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The Publication of Distinction for the Maneuver Warfighter

Special Section:

Optics and Weapons Accessories

Capabilities Enabler Lt. Gen. Keith C. Walker Director Army Capablities Integration Center

Soldier Programs O Handguns O Sniper Rifles Carbines O Protective Cases

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December 2012 Volume 3, Issue 7


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Ground Combat Technology

December 2012 Volume 3 • Issue 7

Features

Cover / Q&A

Soldier Programs

4

Senior executive service leaders assess how the military can best cope with impending defense funding reductions that could total $1 trillion over a decade, depending on unfolding events. By Dave Ahearn

Special Section Optics and Weapons Accessories

6

Let us show you the latest in optics and weapons accessories, the assets that increase warfighters’ accuracy and lethality on the battlefield and their chances of survival against a cunning enemy. By Henry Canaday

Protective Cases

9

As warriors increasingly use electronics on the 21st-century battlefield, that crucial gear must be protected as it is transported and used. For that, protective cases ensure that costly systems aren’t damaged. By Dave Ahearn

Carbines

12

The military relies on the M4 carbine, but it has its critics. So the question becomes: Would it be better to upgrade the M4 if a markedly better weapon isn’t found, or should the Army obtain a new carbine? By William Murray

Handguns

21

In side arms, the tried and true, such as the M9, have been around for decades. Is it time to try a new pistol with greater stopping power than the 9 mm possesses, or at least to try advanced ammunition? By Peter Buxbaum

16 Lieutenant General Keith C. Walker Director Army Capabilities Integration Center

Departments 2 Editor's Perspective 3 Intel/People 14 Innovations 27 Resource Center

Sniper Rifles

24

Snipers have been in the U.S. military since the Revolutionary War, with ever greater ability to take down the enemy at long range. Now, we look at the state of the art in this challenging form of war. By Marc Selinger

Industry Interview

28 Gabriele de Plano Vice President of Military Marketing & Sales Beretta USA Corp.


Ground Combat Technology Volume 3, Issue 7 • December 2012

The Publication of Distinction for the Maneuver Warfighter Editorial Editor Dave Ahearn davea@kmimediagroup.com Managing Editor Harrison Donnelly harrisond@kmimediagroup.com Online Editorial Manager Laura Davis laurad@kmimediagroup.com Correspondents Christian Bourge • Peter Buxbaum Henry Canaday • Jeff Goldman • William Murray Leslie Shaver • Marc Selinger

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KMI Media Group Publisher Kirk Brown kirkb@kmimediagroup.com Chief Executive Officer Jack Kerrigan jack@kmimediagroup.com Chief Financial Officer Constance Kerrigan connik@kmimediagroup.com Executive Vice President David Leaf davidl@kmimediagroup.com Editor-In-Chief Jeff McKaughan jeffm@kmimediagroup.com Controller Gigi Castro gcastro@kmimediagroup.com Marketing & Communications Manager Holly Winzler hollyw@kmimediagroup.com Operations Assistant Casandra Jones casandraj@kmimediagroup.com Trade Show Coordinator Holly Foster hollyf@kmimediagroup.com Operations, Circulation & Production Circulation & Marketing Administrator Duane Ebanks duanee@kmimediagroup.com Data Specialists Tuesday Johnson tuesdayj@kmimediagroup.com Summer Walker summerw@kmimediagroup.com Raymer Villanueva raymerv@kmimediagroup.com

EDITOR’S PERSPECTIVE While the prospect of $487 to $1 trillion in cuts to defense programs is daunting, some Department of Defense leaders have adopted a strongly positive response of dealing with reality and making the best of whatever funding will be available. One leader taking this clear-eyed approach is Scott Davis, the Army program executive officer for ground combat systems (PEO GCS). Davis said he is employing an analytical tool to determine which platforms can fill a requirement best, rather than reflexively procuring a given vehicle or other asset just because it was intended to operate in that mission Dave Ahearn area. Editor In very tight fiscal times, it is far more intelligent to decide what mission role or purpose must be provided for warfighters, and then see which platform will most cost-effectively meet that requirement, Davis told defense journalists on the sidelines of an AUSA meeting. The aim is “to try to find opportunities [for] commonalities and common processes and areas of innovation where we can save a dollar,” he reasoned. To help reach that goal, portfolio analysis tools have been developed, where the tool “allows us to look at [each] combat vehicle portfolio by its mission role, rather than platform” by platform. This means the most cost-effective vehicle can be chosen to meet a transport mission requirement. “And then within the portfolio, within a fixed amount of money, [PEO GCS can] make recommendations to our leadership as to which platforms are best suited for these mission roles, not only platform to platform, but levels of modernization of each of the platforms,” he said. This does not mean, he added, that PEO GCS is ignoring the effect that gigantic looming defense spending cuts may have on the defense industry. To the contrary, PEO GCS is proactively on guard for signs of stress in industry, Davis related. Here again, an electronic tool has been created to measure industry problems, “an industrial base analysis model that will ... help us understand what the industrial base implications are,” Davis said, not only for the householdname giant prime contractors but also for “second, third and lower-tier suppliers.”

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INTEL

Compiled by KMI Media Group staff

General Dynamics Creates Tracked Stryker Vehicle General Dynamics Land Systems has a new yet veteran entry in the military vehicles market: a Stryker vehicle where the wheels have been removed and replaced with tracks. The tracked Stryker will possess the off-road mobility of an Abrams tank, according to Garth Lewis, Stryker program manager with General Dynamics Land Systems. But unlike a typical new vehicle, the tracked Stryker will provide proven technology and all the survivability of the Stryker wheeled vehicle and its double-V hull, Lewis explained as he pointed to a driveable prototype of the tracked asset. He spoke with Ground Combat Technology at the AUSA annual meeting. “We built the vehicle in a little over five months,” he explained. “It’s the exact same chassis, hull, as your regular Stryker, so it [encompasses] all that survivability that we’ve developed, including the double-V hull. What we’ve done is, we’ve added tracks … and a slightly different suspension.” Aside from the tracks, the new-veteran vehicle has “a higher power pack engine in there,” he noted. “It will take you up to about 42 miles an hour.”

Another plus in the new tracked vehicle centers on responding to the increasingly tight finances confronting the military and contractors. “The other benefit is the commonality between the two platforms,” Lewis continued. “It helps keep costs down across the board.” That means the tracked asset can use myriad standard Stryker parts in the existing supply chain. And mechanics already know how to work on much of the vehicle. The tracked Stryker will be able to transport up to a nine-man crew, he said. On another cost-conscious note, he said the tracked vehicle would have fuel consumption somewhat less than the Bradley, but more than the existing wheeled Stryker. As far as protecting vehicle occupants, the tracked Stryker will be well armored, though exactly what armor might be fitted on it hasn’t yet been decided. “That would depend on what the requirement is from the government,” Lewis said. “To date, that part of the performance has not been released. We will accommodate whatever you put on there.”

PEOPLE

Heidi Shyu

Compiled by KMI Media Group staff

assigned as assistant commandant of the Marine Corps. Paxton is currently serving as commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command; commanding general, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic; commander, U.S. Marine Corps Bases Atlantic; and commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe.

Heidi Shyu was confirmed as the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology [ASA(ALT)] by the Senate. Prior to this, she served as the principal deputy, and later as the acting ASA(ALT). Marine Corps Lieutenant General John M. Paxton Jr. was appointed to the rank of general and

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Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr.

Marine Corps General Joseph F. Dunford Jr.

was appointed to the rank of general and assigned as commander, International Security Assistance Force; and commander, U.S. ForcesAfghanistan. Dunford has been serving as assistant commandant of the Marine Corps. Army Major General Mark A. Milley was appointed to the rank of lieutenant general and assigned as commanding general, III Corps and Fort Hood, Fort Hood, Texas. Milley has served as commanding general, 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum, Fort Drum, N.Y. The Center for Strategic & International Studies

(CSIS) announced that W. James “Jim” McNerney Jr., chairman, president and CEO of Boeing, has joined the CSIS Board of Trustees. Cubic Corp. has named Keith Kellogg to be president of Abraxas. Abraxas, a subsidiary of Cubic, is a global provider of risk mitigation services. Prior to this promotion, Kellogg served as senior vice president for ground combat programs for Cubic Defense. ATK announced that Scott D. Chaplin has been named the company’s senior vice president, general counsel and secretary. He brings more than 18 years of

legal experience to ATK, including service with Stanley and BAE Systems Information Technology. He also worked as an adjunct professor of law at American University, Washington College of Law and as an associate attorney for Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP and Reed Smith LLP, both in Washington, D.C. SAP National Security Services announced the appointment of Cherreka Montgomery as national vice president for corporate development. She previously served with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the U.S. Department of State.

GCT  3.7 | 3


Soldier Programs

Defense spending cuts must not eliminate vital programs.

emergent enemy threat, and ways to counter The Army is taking an intelligent approach that threat and prevail. to cutbacks in defense programs mandated in The assessment will “look 30 years out measures emerging from Congress, and in to assess emerging threats,” and measure further automatic spending cuts that may those likely threats against what the Army is commence in January. That is the message planning to provide to U.S. warfighters, to see from senior officials who wish to make the what combatants will really best of a situation where there need. will be unavoidable reductions. It is critical, Miller In facing fiscal pressures explained, “to lay the founcreated by the reductions, the dation for the Army’s future Army at the same time must technology needs, to be able ensure that it meets the needs to identify the emerging capaof warfighters in an era where bility gaps” which must be the enemy threat is persistent filled by new technologies that and worsening, according to can counter shifting enemy Heidi Shyu, assistant secretary threats. of the Army for acquisition, Heidi Shyu Care must be taken, she logistics and technology. “The said, to ensure that cuts do threat has grown more sophisnot fall on vitally needed proticated,” she observed. Further, grams, not only now but in despite those fiscal pressures, distant years. “It is even more the Army needs to preserve a important to take a longerhealthy industrial base. term look at program plan“In a declining budget ning, to realize that what may [environment] we might be be seen as an easy cut [in a able to hold our own” by wisely program] may cause us longinvesting only in those platterm ramifications,” she counforms and technologies that seled. are absolutely necessary, said Mary Miller In doing that, the Army Mary Miller, deputy assistant can advance efficiently by secretary of the Army for leveraging technology from industry, internaresearch and technology, and deputy protional partners and others, she added. Science gram executive officer soldier (PEO Soldier). and technology advancements have informed “We must be good stewards of the taxpayers’ procurement programs of PEO Soldier, so money,” she cautioned. that weapons and systems have been acquired To ensure that critically needed programs that have saved the lives of countless warriors. aren’t cut, the Army is examining not only The aim of PEO Soldier is to provide what is needed in the immediate future or in everything that a soldier wears or uses, and to combat now ongoing, but also what will be ensure that it is cutting-edge so that combatrequired in coming decades, Miller noted. “It ants prevail over the enemy. is for this very reason that we are conducting For example, although the M4 is widely this 30-year look at aligning our investments admired as an excellent weapon, the Army to support the programs of record, developing is examining alternatives that might be even the corresponding science and technology better, in a carbine competition that has strategy that will prioritize those investments attracted top-quality weapons makers. A simito address the needs of the future,” she said. lar situation exists with the M9, a pistol that With a can-do positive approach to the loomhas performed well for years. (Please see full ing defense spending cuts, Miller cited one stories in this issue.) way to ensure that vital programs aren’t lost: A key issue will be how these and other “During these past years of war, we have programs progress during a time of austerity. learned some valuable lessons” about the 4 | GCT 3.7

