Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
The Marine Corps Is Window-Shopping For A New Rifle With Some Very Specific Features
The Marine Corps is on the lookout for a few good rifles — with a dozen specific features.
On May 16, the Corps released a request for information notice calling on weapons vendors to show off their latest weapons technologies, including new suppressors, optics, and several M27-like enhanced capabilities and features, at a highly anticipated showcase in September. And while the Corps may not walk away with a brand new rifle, the companies who show up will inform the procurement process for years to come.
Over the last couple of years, the Corps has been steadily investigating off-the-shelf options for a new rifle, and this new RFI shows their continued interest in exploring a variety of new features. While this year’s RFI follows on from 2016’s in a search for the next-generation rifle, the new request places far more emphasis on adaptability and the addition of suppressors.
The RFI for the new infantry rifle lays out 12 specific required characteristics, a few of which are listed below:
- Upgrade package (including an upper receiver) or complete rifle with enhanced M27 like capability and features.
- Free floated handguard 13” for use with 14.5” or longer barrel, 9.5” for use with 10.3/10.5” barrel.
- 14.5” barrel option, with 24,000 round life with AB49 – 2 Minute of Angle precision threshold, 1 MOA precision objective for majority of barrel life.
- Rail must maintain rigidity and alignment with the rifle’s zeroed point of aim when external pressures (up to 20 pounds) are applied 11” forward of the receiver.
- Rail must have integral forward 1913 Picatinny rail sections at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock of 2-3” in length.
- Remainder of rail shall be M-LOK at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock. Other surfaces may include holes/cutouts for air circulation and weight reduction.
Companies are invited to showcase their offerings at the annual Marksmanship Technology Demonstration that coincides with the Modern Day Marine conference in September. These events give the Corps a chance to explore its options and look at the industry’s latest developments without committing to a purchase — the procurement version of window-shopping. This year’s event follows 2016’s inaugural event, which Corps personnel praised as “the equivalent of Shot Show.”
“Come here and show us your toys. Parts, optics, suppressors — anything to do with marksmanship, you come here,” Marine Capt. Ryan Grogan told Task & Purpose of the Marksmanship Technology Demonstration’s purpose. “We solicit to this is the second time that we’ve done this. There really isn’t any backend-straight-to-fleet-type stuff. This is more to inform the capabilities and requirements writing process.”
Additionally, the RFI suggests the Corps is looking for a lighter, more modern rail system compared to the current M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle. The RFI specifies a need for a continuous, uninterrupted 1913 Picatinny rail along the full length of the rifle, and while this can be semi-monolithic, the weapon must have anti-rotation features to stop movement. The rails must accept all current issue weapon lights and accessories, use the M27's heat-resistant rail covers, and come ready to field strip in manner similar to the M27 and
But even more interesting than the rail system is the list of secondary desired characteristics, including the ability to chamber a variety of calibers from the AB39 (7.62x51mm round optimized for long-range accuracy) and the Army's M80A1 round to two intermediate rounds: the .264 USA and .260 Remington. There is also a mention of novel lightweight ammunition, which hints at a capability to use the polymer-cased ammunition and the Lightweight Small Arms Technologies program being pursued by the Army.
The RFI also calls for manufacturers to submit rifle suppressors, which will have a service life to match the new rifle, offer improved attachment and locking systems, and reduce back pressure. This comes as the Marine Corps continues its testing of suppressors issued to entire units to reduce the localized cacophony of small arms fire and allow for simplified command and control and operational flexibility.
U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Christopher Orr, weapons company commander, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment and part of Black Sea Rotational Force 14, fires an M4 service rifle down range during a course of fire that included controlled pairs and single-fired shots while live-fire training during exercise Agile Spirit 14 at Vaziani Training Area, Georgia, June 10, 2014.Photo via DoD
The RFI’s emphasis on revolutionary systems rather than conventional upgrades paints a picture of an ambitious Corps actively engaged in a search for a next-gen rifle of choice. And to this end, the planned technology presentations couldn’t come at a better time. This year's Marksmanship Technology Demonstration comes as the Corps continues to mull over the further adoption of the well-liked M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle.
