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US Special Operations Forces Are Getting A Long-Awaited Silent Weapons Upgrade
U.S. Special Operations Command has doled out a hefty contract to upgrade its arsenal of M4A1 carbines with suppressed upper receivers, the culmination of a long-running effort to make America’s most elite service members even more silent and deadly.
SOCOM awarded a five-year, $48 million contract to Sig Sauer to provide U.S. special operations forces with what the Department of Defense has designated as Suppressed Upper Receiver Groups, a program restarted last year after being abandoned in 2016.
It’s unclear which Sig Sauer upper that SOCOM has its eyes on, but Guns.com notes that Sig recently dribbled out some details on an upcoming SUR300 upper as an integrally suppressed 6.75-inch barrel with a 19-baffle Ti suppressor, chambered in .300 Blackout ammo. When reached for comment by Task & Purpose, Sig stated that the suppressor model was "completely different" from the SUR300.
This is the second M4 conversion contract between SOCOM and Sig Sauer this year: In February, the former snagged a handful of Sig Sauer MCX Rattler personal defense weapons for close-quarters combat. Also built on an M4A1 lower receiver, the Rattler upper can chamber both .300 Blackout and standard 5.56mm rounds.
As Soldier Systems points out, the Rattler was not adopted under the same SURG program, despite the similarities between the two receivers. But it’s worth noting that the Rattler can support an external suppressor (Sig provided a specialized one to SOCOM for Rattler testing), even if that added length sort of defeats the purpose of upper’s shortened 5.5-inch barrel and compact side-folding buttstock.
Both the SURG and Rattler contracts follow SOCOM’s $10 million follow-up contract award to SureFire in November 2017 to continue supplying the command with suppressors and muzzle breaks, a service California-based company has provided since 2011. Taken together, the SureFire and Sig contracts come out to nearly $80 million in the last seven years.
And was that money worth it? Put it this way: None of SOCOM’s targets downrange can say otherwise.
UPDATE: This article was updated with comments from Sig Sauer. (Updated 8/1/2018; 11:06 am EST)
‘I made promises to the people that I lost’— How the Iraq war forged a Navy SEAL’s path to Harvard Medical School and NASA
Navy Lt. Jonny Kim went viral last week when NASA announced that he and 10 other candidates (including six other service members) became the newest members of the agency's hallowed astronaut corps. A decorated Navy SEAL and graduate of Harvard Medical School, Kim in particular seems to have a penchant for achieving people's childhood dreams.
However, Kim shared with Task & Purpose that his motivation for living life the way he has stems not so much from starry-eyed ambition, but from the pain and loss he suffered both on the battlefields of Iraq and from childhood instability while growing up in Los Angeles. Kim tells his story in the following Q&A, which was lightly edited for length and clarity:
You can almost smell the gunpowder in the scene captured by a Marine photographer over the weekend, showing a Marine grunt firing a shotgun during non-lethal weapons training.
A Marine grunt stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is being considered for an award after he saved the lives of three people earlier this month from a fiery car crash.
Cpl. Scott McDonell, an infantry assaultman with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, was driving down Market Street in Wilmington in the early morning hours of Jan. 11 when he saw a car on fire after it had crashed into a tree. Inside were three victims aged 17, 20, and 20.
"It was a pretty mangled wreck," McDonell told ABC 15. "The passenger was hanging out of the window."
New Vietnam War movie 'The Last Full Measure' takes some well-deserved shots at the military’s award process
Todd Robinson's upcoming Vietnam War drama, The Last Full Measure, is a story of two battles: One takes place during an ambush in the jungles of Vietnam in 1966, while the other unfolds more than three decades later as the survivors fight to see one pararescueman's valor posthumously recognized.
With ISIS trying to reorganize itself into an insurgency, most attacks on U.S. and allied forces in Iraq are being carried out by Shiite militias, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria.
"In the time that I have been in Iraq, we've taken a couple of casualties from ISIS fighting on the ground, but most of the attacks have come from those Shia militia groups, who are launching rockets at our bases and frankly just trying to kill someone to make a point," Grynkewich said Wednesday at an event hosted by the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.