By Dave Ahearn, GCT Editor Some $487 billion of defense spending cuts over 10 years already are being legislated, and another $500 billion of cuts over the decade will commence in January unless lawmakers in Congress agree on an alternative plan. The concern is that vital programs may be harmed. Still, many programs are already moving ahead, in ways that have benefitted soldiers. For example, Shyu observed that technology advancements can save lives, or provide more mundane benefits. Where there are “soldiers carrying an incredible burden on their backs,” with some combatants having to carry 110 pounds or more of gear, “we continue to pursue technology that will drive down the weight,” she said. For example, solar cells can provide electricity that otherwise would come from weighty batteries. “We are also looking at improved battery technology,” she continued. And, she noted, soldiers may carry ammo that is lighter: A new version of the 7.62 mm round is 20 percent lighter. “We are looking at weight reduction across the spectrum,” she said. Technological advancements have also helped to protect soldiers from enemy weapons such as IEDs and RPGs, in programs that improve soldier body armor, vehicle armor and airborne defenses. Some research in new systems has helped the Army to reduce spending, such as a new turbine engine for helicopters that would use 25 percent less fuel while also providing upgraded performance, in the Improved Turbine Engine Program, she continued. And cost-conscious considerations permeate many programs, she added. An emphasis on “reducing life cycle costs across all of our platforms and systems remains the overriding focus” of Army procurement efforts, she said. “The joint light tactical vehicle, for example, includes … fuel efficiency” advancements that will lessen the amount that the Army must spend on fuel. While the Army is facing austere fiscal times, she pledged that warfighters will continue to be provided the very best in equipment and systems. That includes “a continued commitment to develop the ground combat vehicle and the joint light tactical vehicle.” O www.GCT-kmi.com


Special Section

Optics&

Weapons Accessories

High-powered sights and lights mean warriors win, taking down distant foes. By Henry Canaday, GCT Correspondent

Weapons are only as good as their aim, which in turn depends on the ability of the shooter to see a target clearly under any sort of conditions. Sights matter, and so, in darkness, do lights to illuminate targets. Firms continue to innovate in these sights and lights for military weapons. Devices can be mounted easily on any weapon, sidearm, rifle or machine gun. Sights can magnify as well as light up targets at as long a distance as the weapon itself can shoot. Infrared (IR) light can replace visible light when necessary. Light emitting-diode (LED) light can replace less-robust incandescent bulbs. Most commonly, weapon lights are getting more powerful and brighter, capable of illuminating longer ranges, and doing so in very compact packages. They are also becoming more flexible in the battery power they use. L-3 EOTech makes holographic weapon sights and has introduced new holographic hybrid sights (HHS), explained spokesperson Amy Miller. HHS kits combine the speed of EOTech’s Extreme XPS (EXPS) holographic weapon sight with the extended-range versatility of its new G33 magnifier. HHS offers true two-eye open shooting, ideal for long-range shots. HHS ensures accurate shooting up to 500 meters using the G33 quick-switch-to-side magnifier mount. Operating buttons on the side of the EXPS make it easy to use with other rail-mounted accessories such as magnifier, night-vision or thermal units. HHS comes in two kits. The HHS1 includes a night-vision compatible 4-dot reticle calibrated for shooting at 0-300, 400, 500 and 600 meters. It is perfect for taking long shots on a regular basis. Not nightvision compatible, HHS2 has a 2-dot reticle and is ideal for fast-action targeting. Both kits have quick-detach bases that return to the same rail location within two minutes of angle. HHSs run for 600 hours on a transversely mounted CR123 lithium battery. HHS’s new G33 3.25-power magnifier is light and small and offers an adjustable diopter that allows shooters to focus on target. Eye relief has been extended to 2.2 inches, allowing for a more comfortable cheek weld while shooting. Field of view has been increased to 7.3 degrees. A new mount yields a faster transition between long-range and close-quarters shooting. HHS kits are both waterproof and fogproof and retail for $1,059 to $1,125. Miller said HHS kits help shooters achieve incredibly fast target acquisition times. “They allow the operator to seamlessly transition from close-range to longer-range shots,” she explained. “Holographic technology allows the eye to perceive the reticle at the target plane, which also speeds up target-acquisition times.” 6 | GCT 3.7

Leupold specializes in very high-performance sights and continues to improve these essential accessories. “Leupold Tactical Optics has driven a new level of innovation in military small-arms precision sighting,” said Chris Estadt, director of military business development. “Next-generation optics for the sniper, designated marksman, service rifle and crew-served weapons are now in service on the battlefield. The launch of the new Mark 6 line is our next generation of elite products. It is made with the special operator in mind and has specialized reticles and adjustment knobs with both tactile and ergonomic functions.” The new Mark 6 3-18x44 mm riflescope offers a locking fast-focus eyepiece that ensures a generous eye-box and optimal diopter adjustment in the field, while a durable 34 mm main-tube creates over 28 milliradians of total elevation adjustment. Leupold’s M5B2 autolocking, pinch-and-turn with 0.1 mil per-click elevation adjustment makes precise corrections easy and eliminates accidental movement in the field. The 3-18x variable power range is offered in a compact package less than 12 inches long and weight less than 24 ounces. With a goal in mind to design something shorter, lighter and faster than what is currently in service, the Mark 6 3-18x is Leupold’s response to military requirements. Quick change bullet drop compensation (BDC) rings allow the scope to be matched to virtually any ammunition for longrange precision. The Mark 6 3-18x44 mm was also recently integrated with the Aimpoint Red Dot into the Leupold Dual Aperture Gunsight Riflescope (DAGR) system. The Mark 6 1-6x20 mm rifle scope is small, light, fast and versatile. Its 6-power zoom range offers a wide field of view and rapid target acquisition at low magnification, plus excellent long-range target engagement at higher powers. The Xtended Twilight Lens System offered in the entire tactical line provides crystal-clear images from edge-to-edge throughout the entire zoom range. A locking fast-focus eyepiece ensures a generous eye-box and optimal diopter adjustment in the field.

L-3 EO Tech HHS in open position.

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Special Section Windage and elevation adjustments feature both tactile and audible dials with 11 milliradians of elevation travel in a single revolution and 37 milliradians of total adjustment. The 1-6x20 mm offers a daylightvisible front focal-plane reticle to allow for accurate ranging and shot correction at any magnification, under any lighting conditions, with seven brightness settings. It is compatible with night-vision devices. “The Mark 6 1-6x20 mm is completely waterproof and fog proof,” Estadt said. “Daylight-visible illumination, special tactile turrets with revolution indicators and specially designed reticles make this new scope stand out.” Leupold close mid-range reticles with wind holds (CMR-W) allow users to estimate range and engage targets with greater flexibility than with other reticle styles. They preserve the instinctive fire capabilities of Leupold’s Circle Dot reticle in short range, low-magnification engagements typical of close quarter battles. The unique blend of capabilities allows optics using CMR-W to perform well in open desert, heavy cover or urban environments. Trijicon’s self-illuminating scopes and sights have been used by the Marines, U.S. Army and Navy SEALs, said Senior Marketing Coordinator Susan Belanger. These devices come in a wide range of types and sizes suitable for different weapons and functions. Trijicon optics include the highly sophisticated and dependable Advanced Combat Optical Gun sight (ACOG), with fiber optics and tritium-based technology. There are also the AccuPoint, with selfluminous reticles and superior optical clarity, the TARS, which is like

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ACOG but is adjustable for long ranges, the Ruggedized Miniature Reflex (RMR)—light and agile for any style or caliber of weapon—and the SRS, a sealed-reflex sight without the tube-effect usual in this type of sight and featuring a solar cell with single AA battery. Trijicon also offers the Reflex, which is fast, user-friendly, and has a large aperture and site area; Bright & Tough Night Sights, which increase sidearm precision even in near-dark conditions; and the ATWS, a long-wave thermal imaging sensor that mounts in front of magnified optics like the ACOG. Finally, there is the ACTS, another long-wave thermal imaging sensor that can act as either a sight or handheld imager, and the TANS, a high-resolution night vision system. The Marines currently use Trijicon’s TA31RCO ACOG, which was designed for the M16A4 weapon system and incorporates dual illumination with fiber optics and self-luminous tritium. This combination is extremely flexible. Tritium illuminates the aiming point in total darkness without batteries, while fiber optics can selfadjust reticle brightness during daylight. Shooters can thus keep both eyes open while engaging targets. Designed for the Marines, the reticle of this sight provides both quick target acquisition at close ranges and enhanced target identification at up to 800 meters with BDC, or bullet drop compensation. Army marksmen use Trijicon’s TA31RCO-M150CP ACOG. No tools are needed for windage or elevation adjustments because the RCOM150CP features external windage and elevation adjusters.

GCT  3.7 | 7


Special Section Special Operations Command used to order the Trijicon TA01NSN ACOG. However, now SOCOM mainly orders the ACOG ECOS. This is a fine sight for both CQB and longer-distance shooting. A unique dark earth-brown color helps conceal the shooter, an obvious advantage in many CQB situations. The ECOS is also a dual-sighting system that gives the shooter the option of using either the ACOG or the RMR sight. With the quick target acquisition of the RMR or the precise aiming provided by fourpower magnification of the ACOG, shooters can thus select the right tool for each situation. And external windage and elevation adjusters make the ECOS waterproof up to 11 meters without caps. “The majority of our products use fiber optics and tritium to illuminate the reticle,” Belanger noted. “This means that the reticle will always illuminate and eliminates the need for carrying extra batteries.” The Trijicon marketer also emphasizes ease of use in Trijicon products. “Most of our ACOG scopes have a ranging reticle. Zeroing then only needs to be done once and then it is good out to 800 or more meters. Our reflex-style sights are more just point-and-shoot once zeroed.” Belanger also stressed that Trijicon’s ACOG products are virtually indestructible, since they have been made of high-quality and durable materials and have been subject to and passed numerous rigorous tests. And, she noted, the company is “always working on new products.” Streamlight’s specialty is lighting, and it has a number of highly popular and new lighting devices, designed both for mounting on weapons and for handheld use, according to Global Brand Manager Loring Grove.

Above: Leupold Mark 6 3-18x44 mm Below: Sidewinder Compact II

The TLR-VR gives both C4-powered visible light and IR light. The C4 emitter puts out 160 lumens with 8,000 candela peakbeam intensity and runs on two lithium batteries. Run time is 2.5 hours for visible and 20 hours for IR light. This model comes with a remote switch and a rail clamp designed for long guns like the M4, M16, M240, M249 and SCAR. Grove said it has a mount that is very easy to use and can be tightened with gloved hands. Waterproof, the TLR-VIR can operate at -40 degrees F to 140 degrees F. The TLR-1 HP is another rail-mounted light with extremely long range and blinding visible light. With 46,000 candela intensity and 200 lumens of output, it can throw light 429 meters and has 1.75 hours of run time. The Super Tac is a handheld flashlight that can be long-gun mounted with a Streamlight rail mount. With 160 lumens and a deep-dish reflector, it is good out to 346 meters and for up to 3.5 hours. New this year is the TLR-4, super-compact illumination for any sub-compact handgun. It fits most handguns with rails. Though it weighs less than three ounces, this model puts out 110 lumens with 5,000 candella of intensity. “We keep adding brightness, even in our super-compact lights,” Grove noted. The Sidewinder Compact II is a multi-use light that can be attached to helmets, combat vests or head-straps. It runs on a variety of batteries, can be aimed in virtually any direction and throws out red, white, blue or IR LED light. “It is very versatile and lightweight,” Grove emphasized. Also new from Streamlight is an addition to the Pro Tac line of handheld devices that can throw out 600 lumens and has a range of 259 meters. Users are stunned at how wide a field it covers, Grove said. It has been very popular with law enforcement and Streamlight is just starting to advertise it to military customers. Surefire has a variety of weapon-mounted and handheld lights, according to Director of Marketing Sean Clemence. For weapons, Surefire offers handgun lights, shotgun forend lights, rifle and submachine gun lights and heavy gun lights. Handgun lights are compact and recoil-proof due to their virtually indestructible LED emitter, and produce a brilliant white beam. For example, the X300 has a maximum output of 170 lumens and can run for 2.4 hours. The new X300 Ultra goes up to 500 lumens. For shotguns, Surefire Lights replace factory units with a tough polymer forend, with integrated switching for easy control over bright beams. These models are available for the Benelli M1, Mossberg 500 and 590, Remington 1100, 11-87 and 870, and Winchester 1300 and Defender shotguns. For rifle and submachine guns, the M620V Scout offers both white and IR output up to 150 lumens. Surefire’s Vertical Foregrip Lights attach to undersides of long gun forends, providing additional control. For example, the M900LT offers up to 700 lumens from an incandescent bulb. For heavy guns, Surefire’s HellFighter has 3,000 lumens and is the ultimate illuminator. It can be attached to mini-guns, medium or heavy machine guns or vehicles as a searchlight. Available portable battery carriers also allow the HellFighter to serve as a handheld searchlight. O For more information, contact GCT Editor Dave Ahearn at davea@kmimediagroup.com or search our online archives for related stories at www.gct-kmi.com.

