmaker: Do you have a weight and AOL limit for the weapon?
Army: Oh, I don't Know.
Gunmaker: Well is there any specifically the you would like this weapon
to be able to do? like shoot through walls, shoot around
corners, shoot lazer bean death rays?
Army: I don't know, supprize me.
 

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the 5.56 in a nato round is a horrible for one shot stops and the m4 has a 30% failure to fire rate in combat. I think the new rifle will be a 6.8 piston gun.

the Army is getting hit hard on the performance in battle of the m4 and really needs to make a change. cut the ties to colt for our soldiers sake
 

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Discussion Starter #17
When I was buyng my FS2000 a few weeks ago the gentlemen behind the counter stated that Colt has not been sitting on their hands and they have been working on a replacement thats going to smoke the competition. Probably some truth to it, there alot of money at stake.



I thinking the first weapon with an ipod dock and speakers in the stock will win.
 

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We all know that one round does not fit all situations. I'd rather see a weapon platform that can be quickly and easily converted to fire a wide range of different rounds and can be shortened or lenghtened depending on the NEED.

If they could build a reliable rifle that only required a barrel change (that was quick and easy) to fire a different round, I think that would be a the winning ticket. Of course it would have to be able to fire the 5.56 and the 7.62 as a minimum, to meet our NATO requirements.
 

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I thinking the first weapon with an ipod dock and speakers in the stock will win.
This is more true that you would believe. We had to make our own ipod docks for our humvees. That would definately be a hit on today's modern battlefield. :lol:
 

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If I understand correctly, the .308 and the 260rem use the same case and are relatively the same length. A rifle built with a easy replacable barrel could fire both rounds, use the same mags, same bolts... just swap barrels and recoil springs and off you go. The 260 has much less recoil (better for full auto) and longer range, the 308 hits harder and is no slouch at long ranges either. Would tht work?
 
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