The initial RFI was followed by a notice in May calling on weapons vendors to show off their latest weapons technologies, including new suppressors, optics, and 5.56x45mm rifles similar to the M27, signaling the Corps wanted to at least consider alternatives to the Heckler & Koch-made M27. But, given this latest intent to sole source, Heckler & Koch apparently remains the best option for the Corps.
"Everything I have seen suggests that the M27s we have been using for some time have been the most reliable, durable, and accurate weapons in our rifle squads," Marine Commandant Gen. Robert Neller said in a statement back in April. However, cost has been a primary issue given than the M27 can run up to $3,000 a rifle.
While typically the Department of Defense issues solicitations calling for a competitive bidding process, in this case, the DoD has determined it would result in “substantial duplication of costs to the Government that are not expected to be recovered through competition and unacceptable delays in fulfilling the agency's requirements.” However, the notice states that if a source can meet the requirements, then they are permitted to submit a proposal no later than Aug. 28.
The HK416, on which the M27 IAR is based, was recently adopted by the French army; and it is likely that if Heckler & Koch gets the M27 contract, the Corps will be purchasing a newer version of this rifle.
A primary marksmanship instructor with Weapons Training Battalion fires an M-4 Carbine at Robotic Moving Targets at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., Sept. 24, 2013.U.S. Marine Corps photo
Responding to the news, Soldier Systems raised an interesting question about Heckler & Koch’s manufacturing capacity. With the U.S. Army recently announcing its 7.62mm Interim Combat Service Rifle program — which Heckler & Koch’s HK417 is likely to be a key contender — and the large contract with the French army, it’s unclear if Heckler & Koch has the manufacturing capacity to possibly fulfil three major contracts at the same time.
It should also be noted that a contract for 50,000 rifles is not large enough to equip every Marine with an M27, but it may be the beginning of that process. While it remains to be seen if the Marine Corps will actually award a contract for over 50,000 new rifles, this new notice does little to quiet the speculation that some within the service want to replace the M4 with the M27.
Every once in a while, we run across a photo in The Times-Picayune archives that's so striking that it begs a simple question: "What in the name of Momus Alexander Morgus is going on in this New Orleans photograph?" When we do, we've decided, we're going to share it — and to attempt to answer that question.
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces control the monitor of their drone at their advanced position, during the fighting with Islamic State's fighters in Nazlat Shahada, a district of Raqqa. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)
MUSCAT (Reuters) - The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.
Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."
"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."
First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.
"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."