8 | GCT 3.7

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Warriors’ valuable assets are safeguarded in top-quality tough cocoons. By Dave Ahearn, GCT Editor Military forces increasingly are using electronic equipment ranging from computers to comms, gear that warriors don’t want to have damaged. But at the same time, a battlefield is a rough environment where combatants and equipment take a pounding, whether inside vehicles bouncing over rough terrain or dismounted, diving for cover to dodge incoming. Solution: Ruggedized cases can shield their contents from abuse. Cases can even safeguard delicate items being tossed out of aircraft thousands of feet above the ground. Tom Wehner, regional sales manager in the Government Division-Technical Packaging of Pelican Cases, pointed to an interesting development: The big story in cases is that the newest ones are small. Smaller tablets are being carried by warfighters as IT capabilities move to the edge, he noted. While Pelican—the largest maker of protective cases in the world—provides containers for items as huge as a Tomahawk missile, the company also provides tiny cases for handheld items the size of smartphones. Although protective cases have been used by military forces for decades, this is not a legacy area without innovation. Instead, Wehner noted, Pelican has developed 45 new products thus far in 2012 alone. In the HardBack line, Pelican offers cases able to hold a 15-inch or 14-inch laptop, a Netbook, an iPad or tablet, or an eReader. These cases can protect electronic gear on www.GCT-kmi.com

the field of combat, even in a torrential downpour. Pelican also is offering a HardBack innovation, a hybrid between a case and a backpack. Whatever it is that must be transported and protected, Pelican has a solution, he explained. “There are probably about 500 different sizes of standard cases that we have.” The company provides cases that can be parachuted to the ground, cases that are airtight and more. “Any mil spec that we’ve been asked to perform, we’ve been to that [level of quality] already,” Wehner noted. “They’re thrown out of C-130s, as well as being in active combat.” That has included jarring incidents up to and including hits by enemy rounds, he noted. Wehner cited an email he received from a warrior who had lived through an enemy IED detonation, but the contents of the case were unharmed. If a case is damaged by a foe firing a weapon, he continued, there is “a lifetime warranty, so we’ll actually replace those cases, even though they’re in those types of environments.” That also can apply to civilian situations, such as a TV news crew involved in a traffic accident, where the news personnel were rear-ended by another vehicle. The case suffered some handles being torn off, but the expensive cameras inside the case survived intact, Wehner recalled. “Contents were fine,” he said. “We replaced the cases.”

The Inside Story While it is critical that a case be able to take rough treatment without damage, it is just as critical that the interior of the case be designed to protect the contents—electronic gear, a weapon or other high-value item. That’s where Dulles Case Center comes in. Located near Washington Dulles International Airport in suburban Virginia, Dulles Case Center takes a case, such as one made by Pelican, and custom-designs the interior to cradle and safeguard contents of the case, President Donna Kulesza explained. “We are a core Pelican dealer, which is sort of one of their top layer of dealers,” she said. “We have a full manufacturing facility. Our addition to the cases is—because we have this full fabrication facility, we can custom-design foam for the interior of the Pelican cases to protect equipment that’s going to be deployed to the field or across the country.” The more precisely the foam is cut to fit the contents, the better the contents will be protected from jarring and other rough treatment. But how is that precise fit created? “We can create that custom foam interior with a photograph of the item,” Kulesza continued. “Let’s say it’s a firearm, and the customer is in Huntsville, Ala. They can snap a photograph of it with a ruler alongside of it, and we’re able to create a custom foam insert.” GCT  3.7 | 9


Other times, a customer will walk into the Dulles Case Center offices carrying equipment that needs the protection of a custom case interior. “They will say, “‘Help us organize this and protect it and package it,’” she related. While protecting equipment is the main benefit from a custom interior, there are other benefits as well. For example, a customcut case interior can help avoid misplacing some critical, and perhaps very expensive, items. “Sometimes it’s very important out in the field that they are sure that they’ve gathered up all of their equipment before they leave, and by having a custom foam interior in the case, if you have an empty cavity [in the foam], then you know you’ve left something before you leave your site,” she noted. “You’ve got an empty place, so you need to fill it.” Dulles Case Center can move swiftly if a customer needs a case immediately. “We’ve done it as quickly as the same day, if it’s critical, if the customer and the situation warrants it,” Kulesza said. “We’ve had someone show up here at 8:00 in the morning, and come back that afternoon, and the case with their custom foam” is ready. However, she noted, “That’s not typical. Generally, once we get their equipment or a drawing or a picture, we can generally turn around a quote in a day or two.” Before starting work on a custom case interior, the customer will be shown how the interior will be laid out, and where each piece of equipment will go. “When we send out a quote to the customer, we also send PDF that will have a layout of the items in the case,” she said. “And that way they know exactly what it’s going to look like. And they can make sure that they’ve got all of their components in there as they wish.” After the design receives customer approval, the first case can be created the same day. “Our turnaround is quite fast, mostly because if a customer is trying to deploy a piece of equipment—whether it be to the battle ground or to a trade show or to a presentation, they need it to go quickly,” she noted. While usually her company fashions a foam interior for a case, and the equipment

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being protected is removed from the case for use, occasionally the company will modify the case so electronic equipment can be installed in the case permanently, and function inside the case. “We integrate electronics into those cases, with fans, Ethernet connections and AC connections and things like that,” Kulesza observed. “If it’s going to operate in the case, we have added vents and fans to the cases. Of course, at that point, we’re voiding Pelican’s lifetime guarantee, because we’ve cut holes in the case, so therefore it’s no longer airtight and watertight. But in the situation where the customer wants to operate the equipment from the case, it’s more important to them that the conditions inside the case stay cool, so that their switch or repeater or router is working properly.” One option that is a quick solution but doesn’t provide the high quality of a custom interior created by experts is this: A customer can visit Dulles Case Center, select a case, and then try cutting a foam interior by hand. “We’ll do it here with them sometimes,” she disclosed. “If they’re headed to the airport, and they’ve got to protect the server, or protect some other type of electronics, we’ll pick it and pluck it with them.” But in that case, “It’s just not going to hold up over time if you’re repeatedly taking the item in and out of the case. And it’s not going to give you quite the organization you would get with custom foam.”

Custom Fit Calzone Case Co. presents multiple strong points to military units requiring safe transportation of gear. There is vast experience, with Calzone’s Anvil Case Division having been around since 1952. “Anvil has been in business for 60 years, Calzone since 1975,” said Joe Calzone, owner. In all that time, the company has built thousands of cases, with plans for each of them still on file, ready to be used for a quick turnaround when a military customer presents a transport need, he continued. The company has three production facilities: at its headquarters in Bridgeport, Conn., and in Dallas and Los Angeles.

Even when a case must be custom designed, that doesn’t mean a long wait, Calzone stressed. “We have the ability—without tooling costs causing a long turnaround—to be able to build anything for any specific object or application that the customer may require,” he said. Then there is Calzone’s practice of supplying warfighters with cases custom-designed to cradle the contents, often in a single case just large enough to hold them. While other case manufacturers may use a standard case size that may be a bit larger than needed, “we take the object size and build a case around it,” noted Don Sessions, director of corporate strategy. And Sessions pointed to the solid construction of the cases, tough plywood with a laminated plastic exterior, aluminumsheathed edges and metal corner protectors, with metal latches and riveted handles. Each case meets military spec for ruggedness and protection of contents. Cases can be provided for anything from a small piece of electronic gear up to huge items such as a radar array, unmanned vehicles including small helicopters, simulation equipment and more. Some cases have ramps, so an item to be shipped can be driven into the case, Calzone observed. Calzone cases have been provided to each of the armed services, to SEALs and Rangers, all the way up to the commander in chief. Cases have been made for the White House communications office, and “back in ’08, 35 teleprompter cases for the president,” Calzone recalled. The company also has made cases to hold musical instruments of the President’s Own, the U.S. Marine Corps band, Sessions said. And cases have been provided to the news media to safely hold delicate video camera systems that might cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. While the company has a lengthy history, it also is developing new assets. For example, Anvil has teamed up with Lo Jack SCI to offer the ultimate in equipment protection. The Anvil Case Tracker has a small GPS tracking device placed inconspicuously within the case. A military unit can track the location of its case online and get automatic alerts if the case leaves a designated location.

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For the company, the decades have been an interesting and at times fun experience. Anvil, starting early in its history, began supplying cases to rock bands, to safely transport anything from a lead singer’s guitar to enormous speakers, Sessions said.

Takes Tough Treatment SKB Corp. utilizes all three molded case technologies—rotational molding, injection molding and thermo-forming—to build robust reusable protective cases used by today’s warfighter, according to Robert Wilkes, senior vice president, global operations. “Our products are built using the latest design and manufacturing techniques, as well as the strongest materials,” Wilkes said. “Our injection molded cases will withstand 2.8 times more impact than our competitors’ [cases].” He stressed that it’s not just the case that’s important; hardware is critical as well. “The 3i injection molded case series also incorporates our patented trigger release latch system, which is the easiest to open, provides a positive snap-on closure, and stays closed and secure during all MIL-STD drop testing,” Wilkes explained. These features ensure that the missioncritical gear that SKB cases house is protected during repeated deployments and arrives in a ready-to-use condition, just as it was when it was packed, he continued. “SKB’s mission is to provide true COTS [commercial off-the-shelf] cases at the most reasonable prices, and to back them up with a full lifetime warranty,” Wilkes said. “SKB cases are used by U.S. and NATO forces worldwide, and we stand behind and support each and every servicemember, and offer our most heartfelt thanks for all that they do to protect all that we care about and believe in.”

Meeting Limits Sometimes a military unit has to meet certain shipping limits, and that impacts the size and type of cases that the warfighters can procure, according to David Root, president of Cases2Go. One group of warfighters may face a size limit, such as for carry-ons if an asset must be carried in a case that can fit in an

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overhead bin in a commercial airliner, Root explained. Or weight may be a critical factor, where the asset being transported is so hefty it is close to a weight limit by itself, so that the case and foam interior that will carry the asset can’t weigh much at all. Still other limits may be imposed by the nature of the asset, he noted. For example, if an extremely sensitive or delicate electronic item must be transported, the case and interior must ensure that the item isn’t damaged. “The type of foam you use and the thicknesses are dictated by the weight and fragility of the items,” Root explained. “That’s something else that we keep in mind for designing these things.” Root’s offices are in Tampa, Fla., near Central Command and Special Operations Command. “We primarily serve the special operations market,” Root continued. “They have a lot of electronic equipment. They go on their missions with all kinds of communications networking gear and stuff we don’t even know what it is. And it’s essential, critical that those items get where they need to go in perfect condition, to be able to perform for them.” While it can be an inconvenience or a major financial loss if contents of a civilian’s suitcase are damaged or destroyed, the stakes are much higher with military gear. “It can be a matter of life and death, certainly a matter of successful mission or not,” Root cautioned. “So we work closely with the customer to conceive a design that will serve all of their needs—not only getting the equipment to its destination in good shape, but keeping in mind how they’re going to get it there. Often, they will go on a commercial airline, or solely on military, or they may take a commercial airline from here to Fort Bragg or someplace like that and then get on a military transport.” If part or all of a trip with a case involves a commercial airline, “they have certain things that need to be carry-on size so they can put them in the overhead bin and have them right with them,” Root said. Other military items may be luggage sized, or even freight sized, he noted. Cases2Go can tailor cases to the exact needs of each military customer because the

firm carries cases manufactured by Pelican and other leading manufacturers, as well as having its own case manufacturing operations, Carbon Armor, Root said. “There are a large variety of types of cases out there— plastic from Pelican. There [are] aluminum cases, fiberglass cases, fabricated cases. And then there’s carbon fiber cases.” The most common type of case provided to customers is the plastic container, which comprises 70 percent of the Cases2Go business, according to Root. The plastic case is “relatively inexpensive and comes in set sizes that work very well for most instances.” Occasionally, a military organization may have something highly unusual to ship in a case, such as an asset with a peculiar size. “That’s when we would look at maybe a fabricated case, which could be made exactly to the size of the item,” Root said. Another constraint that Cases2Go must resolve may be a lack of time, where military personnel may need a case immediately. “Often a customer will show up here on our doorstep with a box full of equipment” that must be shipped, he said. “And they’ll come in, and we’ll measure it up right then, maybe make a prototype right then while they’re waiting. And then they can take that back and qualify the design. “We have a very quick response time, and this is mainly because of the type of customer we serve. Special operations are a do-it-now kind of thing. They never know when they’ve going to get deployed, and they’re getting new equipment all the time, or putting together new kits. So we try to be very, very responsive with that.” Root said Cases2Go takes its work very seriously, helping to keep troops safe, because “their security and lives often depend on these pieces of equipment they take into battle.” It is work he has done for decades: “My company just celebrated its 30th anniversary. We got started here in Tampa doing wood crating and military packaging.” O

For more information, contact GCT Editor Dave Ahearn at davea@kmimediagroup.com or search our online archives for related stories at www.gct-kmi.com.

