PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. (Jan. 31, 2011) – The Army has issued a draft solicitation to industry to provide a carbine that outperforms the current M4. Project Manager Soldier Weapons will conduct the carbine competition on behalf of the Army to determine which commercially available carbine represents the best value in meeting new requirements. The full text of the solicitation is available on Fedbizopps.gov under W15QKN-11-R-F003. The Army plans on hosting an industry day in late March to solicit feedback and answer specific industry questions before issuing the final solicitation in May 2011.
“The Secretary of the Army has directed us to determine the most effective, accurate, and reliable individual weapon available for the Soldier,” said Col. Doug Tamilio, Project Manager Soldier Weapons. “This will be the Army’s first full and open carbine competition in the modern era. We’re challenging industry to develop the next generation carbine and we’re looking forward to the results.”
The carbine competition calls for vendors to provide weapon bid samples along with accompanying accessories. The submitted weapons will undergo extensive and exhaustive testing against the new requirements established by the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning.
The competition will follow a three-phase down-select process beginning with the submission of proposals and ending with the selection of a single weapon over a period of two years. Weapon submissions will be rated on their physical attributes and features as well as their compatibility with existing Army accessories and modular weapon attachments. Other areas of consideration include: accuracy, reliability, durability, and other characteristics specified in the draft solicitation. The competition will also include “Soldier in the loop” tests to rate probability and quality of hit, aiming performance, and mobility/portability.
Upon completion of the competitive evaluation and down-select process, the Army will consider its range of options for awarding a production contract to the winner of the competition based upon a business case analysis. The overall schedule of competition, testing, production, and fielding is approximately three years to first unit equipped.
The carbine competition is part of the Army’s “dual path” strategy of overhauling its service rifles. The strategy consists of conducting a carbine competition while pursuing its Product Improvement Program of the combat-proven M4.
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