Back in February, the Corps released a request for information inquiring about the purchase of a further 11,000 M27s, sparking speculation that it is looking to replace its M4s. But at this point, it seems that the Corps is now also exploring other off-the-shelf alternatives that may be just as good as the Heckler & Koch-made M27. The Marksmanship Technology Demonstration gives the Corps the perfect opportunity to browse until it finds exactly what it’s looking for.
“The only thing that came out of it is goodness,” said Grogan of last year’s demonstration. “We look forward to continuing the MTD for years to come.”
The Marksmanship Technology Demonstration will take place from Sept. 19-21 at the Calvin A. Lloyd Range Complex, Weapons Training Battalion, Marine Corps Base Quantico.
‘Take what’s inside and get it outside’ — Air Force psychologist reminds airmen of mental health resources
Kirtland Air Force Base isn't much different from the world beyond its gates when it comes to dealing with mental illnesses, a base clinical psychologist says.
Maj. Benjamin Carter told the Journal the most frequent diagnosis on the base is an anxiety disorder.
"It's not a surprise, but I anticipate about anytime in the population in America, about 20% of the population has some form of diagnosable anxiety disorder, and it's no different in the military," he said.
Leading the way among the anxiety disorders, he said, were post-traumatic stress disorder "or something like panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder."
The DNA of a niece and nephew, who never met their uncle, has helped identify the remains of the Kansas Marine who died in WWII.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced that 21-year-old U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Raymond Warren was identified using DNA and circumstantial evidence. Warren had been buried in a cemetery in the Gilbert Islands, where he was killed when U.S. forces tried to take secure one of the islands from the Japanese.
The Battle of Tarawa lasted from Nov. 20 to Nov. 23, 1943, and claimed the lives of 1,021 U.S. marines and sailors, more than 3,000 Japanese soldiers and an estimated 1,000 Korean laborers before the U.S. troops seized control, the agency said.
Arizona lawmakers are vowing to fight a plan by the Air Force to start retiring some of the nation's fleet of A-10 Thunderbolt II ground-attack jets — a major operation at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base — as part of a plan to drop some older, legacy weapon systems to help pay for new programs.
U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., a former A-10 pilot, and U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., both vowed to fight the move to retire 44 of the oldest A-10s starting this year.
During a press briefing last week, Air Force officials unveiled plans to start mothballing several older platforms, including retiring some A-10s even as it refits others with new wings.
MOSCOW/SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea, whose leader Kim Jong Un was filmed riding through the snow on a white stallion last year, has spent tens of thousands of dollars on 12 purebred horses from Russia, according to Russian customs data.
Accompanied by senior North Korean figures, Kim took two well-publicized rides on the snowy slopes of the sacred Paektu Mountain in October and December.
State media heralded the jaunts as important displays of strength in the face of international pressure and the photos of Kim astride a galloping white steed were seen around the world.
North Korea has a long history of buying pricey horses from Russia and customs data first reported by Seoul-based NK News suggests that North Korea may have bolstered its herd in October.
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A high-profile local Taliban figure who announced and justified the 2012 attack on teenage Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai has escaped detention, Pakistan's interior minister confirmed a few days after the militant announced his breakout on social media.
Former Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, who claimed responsibility on behalf of his group for scores of Taliban attacks, proclaimed his escape on Twitter and then in an audio message sent to Pakistani media earlier this month.
The Pakistani military, which had kept Ehsan in detention for three years, has declined to comment but, asked by reporters about the report, Interior Minister Ijaz Shah, said: "That is correct, that is correct."
Shah, a retired brigadier general, added that "you will hear good news" in response to questions about whether there had been progress in hunting down Ehsan.