GCT  3.7 | 11


Competition attracts stellar weapons, but the M4 challenge remains. By William Murray, GCT Correspondent For more than three years, small arms manufacturers have been chasing the U.S. Army’s Individual Carbine (IC) competition with the tenacity of a bulldog. Their ultimate goal is to supply the shorter-barreled rifles to as many as 1 million active duty and reservist soldiers, particularly mobile troops such as paratroopers and special operations soldiers, in addition to mounted, supply and other non-infantry personnel who do not need full-sized rifles and do not require the long range accuracy that longer-barreled rifles provide. By the middle of calendar year 2013, the Army will downselect to three vendors, which should lead to best and final offers, according to Gabriele de Plano, vice president of military marketing and sales at Beretta USA of Accokeek, Md., one of the IC bidders. The winning vendor—which is likely to receive its award in 2014—will face difficult competition from the Army M4A1 program, an existing program in which the Army invested great sums. Army units will be able to select a higher-performing IC rifle, but they may have to pay 30 percent more per unit, when one considers per-unit pricing available through the M4A1 program, according to small arms manufacturers. Program Manager Soldier Weapons, part of Program Executive Officer Soldier at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., manages the IC program. The uncertainty over the fiscal year 2013 and later years’ Department of Defense budgets, meanwhile, has cast an ominous shadow over the ICC. Should the White House and Congress not reach a compromise on the government budget by January 2013, it would mean that an additional $500 billion would have to be cut from the DoD budget over the next 10 years, beyond some $487 billion of cuts over a decade that already have been legislated. The $500 billion includes a 10 percent across-the-board budget cut for DoD programs. The IC would not be immune to this budget cut. One vendor sounded cautiously optimistic. “We’re hoping for the best after the election and the [first round of] budget cuts,” said Rick DeMilt, executive vice president for sales and marketing at Adcor Defense, of Baltimore, which has proposed its Brown Enhanced Automatic Rifle (BEAR) for the IC. Adcor Defense participated in a Phase II IC test at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., in spring 2012. “We’re not sure where things stand,” since the Army hasn’t notified the company of the testing results, he said. “We think we stack up pretty well. We think we have the most technologically advanced carbine.” According to Adcor Defense, the Army’s Source Selection Authority evaluated each prospective IC weapon’s hardwire attributes, each manufacturer’s production capability and each cost/price proposal, as the Army moved forward from Phase I to Phase II. Adcor Defense is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Adcor Industries of Baltimore, which has built nine of the most critical components for the Trident missile system, radar system components for the F16 fighter, and other components for the U.S. military small arms industrial base. The Pentagon will not allow any new program starts after sequestration, but the carbine testing is covered under current budgetary obligations, according to Trevor Shaw, Remington USA’s director of 12 | GCT 3.7

government programs in Madison, N.C. He served in the Army for 21 years, both in the infantry and Army Acquisition Corps before retiring in the Army reserves as a lieutenant colonel. Given that it will likely be 2014 before any award will be made for the IC, according to Shaw, sequestration is not likely to impact the program. Yet the procurement faces a different kind of threat. “The fact that [the IC] winner must still win a business case analysis against an improved M4A1—that is perhaps its biggest program threat,” Shaw said, showing his knowledge gained from the Army Acquisition Corps. “It is a pretty good bet that the IC winner will come in with a [per unit] price above $1,000. When that is compared with an M4A1 around $700, the prices we are seeing in the current M4/M4A1 competition, that is a pretty good price differential for the IC, which will likely not offer more than a 30 percent increase in performance,” Shaw said. “Because ultimately both guns will be slinging 62 grain 5.56 mm projectiles, there will be no ballistic improvement at all for the IC. Thus it all comes down to improvements in reliability, durability and human factors to make the IC more preferable than the M4A1.” Hundreds of millions of dollars in orders will likely ride on these improvements, but the human factor will remain decisively important, according to Shaw, who remains skeptical of IC’s success. “The soldiers who are executing the IC testing will be the ones to account for the subjective input that might move an IC candidate ahead of the M4A1,” he said. “Without their enthusiastic ‘muddy boot’ support for the adoption of the winning IC design, the numbers certainly don’t seem to support a move towards selection of the IC. Will the winning IC design be better than the M4A1? Absolutely. Will that margin of improvement be good enough to overcome all the accrued sunk costs of existing M4s, as well as the low procurement costs of additional such carbines? Very likely not.” Another competitor confirmed its participation in the Phase II IC testing. “The FNAC was tested at Aberdeen [Proving Ground],” said Greg Ulsh, vice president of military operations for FNH USA LLC of McLean, Va., speaking of the FN Advanced Carbine and the Army’s IC Phase II testing. His company has produced firearms for more than 100 years. “We are confident it met and/or exceeded all specifications contained in the solicitation.” The Army, to date, has been tight-lipped about the results of IC Phase II weapons teaching at Aberdeen Proving Ground, with no indication of the performance level and standings of each vendor and also refusing to identify the vendors invited to participate in Phase II testing. In terms of operator controls, the FNAC features an ambidextrous selector lever and magazine release, in addition to non-reciprocating charging handle, with ambidextrous control and forward assist capability. The FNAC also features an enlarged trigger guard for easier access for soldiers wearing gloves. The carbine also features an adjustable gas regulator for use with a sound suppressor to maintain a constant rate of fire. www.GCT-kmi.com


The Army will incur new logistics, parts and training expenses if IC is fully implemented, whereas M4A1 is a “completely upgraded and fielded,” legacy program for shoulder-fire, gas-operated weapons with telescoping stock, de Plano said. The winner of IC, therefore, is guaranteed very little in terms of orders. Ultimately, the Army’s acquisition approach should guarantee that the service gets the most bang for its buck, which one can hope would benefit not just the taxpayer and general officer but also the individual operator. “The Army could purchase one unit or many,” de Plano said. He has worked for Beretta USA since 1987, and his company has been involved in the procurement since the IC industry day three years ago. According to Beretta’s de Plano, the IC will be evaluated for budget effectiveness against the M4A1 program by both Congress and the Pentagon. “I’m not very optimistic,” about IC’s competitiveness, he said, echoing Remington’s Shaw and his concern. “Does it warrant the budget appropriation?” he asked. The additional costs could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. FNH’s Ulsh sounded more optimistic. “The Army’s solicitation for a new individual carbine is one of the most significant procurements of small arms in the 21st century,” according to Ulsh. “FNH USA is excited to be a part of this process.” “We believe that the FN Advanced Carbine, or FNAC, will offer soldiers the most high-quality, reliable weapon on the market today,” Ulsh said. “With its bold advancements in technical design, we are confident the FNAC will meet and/or exceed the Army’s requirements in every way.” The FNAC’s 14-inch barrel has an adjustable cheekpiece control and is made of hammer-forged, chrome-lined steel, and it features a fully free-floating design. In addition, the barrel has a Cerakote flat dark earth surface finish, and it has M9 bayonet capability and an effective flash hider and sound suppressor. The FNAC’s slide folding feature provides more compact weapon package for operators in aircraft and vehicle deployments, and soldiers can still fire it from the folded position. “We have as good a chance as any,” said Remington’s Shaw. “We didn’t put together [our proposal] at the last minute,” and Remington offers a very competitive price, he added. In the spring, the Army engaged in Phase II IC testing of Remington’s carbine at Aberdeen Proving Ground, including grain launchers and shot launchers. “They fired a lot of shots downrange,” Shaw said. He praised the easy disassembly that characterizes Remington’s carbines. Remington USA tests its products at a Development Technology Center in Elizabethtown, Ky. Shaw, whose company supplies all bolt action sniper rifles to the Army, Air Force and much of SOCOM, thinks Remington’s carbine may be more reliable than the M4. Remington’s magnesium alloy properties make it as durable as an aluminum lower receiver found on the M4. Magnesium alloy, as opposed to poly, seems to hold up better, according to Shaw. www.GCT-kmi.com

The gas piston design of Remington’s carbine, furthermore, makes it easier to clean, and the forward-mounted charging handle and the ambidextrous controls make it a superior fighting carbine for the largest percentage of soldiers. He likes the reliability, durability and maintainability of Remington’s carbine. “Our barrels are more durable,” and unit armorers can change them out easily, Shaw said. “That is a significant life cycle cost advantage of our carbine over the M4.” Among its offerings, Remington supplies the XM2010 enhanced sniper rifle to PEO Soldier, which is replacing the M24s. The Army is in the process of ordering as many as 3,600 XM2010 rifles, which use .300 Winchester Magnum ammunition to provide approximately 50 percent more effective range, which can help in the mountainous and desert terrain in Afghanistan. This re-chambering to dimensionally larger cartridges is possible since the M24 was designed to use the “long-action” version of the Remington 700 receiver. The drawbacks to using bigger, more powerful magnum rifle ammunition compared to smaller, non-magnum standard rifle cartridges are increases in barrel wear, flash, jump and recoil. For IC, Beretta USA has proposed its ARX-160 weapon, which has lighter weight and a modular assembly, enabling soldiers to disassemble the carbine without tools. “At the base level, the barrel length can be changed,” De Plano said. “It doesn’t attract dust and sand.” The extractors are the only thing on the carbine requiring lubrication.” One attraction of the ARX-160 is that it uses polymers, which are self-lubricating, making it easier to operate in dusty and sandy environments. The Beretta ARX-160 also has reverse rejection features, which is helpful for left-handed shooters and those shooting at an awkward angle, De Plano said. The Beretta ARX also has a reversible ejection feature with the push of a button, helpful for left-handed shooters and those shooting at an awkward angle, de Plano said While the Army makes it preferences known through the federal procurement process, sometimes lawyers get involved. In August, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) upheld Colt Defense LLC’s protest of the Army’s $84 million contract award to Remington Defense to produce up to 120,000 M4 and M4A1 carbines. Based on the Army’s response to the decision, the contract award could be slowed, re-evaluated or entirely re-competed. Another small arms manufacturer, Heckler & Koch of Ashburn, Va., appears to have submitted a variant of their piston-operated HK416, used by several U.S. special operations units, for IC. Steve Galloway, director of creative services for Heckler & Koch, confirmed his company’s participation in Phase II IC. O For more information, contact GCT Editor Dave Ahearn at davea@kmimediagroup.com or search our online archives for related stories at www.gct-kmi.com.

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INNOVATIONS Mark 6 3-18x44 Riflescope Leupold Leupold has introduced the next generation in long-range and close-quarter hybrid battlefield optics with the Dual Aperture Gunsight Riflescope (DAGR), an integrated optical aiming system for modern small arms. Leupold’s DAGR System integrates the cuttingedge Leupold Mark 6 3-18x44 mm riflescope with the CQB-proven Aimpoint Micro T-1, the company stated. American warfighters can go from 1x to 18x in a fraction of a second with this system. With an overall length of less than 12 inches and weighing just 34.2 ounces, the Leupold ECOS-O solution delivers an incredible field of view and rapid target acquisition at an unmatched length and weight, according to Leupold. “Combat troops have traditionally had to choose long-range accuracy or close-quarter speed when selecting optics,” said Chris Estadt, director of military business development for Leupold & Stevens. “Leupold’s DAGR System has responded with a shorter, lighter, and faster optical system with unprecedented magnification range in a compact size.” In order to increase combat effectiveness, Leupold engineering redesigned the elevation turret to reduce the centerline distance between the two optics to 1.75 of an inch. This greatly increases the speed of target acquisition for CQB engagements. The DAGR System was recently submitted as the solution for the miniature day/night sight enhanced combat optical sightoptimized (MDNS ECOS-O) government request for proposal. This system will be available for consumers in 2013. The scope is built in Leupold’s Beaverton, Ore, facility. Currently, more long-range Leupold tactical optics are in service with the U.S. military than any other brand, the company noted. Aimpoint has been delivering red dot sights to the U.S. Army since 1997. The foundation of the DAGR is the Mark 6 3-18x44 mm, which offers a specialized short zero lock 0.1 mil adjustment dial with pop up revolution indicator and an easy-to-adjust ocular housing power magnification adjustment. The system includes a Berry Compliant carrying case, Leupold’s Mark 6 integrated mounting system and sight mount.

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U1 Cavitator Underwater Bullet PNW Arms

A new type of bullet can hit targets underwater from 30 to 40 feet. The PNW Arms U1 Cavitator is the world’s first commercially available underwater cartridge, the company announced. Unlike conventional munitions that can only travel a few feet in water before losing all of their energy, the U1 Cavitator is a multipurpose round that has the ability to not only maintain terminal velocity and a stable trajectory path through the air, but do it through multiple micro environments (air to water to air and back to water) with stunning force. Special forces have used this technology.

Heat-Inhibiting Suppressor Sleeve Manta Signature: Visible and infrared signatures reduced Material: Heat-resistant polymer Heat dissipation: Fins Can diameter: 1.5 inches now, more sizes later

Small Arms Armorer’s Tool Case Otis Technologies The small arms armorer’s tool case is designed to repair and maintain all small arms weapons systems including 5.56 mm, 7.62 mm, 9 mm, .45 caliber, .50 caliber, 12 gauge and 40 mm. It packs 80 items into four drawers. The repair asset is geared to servicing every small arms and crew served system currently used by the military. It includes such tools as roll pin punches, hammers and twisting pliers. There are components for cleaning and maintaining weapons.

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Compiled by KMI Media Group staff

Mobile Robotics Prototype

Gas Piston System—OPS-416

Segway

Osprey Defense

Specifications (non-limiting): Length: 53 inches Width: 33 inches Height: 23 inches Weight: 300 pounds Ground clearance: 11 inches Maximum all-terrain payload capacity: 600 pounds (targeted) Maximum forward/backward speed: Up to 18 mph/ 8.0 m/s Battery: Lithium ion (LiFeP04) Run time: Up to 20 hours in standby mode

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Segway’s ARTI is a functional prototype unmanned vehicle chassis that features articulated steering for exceptional off-road performance. It offers wide-reaching potential applications as a mobile platform for robotic systems used by warfighters and leveraged for the ground combat market. In an effort to further refine this proof-of-concept, which may become a relevant component of powerful and efficient ground combat systems, Segway would like to collaborate with defense customers interested in using ARTI for mutual mobile robotics research. The ARTI platform leverages articulated steering and can accommodate the transportation of heavier payloads over more aggressive terrain. It utilizes a two-degree-of-freedom joint to permit roll and yaw rotation. The ARTI platform leverages Segway’s latest RMP centralized controller architecture, which allows simple and intuitive communication with the platform over Ethernet, CAN or USB. System designers can set a variety of performance parameters including acceleration and deceleration rate limits, turning radius and top speed.

M-Pact Glove Mechanix Hand protection: Full coverage Grip: Rubberized—thumb, index finger, palm Knuckles, fingertips: Sonic welded molded rubber Palm: Shock absorbing Poron XRD

Microfiber Towel in ACU Outgo • • • •

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GSA-Compliant Ultra compact Fast and easy drying Multifunctional: Use as a towel, blanket, shemagh, cleaning cloth, sling or bandana Hanging loop Removes oil, dirt and perspiration from hands, face and body Available in large—30 by 50 inches

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• • •

Installs without any permanent modification to the rifle 13 times more reliable than U.S. military accepted standards Tested to 10,000 rounds without a system failure No valves, screws or springs to adjust or fail 100 percent made in the USA Extends the useful service life of the rifle Fits any standard mil spec AR-15/M16/M4 Barrel lengths of 11-20 inches Works in calibers of .223, 5.56 mm, 5.45 mm x 39, 7.62 mm x 39, 6.5 mm, 6.8 mm Carbon buildup in bolt is eliminated Greatly reduced cleaning time and costs No path for dirt, water or contaminates to enter

Lightweight Combat Helmet Revision Revision introduced the Batlskin Viper, an elite, lightweight combat helmet that uses advanced composite shell technology to achieve weight reduction while delivering enhanced ballistic and impact protection, the company announced. With comfort for long-term use, the polyethylene shell serves as the foundation for Revision’s Batlskin Modular Protective Attachment System, the first fully integrated and fully modular solution of its kind, Revision noted. The system provides advanced blunt force, blast and ballistic protection and includes the ballistic helmet shell with modular suspension system, a multipurpose front mount, ballistic mandible guard and three-position visor. The modular, scalable nature of the system enables the soldier to quickly armor-up or -down as the threat environment dictates, thereby adopting the ideal balance between enhanced protection and lethality. Revision’s approach to design is centered on the single most important aspect to any system: the user, according to the firm. “Offering superior protection to the warfighter is paramount at Revision, and remains the number one factor that drives the development of all our product designs,” said Jonathan Blanshay, Revision Military CEO. Employing user-centered design, Revision’s design team went to extreme lengths to ensure that the Batlskin head protection system could provide enhanced performance without compromising on its superior protection, Revision stated. Providing lightweight wearability, choice of configuration, compatibility with existing in-service equipment, ease-of-use and a unique look, the Batlskin head protection system skillfully addresses the evolving needs of the modern soldier, according to the company.

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Capabilities Enabler

Q& A

Fostering New Capabilities to Ensure Warfighters Win

Lieutenant General Keith C. Walker Director Army Capabilities Integration Center

Lieutenant General Keith C. Walker assumed duties as the deputy commanding general, futures and director, Army Capabilities Integration Center [ARCIC] on August 15, 2011. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science degree. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University, 1984. His military education includes the Armor Officer Basic Course, Infantry Officer Advanced Course, Army Command and General Staff College, and the Army War College. Commissioned an armor officer in 1976, Walker served in a variety of positions in the United States, Europe and Iraq, including command of Alpha Troop, 1st Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment; 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor, 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized); and 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division. Walker has served as platoon leader, troop executive officer, squadron transportation section commander, S-3 of 1st Battalion, 69th Armor and S-3 of 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized). He was an instructor in the department of social sciences, United States Military Academy. He has also served as an assistant G-3, chief of Resource Management Branch, 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized); and G-3, 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized), later re-designated 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized). In April 1999, Walker was assigned to SHAPE, Belgium, for duty as a special assistant to the supreme allied commander, Europe. In June 2001, he moved to Heidelberg, Germany, to serve as the executive officer to the commanding general, U.S. Army Europe. Walker served on the Department of the Army Staff as chief, Strategic Plans, Concepts, and Doctrine Division in 2002. He was assigned as chief of staff of the 1st Cavalry Division in August 2003, and served as the chief of staff of 1st Cavalry Division and TF Baghdad from March 2004 through March 2005. In May 2005, he returned to the Pentagon, assigned to the Joint Staff J5 as chief, Iraq Division; and in June 2006, he transferred to the Department of the Army staff as the deputy director for strategy, plans and policy, G-3/5. In July 2007, he reported to Fort Riley, Kan., as the deputy commanding general (Operations), 1st Infantry Division. He served 16 | GCT 3.7

as commanding general, Iraq Assistance Group, from June 2008 through July 2009. Prior to his arrival to the Army Capabilities Integration Center, Lieutenant General Walker served as the commander, Brigade Modernization Command, Fort Bliss, Texas, from August 2009 to July 2011. Q: As the ARCIC director, how do you view the period of transition the Army now faces? A: We are currently transitioning from an Army of over 1 million with about 580,000 active component to an Army of 490,000 active component. This transition will happen as we approach a completely different environment with completely different planning guidance. This new framework sets up ARCIC’s Campaign of Learning, which you may know informs the development of our future concepts. Concepts are important because they determine what capabilities our soldiers and formations need to accomplish what our nation asks of them. Change in the Army is the result of adaptation and innovation. Adaptation is usually a rapid response to a situation requiring immediate attention, such as a crisis or conflict. The outcomes of www.GCT-kmi.com


adaptation are often just-in-time—or are good enough—but can improve over time. Adaptation is often transitory in nature and near term in focus. The thrust of change over the last 10 years has been that of adapting to the demands of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Innovation, on the other hand, comes from a methodical development of possible solutions to longer-term problems. In a sense, it derives from the dialectic of thesis, antithesis and synthesis inherent in our war games, experimentation, and other initiatives that comprise our Campaign of Learning. Because innovation focuses on the mid to far-term future, these activities evolve over time and therefore are more durable. ARCIC serves as both the author of Army concepts and the integrator for capabilities. As we conclude the war in Afghanistan and look to the Army in 2020 and beyond, we must assess and understand the changing geo-strategic landscape and take a balanced adaptive and innovative approach to the future, which incorporates a solid assessment of risk based on the reality of shrinking defense funds. Of course, the availability of time and resources impact both the adaptive and innovative aspects of this change, which is why I often like to paraphrase Winston Churchill: “Gentlemen, we are out of money. It’s time to think!” Q: How do you assess progress in the ground combat vehicle [GCV] program? A: The GCV, which is now in its technology development phase, is our highest priority within the combat vehicle portfolio. The GCV brings a new level of mobile protected firepower with full network to the force. We will also build in incremental growth potential into this next-generation infantry fighting vehicle while providing the ability to carry a full nine-man squad into a full range of potential scenarios. This infantry fighting vehicle will be survivable, mobile, networked and will protect the soldiers it carries—we are making progress toward realizing this vision. In parallel, our analysis continues to establish an affordable acquisition solution to replace an aging fleet of M113 family of vehicles. Stryker vehicles are another major part of the combat vehicle modernization portfolio where we are examining options for fleet size and configuration. For example, the Network Integration Evaluation [NIE] at Fort Bliss and White Sands Missile Range includes the evaluation of industry solutions that may help the Army deal with size, weight, power and cooling issues for current combat vehicles. Finding the right network mix of capability to outfit the combat vehicle fleet is essential to our future. The mainstays of the combat vehicle portfolio—Abrams, Bradley, Stryker—are part of our GCV assessment, as formations will include a blend of these vehicles. Q: Viewing the upcoming NIE 13.2 in April 2013, how near is the point where warriors at the edge will be fully netted, with all the information they need to prevail against the enemy? A: NIE 12.2, conducted in May-June 2012, was the largest NIE accomplished to date and the first full brigade-level validation of Capability Set [CS] 13 [network architecture] conducted in a realistic, complex threat environment. NIE 12.2 established the CS 13 baseline the Army is currently fielding to deploying brigade combat teams [BCTs]. NIE 13.1 and 13.2 will build upon the success of NIE www.GCT-kmi.com

12.2 with goals to include initial evaluations of the Capability Set 14, including integration of key network elements into armored combat platforms, continued network operations convergence and assessments of operations-intelligence convergence. NIE 13.1 took place in October and November 2012, and was conducted by the 3,800 soldiers of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division [2/1 AD], and managed by the NIE triad—the Brigade Modernization Command [BMC], Army Test and Evaluation Command, and System of Systems Integration Directorate. 2/1 AD is a well-trained unit of exceptional soldiers. Not only do these 2/1 AD soldiers train for combat, but they learn to use equipment that has not yet been fielded to the Army. They evaluate this equipment in a tactical operational environment, assess solutions, and provide detailed feedback to the Army. 2 BCT, 1 AD is not a “test unit.” Much of the credibility of NIE evaluations lies in the fact that 2/1 AD is a regular BCT that trains like any other brigade in the Army; it simply has the mission of evaluating potential capability solutions across the DOTMLPF [Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership and Education, Personnel and Facilities] capabilities and providing rigorous feedback during NIE. NIE 13.1 includes several tests for programs of record, an additional distributed test for record at Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz., and evaluation of more than 20 industry and government capabilities. For example, Nett Warrior will conduct its initial operational test and evaluation as part of NIE 13.1. NIEs are critical to executing the network strategy and fielding current technology, while being fiscally responsible. Through the NIE we assess potential network and non-network solutions in a complex operational environment to determine whether they perform as needed, conform to the network architecture, and are interoperable with existing systems. These evaluations also ensure that the network satisfies the functional requirements of the force, and relieves the end user of the technology integration burden. The NIEs allow for soldier-driven evaluations and assessments of network technologies as well as aiding the Army in development of tactics, techniques and procedures, or TTPs. Employing an operational brigade to evaluate network and nonnetwork solutions allows us to push capabilities to the edge. Soldiers and leaders are key to determining how much and what kind of information they need for mounted and dismounted operations. This dynamic approach is essential to keeping pace with the changes in technologies. Q: In this time of defense funding austerity, what cost-saving and efficiency moves has ARCIC already instituted? A: In many ways ARCIC serves as the think tank for the Army, focused on developing an agile and adaptive Army that meets current, future and unexpected requirements of the joint force. ARCIC moves toward this end state via six major cross-cutting activities: the Campaign of Learning, which I have already mentioned, the Army Concept Framework, capability/formation-based assessments, integrated evaluations, capability needs assessment, and capability portfolio reviews. Each of these activities involves making resource-informed decisions based on cost-benefit assessments. The Army’s Campaign of Learning is a series of war games, seminars, experiments and studies designed to inform our concept development. We reach out across the Army, joint services, multinational partners, GCT  3.7 | 17


academia and think tanks to learn what is possible and to analyze ideas. Second is the development of the Army Concept Framework [ACF], which drives intellectual change on how the Army operates and develops required capabilities. The ACF includes the Army Capstone Concept, Army Operating Concept and the follow-on Army Functional Concepts. Third are refinements to capability-based assessments, and in the future, formationbased assessments, that translate concepts into requirements. Fourth are integrated evaluations, which ARCIC’s BMC executes with its Army Test and Evaluation Command and System of Systems Integration Directorate partners, using the Agile Capabilities Lifecycle Process to speed change, save the Army money, and to more intelligently get future capabilities into the hands of soldiers. The fifth activity is accomplished through the capability needs assessment priority list The ground combat vehicle is the highest ARCIC combat vehicle priority. [Photo courtesy of BAE Systems] designed to be the single go-to authority on Army capability gaps. Finally, the last initiative involves an active role in the Department of The Army is exploring more fuel-efficient vehicles for combat, the Army Capability Portfolio Review process, to which ARCIC and the better fuel management systems and alternative fuels, which reduce Centers of Excellence contribute requirements-development leaderour logistical footprint and provide soldiers flexibility, agility and ship across all portfolios. longevity on the battlefield. We have and will continue to use NIEs, as well as deploying batQ: What sort of energy savings do you envision coming from operatalions, to evaluate a variety of equipment and technologies that have tional energy over the next five years? the potential to improve our operational energy posture. Potential solutions include a JP8-powered 1kW generator, a JP8-powered 1kW A: The Army is improving mission effectiveness through Army power fuel cell, a modular universal battery charger, and the Soldier Worn and energy advancements. For example, the Army is fielding advanced Integrated Power Equipment System. medium mobile power sources [generators] to Afghanistan, which use 20 percent less fuel than current generators. Q: How much battery weight can be removed from heavilyOperational energy performance drives operational effectiveness burdened warriors, as alternative means of powering electronic gear through improved mobility, agility, flexibility, resilience and sustainmove to the field? ability. Smart energy will help us win the fight. Improving our operational energy posture will help reduce costs while preserving future A: Reducing the weight carried by soldiers has been a challenge since choices down to the tactical level. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs the time of the Roman Legions. As one element reduces weight, of Staff once explained how you can locate a dismounted patrol by another may call for carrying more weight to provide more capabilfollowing the trail of dead batteries left behind. Clearly we must do ity. This has been the case with much of the soldier network solubetter—and we can. tions. There is a clear need for better dismounted communications, We see integrating operational energy thought processes into the and the solutions usually include more weight for network hardware Army’s culture much as we view ammunition management. This is and power generation. Decreasing a soldier’s load is a challenge, and a comprehensive approach to energy-informed behaviors, includthe Maneuver Center of Excellence is working it hard. ing integration of energy management into training, education and One near term solution is the Soldier Worn Integrated Power exercises. Equipment System [SWIPES]. SWIPES integrates power sources Army formations need enough power and energy in the right carried by the soldier to reduce energy weight for three-day patrols form, at the right place and the right time to conduct modern miliby 30 percent while providing power to multiple peripherals from tary operations. The Army is already undertaking a range of initiatives a lightweight, body conforming battery. To date, more than 1,700 to address operational energy challenges by deploying solutions at SWIPES have been procured for immediate fielding. SWIPES is brigade- and battalion-sized operating bases throughout Afghanistan currently fielded to 1-82nd Airborne BCT, 173rd Airborne BCT, 4th and Iraq. Solutions are part of a balanced approach with increased BCT 10th Mountain Division, 2nd BCT 1st Armored Division, and performance, reduced consumption, increased efficiency and assured scheduled to be fielded to an additional five brigades throughout the availability. Clearly one size does not fit all when it comes to providing year. operational energy. 18 | GCT 3.7

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army capabilities integration center

Lt. Gen. Keith Walker Director Army Capabilities Integration Center

2012

Maj. Gen. Arthur Bartell Deputy Director Army Capabilities Integration Center

Sgt. Maj. Tyrone Johnson Command Sergeant Major

Rickey E. Smith Director Army Capabilities Integration Center Forward

John Robertson Deputy Director Army Capabilities Integration Center Forward

Allan Resnick Director Analysis & Integration

Ben Hammond Deputy Director Analysis & Integration

Maj. Gen. William C. Hix Director Concept Development & Learning

Michael Starry Deputy Director Concept Development & Learning

Brig. Gen. Randal Dragon Commanding General Brigade Modernization Command

Col. David M. Miller Deputy Commander Brigade Modernization Command

Brig. Gen. John Regan Director Requirements Integration

Ed Mazzanti Deputy Director Requirements Integration

Ted Melton Director International Army Programs


We see incremental improvements that will take SWIPES towards the Integrated Soldier Power and Data System [ISPDS]. The ISPDS will allow not only the movement and management of worn power, but the movement and management of data from multiple worn peripherals onto a common end-user device like NETT Warrior. Reducing the soldier’s load is not limited to electronics. The Army is pursuing lighter body armor, ammunition and weapons, along with robots to carry the squad’s gear and supplies. For example, the shoulder launched munitions and close combat missile systems combine to fulfill the squad’s requirement for lightweight shoulder launched munitions that can overmatch the current and future enemies in urban close, and compartmentalized environments, fortified positions, bunkers, counterdefilade threats and lightly armored vehicles. Q: What is your assessment of how well requirements have been developed for tactical wheeled vehicles? A: Adaptive enemies using improvised explosive devices and other weapons highlighted shortfalls in force protection. As the Army adapted tactical wheeled vehicles for missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, the so-called iron triangle of protection, payload and performance drove the physics behind adapting current vehicles and pushing for longer-term solutions. For example, the Army and the Marine Corps worked hard to develop the trades necessary for the joint light tactical vehicle program to move forward. Each service retained the minimum essential operational requirements needed for the program while finding an affordable solution within acceptable technology risks. This is a great example of rebalancing adaptation to innovation in our approach to providing wheeled vehicle capabilities. As the Army faces a significant reduction in future funding, reducing the total number of Army trucks is an area we are assessing. We are going to reduce the number of trucks we have in the total fleet to match force structure reductions, and are conducting a comprehensive assessment of wheeled vehicle requirements in our formations to ensure we have the right mix of wheeled vehicles in the fleet. Q: What is the best way to limit requirements creep in an era of military austerity? A: ARCIC works within four lines of effort to develop, evaluate, integrate and communicate Army concepts and capabilities. Socalled requirements creep tends to come from past shortfalls in developing, evaluating, integrating, and communicating operational requirements and the corresponding materiel specifications for a given system. Over-reaching for technology can be just as bad as under-estimating a threat, as the underlying driver for changing requirements. First, ARCIC develops concepts—what the Army must do and how the Army fights—and capabilities—what the Army can do— that provide affordable solutions to meet warfighter needs. Next, through evaluation and production of resource-informed assessments, ARCIC informs Army modernization. These assessments factor in diverse considerations across DOTMLPF. Third, through integration, ARCIC ensures that soldiers and units have capabilities that are integrated across DOTMLPF, 20 | GCT 3.7

war fighting functions and formations—all at the right time. Lastly, by engaging government, the joint force, industry, media and Army stakeholders, ARCIC actively strives to ensure they understand and resource Army concepts and priority capability requirements. Shortcuts in the intellectual or analytical underpinnings can often lead to changing requirements. However, changes in the environment, including resource reductions—reality—also impact requirements. Our role is to best position Army formations for current, future and unforeseen demands. Q: What is the way ahead for Army small arms? A: While Army small arms weapons have improved significantly over the past decade, we are aggressively updating these weapons through the Army’s Comprehensive Small Arms Strategy. The strategy’s approach is informed by the threats and weaknesses, strengths and opportunities available to our small arms portfolio. It is founded on a holistic capability-based assessment in order to ensure that our soldiers maintain unparalleled lethality in any operational environment, against any potential enemy— now and in the future. Performance, reliability and durability, weight, safety, and affordability are the principal criteria for decisions involving small arms improvements and modernization. The Maneuver Center of Excellence’s analysis includes soldier feedback from post-combat surveys along with other user assessments. Overmatching and defeating the enemy in close combat drives continuous improvements and adaptations in weapons, optics/enablers, ammunition, communications, and training, as well as the soldier’s access to indirect fire, mobile protected firepower, and joint capabilities. Achieving the needed combat capability is more than simply weapons engineering. The Army is addressing training, ammunition and enablers. Our assessment noted that dramatic increases in weapons capabilities can be achieved by changing the ancillaries such as ammunition, sights, optics, lasers, suppressors and advanced fire control systems. The Army will sustain the changes we have made in weapons training for soldiers, such as rifle qualification in full body armor during one station unit training and basic combat training, while we look for more training improvements that address how this generation of soldiers learns. Q: Do you have any final thoughts concerning ARCIC, its mission, and the men and women who perform its work every day? A: Filling the role as the Army’s concept and capabilities architect is a mission that requires the integration of stakeholders across the Army, and we are fortunate to be part of this team effort. The realities of future conflict compel us to adapt ideas in order to out-think potential adversaries. The complex future environment demands that we seek out new ideas, concepts and capabilities to ensure that our soldiers and their formations have the tools to prevent, shape and win when our nation commits them to action. We are blessed with a dedicated team of professionals who not only accept the reality of change, but know that we must embrace change in order to ensure that the Army can provide the capabilities that joint force commanders need. O www.GCT-kmi.com


Pistols gain reliability, accuracy advances. By Peter Buxbaum GCT Correspondent

DoD has made some minor changes to the original Beretta pistol. In September, the U.S. Army announced that Beretta USA was De Plano’s remarks suggest that improvements to sidearms that awarded a contract for up to 100,000 9 mm caliber pistols. Two iniBeretta has since developed could serve the military well. tial orders for 5,300 pistols have since been released to the company. Although the M9 is the military’s standard issue firearm, there With that announcement, the Beretta M9, the handgun in are other sidearms that have been acquired by the various armed question, retained its position as the standard sidearm of the U.S. services. In fact, each of the armed services, as well as some of the Army. The company first won a joint contract through the Army special operations groups, have acquired other sidearms geared to produce sidearms for the military in the mid-1980s, and since toward their special needs. then has supplied over 600,000 9 mm pistols to all the branches Before the M9 was selected in 1985, the Colt 1911 prevailed of the U.S. armed forces as well as the Coast Guard. Beretta USA as the Army’s standard-issue firearm. Since then, the Colt is Corp., founded in 1977, is part of Beretta Defense Technologies, a still used by special operations groups. “The Colt 1911 was first family-owned company based in Italy, which has been manufacturintroduced into the U.S. military in 1911,” said ing firearms since 1527. Jeffrey Radziwon, director of sales and marketing In choosing the Beretta weapon, the Army opted operations at Colt Defense LLC. Since the adoption for the tried and true. The military supplies sidearms of the Beretta 9 mm, “the orders for the Colt to its personnel designed to stop targets within 50 1911 ceased. However, the military never stopped meters. purchasing spare parts, and continued to modify and “We are very proud to continue supplying the upgrade their inventory’s stockpiles over the years ... M9 pistols to the U.S. Army,” said Gabriele de Plano, From that time on, existing 1911s have seen most Beretta USA’s vice president for military marketing interaction with special forces and the like. The spare and sales. “We look forward to the opportunity of parts are currently still sought to this day to retrofit working with the Army to improve the current M9 the existing models, which attests to the quality and design with many of the existing solutions availGabriele de Plano durability of a pistol now 101 years old.” able to us in the new model 92A1 and 96A1 pistol Because DoD owns the technical data package for families.” the M9, the Army could have chosen any qualified manufacturer to Ever since the original M9 contract, the Department of Defense produce the weapons. Beretta won a full and open competition, said has owned the technical data package for the weapon that Beretta de Plano, although the Army did not publicize the names of the other calls the 92FS pistol and which the military has designated the M9. www.GCT-kmi.com

GCT  3.7 | 21


contenders, nor whether the Army was considering the acquisition of another weapon. “We have won three contract competitions beginning in 1985,” said de Plano. “There had been a lull in orders because the military had enough sidearms in stock, but recently the [contract] was re-solicited.” De Plano believes the Army was favorably impressed with the M9’s performance in Iraq and Afghanistan, where it has been in service since the beginning of the U.S.’s involvement in that region. Since 1987, Beretta USA has manufactured 1.4 million pistols of the M9 category, most of which have been delivered to the U.S. armed forces and to foreign military customers such as Kuwait, Iraq, Colombia, Panama and other Caribbean countries. Military pistols go through a battery of performance tests including durability and reliability testing, testing for compatibility with different types of ammunition, and targeting and accuracy testing at a range of 50 meters. “Each pistol is subjected to hundreds of dimensional inspections and dozens of performance tests,” said de Plano. “Almost 10 million rounds have been fired through military-issue Beretta M9 pistols at Beretta USA. During the course of this testing, these pistols have averaged only one malfunction every 21,500 rounds.” The fact the Beretta won the latest contract round proves that the military is satisfied with the weapon’s performance. But that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t come under some criticism, as de Plano readily admits. “The M9 has proven itself to be a workhorse combat pistol, as proved out in Iraq, Afghanistan and other harsh environments,” said de Plano. “The weapon was designed in the 1970s, and by the time we got orders from the United States, it was already in service with militaries around the world for 10 years or more.” But during the first Gulf War, in the early 1990s, the M9 was tagged for being unable to cope with the environment to which it was subjected. “When the Army went to battle in a desert environment, it was exposed to a fine sand that was getting in everything from weapons to mechanical system,” said de Plano. “This talcum powder sand was a new experience for this generation of warfighters.” To cope with this situation, Beretta designed a sand resistant magazine with which to equip the M9. “The armed services purchased that product in some quantity and also pursued some other solutions,” said de Plano. Another problem associated with the M9 involved the phosphate finish the Army ordered, which tends to absorb oil and is popular on military firearms. “Oil absorption is usually a good thing,” said de Plano. “But in a sandy environment it was retaining sand with the oil. The Army also had some problems with after-market magazines that we were blamed for. The Army has since gone to a dry film lubrication that doesn’t retain so much oil.” Some have also opined that the military should be issuing a biggercaliber sidearm to warfighters. “That was the military’s choice,” said de Plano. “Besides, the pistol has done very well and is still performing very well. Otherwise the Army wouldn’t have issued the latest contract for it.” The M9’s frame is fabricated from an aircraft-quality aluminum alloy and includes high-capacity steel magazines of 10 or 20 rounds. The external hammer design is a traditional design feature of Beretta pistols and reduces the possibility of misfires. The rear sight—a white three-dot pattern for target acquisition— allows the user to retract the slide by pushing the rear sight against the edge of a table, door, or other object in case of emergency. The weapon also includes several safety features such as a spring-loaded 22 | GCT 3.7

ambidextrous safety lever, front and back grooves on the grip, and an indicator that the chamber is loaded. The changes made by the U.S. military over the years to the design that it owns include cosmetic changes to the finishes and markings and some different materials specifications, according to de Plano. The Colt 1911 has also undergone upgrades in machinery, which allows for stronger materials and greater production rates. “Slide serrations, ambidextrous features in magazine release and thumb safeties have also been implemented more recently,” said Radziwon. “We’ve also focused on decreasing the weight, while simultaneously increasing the service life. The most prominent feature would be the integral rail mount for capability of mounting user-chosen accessories.” The 1911 comes in .38 caliber and .45 caliber variants, making that the obvious contrast to the M9. As a result, “there are also differences in magazine capacity, weight, overall dimensions and stopping power,” said Radziwon. “The Beretta 9 mm is a double/single action weapon, while the 1911 is solely single action.” The Marine Corps has acquired a variant of the M9 known as the M9A1. “The M9A1 evolved from the base design of the M9 pistol,” said de Plano, “with some added features.” These include a Picatinny 1913 rail for attachment of tactical lights and laser aiming devices, a sandresistant magazine, a magazine well that facilitates fast reloads, and a physical vapor deposition coating that reduces friction. “Warfighters take their standard issue sidearms for the vast majority of their missions,” said Tim Butler, pistols product manager at Sig Sauer “They function as a back-up gun for everything from a sniper rifle to a close combat rifle.” Sig Sauer supplies two sidearms to the U.S. military: the MK25 for the Naval Special Warfare Command and the M11, which was acquired by the Navy and supplied to all military branches. The MK25 is a full-sized weapon that has been in service since the 1980s. It was originally developed as a non-rail pistol, but has since been equipped with a 1913 Picatinny rail that can accommodate night vision equipment. “All parts are corrosive resistant and are coated with phosphate and/or nickel,” said Butler. The M11 is a compact firearm used mostly for aircraft pilots and investigation services personnel within all branches. “It is a suitable sidearm for anyone not needing a full-sized pistol,” said Butler. The key characteristic special operators want out of their sidearms is endurance, according to Butler. “The big part is to be able to hold up under abusive conditions,” he said. “The corrosion protection enables working around water. The 1913 rail is important, and the sights have … a night vision capability. The stainless frame and nitron diamond carbon finish allows the weapon the hold up to adverse conditions.” The MK25 includes several of the same attributes as the M9 in terms of size and capacity, said Butler. “Where it excels is in the materials used,” he said. “Holding up to adverse conditions makes it superior. Both are good endurance guns.” The MK25 was the runner-up to the M9 when the Army initially chose the latter weapon in the 1980s. “It was costs that motivated the Army to go with the M9,” said Butler, “but that was when the Navy picked up the MK25. Years later the M11 was adopted for the other organizations. We continued to get inquiries from special operations and other lower level groups about our weapons.” Les Baer Custom Inc. builds custom weapons, including sidearms. “We produce about 300 a year, all custom built,” said Les Baer Sr., the company president. “It takes forever to build them. It is mostly special operations groups that buy them and most of those individuals pay for them out of their own pockets.” And the www.GCT-kmi.com


prices are not cheap: between $1,300 and $1,700 for each weapon, depending on the options desired. Why would a special operator shell out his own money for a weapon? “We make them reliable, tight and accurate,” said Baer. “That is what we are known for. That is what these special operations groups are looking for and we take a lot of pride in that. We make the guns the same way it was done in the 1930s. It takes three hours of hand fitting by very skilled workers after all the parts are machined.” The new Baer 1911 Ultimate Recon Pistol is a 5-inch .45 caliber sidearm equipped with night sights. The weapon includes a Picatinny rail system that is integrated with the frame. “Mounting a tactical light for instant illumination is easy and practical and comes equipped with a standard light,” said Baer. “I don’t see any drastic changes coming up. Our weapons are proven workhorses that are really accurate and reliable.” But Baer won’t be bidding on any big contracts anytime soon. “We are not big enough to bid on those types of contracts,” he said. “We can bid contracts for 50 weapons, but not thousands at a time.” In 2010, Beretta launched two new models within its 92 series of pistols: the 92A1 and the 96A1, which are both available in 9 mm and .40 caliber Smith & Wesson. “This evolution of the series includes increased capacity magazines, removable front sights and accessory rails,” said de Plano. The magazines hold 17 rounds in 9 mm—up from 15 rounds— and 12 rounds in the .40 caliber S&W, and are interchangeable with magazines in the 92 family. “The removable front sight allows the user to easily replace a damaged sight or replace it with an accessory sight,” said de Plano. “The M9 has a fixed sight, which is more rugged, but the removable sight makes the newer models more flexible. The frame of the A1 has an integral 1913 rail for rapid attachment of tactical lights and laser aiming devices.” Colt and Sig Sauer are also upgrading their portfolios of weapons. “The current Colt design has been around for 101 years,” said Radziwon. “And while it’s never to say that a timeless masterpiece cannot be improved upon, the 101 years of continued service certainly attests to its flawless design. Future developments are currently in-house confidential.” Butler can’t discuss details about Sig Sauer’s development efforts either. “We have an ambitious development program for our pistols,” he said. New product announcements will be made within six months to a year.

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“We want the Army to know that we haven’t been standing still,” said de Plano. “We have been proposing these improvements to the Army that we think could be of interest. The Army may be interested in going up to a .40 caliber weapon. It would require some effort on their part to get it into the military system, but that would be their choice.” As an alternative to upping the caliber, de Plano also suggested that the Army consider adopting higher performance ammunition. “Going to a bigger caliber is a knee-jerk reaction,” he said. High performance ammunition, which is lighter, faster and more powerful than conventional rounds, “could improve the stopping power that some people complain the 9 mm doesn’t have enough of.” Beretta could also make the M9 smaller and lighter as part of a development project. “We are always exploring ways to make handguns more compact and lighter,” said de Plano. “When every ounce counts, it would take some burden off the solider. We make some changes in the 92A1 in component geometry and materials to reduce the weight and extend the life of the weapon without affecting performance.” De Plano also suggested that the U.S. military switch from the traditional military black to the brown color with which Beretta has finished some of its non-military weaponry. “The brown blends better with the environment and the black sticks out like a sore thumb on night-vision equipment,” he explained. The military could also order a sound and signature suppression design on its standard issue sidearm. “We could modify the barrel to accommodate those features,” said de Plano. “Sound suppression is being incorporated on many weapons to prevent hearing loss. Signature suppression makes it more difficult for the enemy to identify the location of a shot.” Finally, de Plano recommended that the Army start viewing pistols as a system and not just a stand-alone purchase. “That would enable us to design accessories such as laser target designators and tactical lights as part of the pistol,” he said, “much like the Army acquires sniper systems. It makes more sense to look at sidearms as a system rather than as a piecemeal purchase.” O For more information, contact GCT Editor Dave Ahearn at davea@kmimediagroup.com or search our online archives for related stories at www.gct-kmi.com.

GCT  3.7 | 23


U.S. forces aim to make sniper rifles more capable and easier to use. By Marc Selinger GCT Correspondent U.S. troops have used sniper rifles extensively in Afghanistan and Iraq over the past decade to covertly counter hostile forces. That real-world experience has helped guide a series of ongoing and future efforts to make the guns more lethal and warfighter-friendly. Snipers play a dual role on the battlefield. They not only identify and eliminate enemy targets at long ranges but also provide vital intelligence on hostile forces, such as those planting improvised explosive devices. “They are a definite combat multiplier to the tactical commanders on the ground,” said Lieutenant Colonel Shawn Lucas, product manager for individual weapons in the Army’s Project Manager Soldier Weapons office. “It’s not only with the kinetic 24 | GCT 3.7

effects that they’re capable of providing but also with their ability to provide tactical information, real time, from their hides.” Colonel Sean Gibson, spokesman for the Marine Corps Combat Development Command, said Marine scout snipers give military commanders “a tremendous capability,” including the “ability to selectively eliminate the enemy without hurting non-combatants” and the “ability to wear down the enemy psychologically.” That value “will continue to grow as we

continue to refine their training, tactical employment and equipment,” Gibson added. Among the most-watched sniper equipment modernization programs is Special Operation Command’s (SOCOM’s) boltaction, multi-caliber precision sniper rifle (PSR), which SOCOM’s fiscal year 2013 budget request describes as a replacement for existing medium-caliber weapons. www.GCT-kmi.com


“The PSR, through a system [enhanced rifle and ammunition] approach, will provide a significant increase in precision and anti-personnel engagement distances to 1,500 meters,” according to the document. A one-paragraph summary published in FedBizOpps describes PSR as “designed to address the operational effectiveness and [special operations forces] sniper survivability over the current inventory of www.GCT-kmi.com

sniper weapons. The major components of the PSR system are: rifle, ammunition, magazines, sound suppressor including a mirage-mitigating device, operator manual, sling, cleaning kit, bipod, drag bag, and hard carrying case. These items have been determined to be a commercial item and are intended to fulfill the approved USSOCOM requirement for a PSR.” At press time, SOCOM was reviewing industry bids for PSR. SOCOM spokesman Ken McGraw said, “We expect to award the contract in about mid-January

[2013].” He declined to comment on other aspects of the program. “We are still in the source-selection process and just can’t go into any details beyond those published in FedBizOpps,” McGraw said. He added that SOCOM officials “should be in a better position” to discuss program details in the spring of 2013. Contractors are eager to win the PSR contract not only because SOCOM might buy thousands of rifles but because it could influence purchases by other forces, including the Army, Marines and international militaries. “It’s a huge opportunity,” said Gabriele de Plano, vice president of military marketing and sales for Beretta USA, which is offering the TRG M10 made by sister company Sako, based in Finland. “Besides the financial reward, the prestige of having our system selected as the SOCOM official sniper rifle is huge.” But whether PSR will be robustly funded remained unclear at press time. Gun manufacturers were bracing for the possibility GCT  3.7 | 25


that sniper programs would be scaled back or canceled due to federal budget constraints. “There could be many programs on the chopping block,” said Gregory Baradat, director of domestic sales, military and federal, for Remington Defense, which is offering its Modular Sniper Rifle for PSR. Remington Defense is part of Remington Arms Co., based in Madison, N.C. As part of the competition, Beretta and Remington fired their rifles in accuracy tests at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, Ind., in early 2012, according to de Plano and Baradat. Stephen Barrier, a gun builder at Surgeon Rifles, based in Prague, Okla., said his company is offering a version of its Remedy rifle that incorporates a stock made by England’s Accuracy International. Accuracy also entered its own AX rifle into the competition. FN Herstal, of Belgium, has touted its Ballista submission. SOCOM has already awarded a $34 million contract to Schmidt & Bender to supply its 5-25X56 PMII scope for PSR. Based in Germany, the company called the award “the most important precision sniper scope contract the U.S. military forces awarded in the last few years.”

Army For the Army, “going to a PSR is a part of our sniper modernization strategy,” Lucas said. “The Army is taking a serious look at leveraging the SOCOM requirement and making that an Army requirement. However, we’re not there yet. It’s still pre-decisional.” The Army could decide how to proceed within a year, Lucas added. Baradat said the Army could acquire PSR as a replacement for the XM2010 Enhanced Sniper Rifle, which was “supposed to be a gap-filler until they got a PSR requirement.” The XM 2010 “was to fulfill a 1,200-meter requirement, and PSR is to fulfill a 1,500-meter requirement,” he said. The Army has already hired Remington to upgrade more than 2,500 bolt-action, 1980s-vintage M24 Sniper Weapon Systems to the XM2010 designation. The XM2010 enhancement extends the range of the rifle from 800 meters to 1,200 meters. Other improvements include a sound suppressor, a more powerful scope and a folding buttstock. The XM2010 began seeing service in 26 | GCT 3.7

Afghanistan in 2011, and is scheduled to be fully fielded by 2014. Soldiers newly equipped with the XM2010 have given the modernized weapon high marks overall, according to Baradat and Lucas. “The feedback we’re getting is that soldiers love it,” Baradat said. Users of the XM2010 have requested “a couple of improvements … and we’re working with Remington to address those, but it’s mostly just form-and-fit kinds of items,” Lucas said. “As far as its operational effectiveness, we’ve received a lot of positive feedback from guys in the field.” The Army also wants to replace or upgrade its Knight’s Armament-built M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System (SASS), whose range is 800 meters. The Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System program aims to trim the M110’s weight and improve its accuracy, ergonomics, portability and reliability. The Army plans to issue a draft request for proposals (RFP). “The 110, because it’s semi-automatic, is really designed to be used in urban-type environments where you’re going to have multiple engagements in a rapid fashion,” Lucas explained. “It’s primarily being used as a complementary weapon system usually carried by the spotter in Army sniper teams. They use their longer-range boltaction rifle for more precise purposes.” The Army in July 2012 issued a request for information to determine the feasibility of providing a sniper weapon collimator (SWC) for the M110 and XM2010. The SWC would reduce the need to fire rounds to focus a weapon on a target. The Army plans to decide within the next six months whether to proceed with an RFP. “We’re going to assess the marketplace, we’re going to see how readily available it is and then we’ll make a decision,” said Robert Galeazzi, chief of the Precision Weapons Division in the Army’s Project Manager Soldier Weapons office. “We’re looking for a pretty precise piece of equipment. We also want them to be universal for all of our guns. That adds a little complexity to the picture.” The Army is exploring potential longterm advances, such as allowing snipers or spotters to share scope-generated images and target location information with other forces over a network. It would be akin to the capability that many aircraft already have to send images to other forces.

“That’s something we’re definitely interested in and are working within our science and technology community to try to bring to bear,” Lucas said. “We’re looking at it with a horizon of 2020.” Other possible improvements include digital image processing to compensate for heat shimmers, which are visual distortions caused by hot weather, and automating the targeting process to reduce the number of calculations a sniper has to make in his head. “The technology’s out there,” Galeazzi said. “It’s just a matter of packaging it.”

Marines The Marines have implemented or are pursuing a host of improvements, including reductions in weight and human errors and increases in precision and nighttime visibility, according to Marine Corps Systems Command. Specific advances include lighter rifle parts, enhanced ergonomics, lighter and more reliable ammunition, manufacturing procedures that reduce variability, and night optics. “The Marine Corps is also pursuing initiatives that reduce the signature of sniper weapons,” Captain Nicole Fiedler, a command spokeswoman, said in a written response to questions. “For example, the Marine Corps has added a suppressed capability to their sniper rifles to aid in audible and blast-signature reduction.” Fiedler added that a “number of manufacturers have been involved in providing these improvements and/or providing insight that led to improvements.” They include Knight’s Armament, based in Titusville, Fla., which supplies the M110 SASS. C. Reed Knight III with Knight’s Armament said the M110 “has evolved over the past decade to be much more reliable as well as more modular to allow the servicemembers to accommodate for mission specifics.” Other recent upgrades for the Marines include SureFire’s M40A5 sound suppressor, the scout sniper day scope provided by Premier Reticle and Schmidt & Bender, and ATK Federal’s AB39 ammunition, Fiedler said. O For more information, contact GCT Editor Dave Ahearn at davea@kmimediagroup.com or search our online archives for related stories at www.gct-kmi.com.

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The advertisers index is provided as a service to our readers. KMI cannot be held responsible for discrepancies due to last-minute changes or alterations.

GCT RESOURCE CENTER Advertisers Index American Innovations........................................................................... 27 www.americaninnovations.com Beretta.................................................................................................. C3 www.berettadefensetechnologies.com Leupold & Stevens................................................................................. C4 www.leupold.com Otis Technology....................................................................................... 7 www.otistec.com Revision Military................................................................................... C2 www.revisionmilitary.com TEA Headsets........................................................................................... 5 www.teaheadsets.com

Calendar January 15-18, 2013 Shot Show Las Vegas, Nev. www.shotshow.org January 28-31, 2013 Soldier Technology US Arlington, Va. www.soldiertechnologyusa.com

February 3-5, 2013 Tactical Wheeled Vehicles Conference Monterey, Calif. www.ndia.org/meetings/3530 February 17-21, 2013 IDEX Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates www.idexuae.ae

February 20-22, 2013 AUSA Winter Fort Lauderdale, Fla. www.ausa.org

April 10-11, 2013 Marine South Camp Lejeune, N.C. www.marinemilitaryexpos.com

February 25-27, 2013 Military Armor Protection Arlington, Va. www.militaryarmorprotection.com

May 20-23, 2013 Joint Armaments Conference, Exhibition and Live Firing Demonstration Seattle, Wash. www.ndia.org/meetings/2610

NEXTISSUE

February 2013 Volume 4, Issue 1

Cover and In-Depth Interview with:

General Frank J. Grass

Chief National Guard Bureau

Features

Special Section

Army Soldier Gear Vehicle Suspension Systems Mortars and Ammunition

While U.S. military vehicle programs may be limited as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq wind down, other nations are advancing a wide array of vehicle efforts.

International Vehicle Programs

Bonus Distribution AUSA Winter IDEX

Insertion Order Deadline: January 24, 2013 • Ad Materials Deadline: January 31, 2013 www.GCT-kmi.com

GCT  3.7 | 27


INDUSTRY INTERVIEW

Ground Combat Technology

Gabriele de Plano Vice President of Military Marketing & Sales Beretta USA Corp. Gabriele de Plano has been with Beretta USA for more than 25 years, holding various positions within the Engineering, Marketing and Product Development groups. When he joined the company in 1987, Beretta was in the process of setting up the U.S. manufacturing lines for the famous M9 pistol, having won the U.S. armed forces contract in 1985. He became Beretta USA’s first product manager in 1996 and vice president of product development in 2003. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a master’s degree from Columbia University, both in mechanical engineering. Q: What makes Beretta unique? A: Beretta is the world’s oldest industrial dynasty. Established in 1526, it can trace its roots through 15 generations of continuous family ownership. Today the Beretta Holding group employs over 2,600 personnel worldwide and includes several companies with a strong military product heritage. Our products, quality level, service and development capabilities are second to none. This has allowed us to recently create Beretta Defense Technologies. Q: Can you tell us more about Beretta Defense Technologies? A: Beretta Defense Technologies, or BDT, is our military group alliance, made up of the Beretta, Benelli, Sako and Steiner companies. It provides products and services for the defense community by combining the strengths and core competencies of the individual members, each possessing state-ofthe-art machinery, extensive R&D capabilities and military level quality. BDT products can respond to the ever-changing needs of our warfighters and provide unique system solutions. Q: What is Beretta’s greatest military accomplishment? A: In the United States it is clearly the M9, 9 mm, pistol. Beretta was awarded the contract 28 | GCT 3.7

Q: What else could the Army request in an improved pistol?

for the official U.S. armed forces sidearm in 1985 and has delivered almost 600,000 units over the years. This includes both FMS [foreign military sales] and U.S. Army contracts. We are very proud of having made every M9 pistol since 1987 at our Maryland facility, with an American workforce of almost 300 employees.

A: They have expressed an interest in a suppressor-ready barrel and possible modifications to the slide and safety levers. A ‘nonblack’ color may also be preferred in future weapon systems. We already have most of these solutions available in our commercial offerings or other military products, and could develop others as needed. Q: What other projects is BDT working on?

A: It is very active. On September 10, 2012, the U.S. Army awarded Beretta USA a contract for up to 100,000 pistols. Two delivery orders have already been released for over 5,300 pistols. All of the pistols will be manufactured at the Beretta USA facility. This order reconfirms the U.S. armed forces’ interest and support of the M9 pistol and we look forward to the opportunity of working with the Army to improve the current M9 design with many of the existing solutions available to us in the new Model 92A1 and 96A1 pistol families.

A: We have many exciting programs in the works. We are participating in the DHS PDW competition for an ultra-compact 5.56 caliber rifle, as well as in the U.S. Army’s Individual Carbine search for a possible future assault rifle. Our Sako TRG M10 multi-caliber rifle is also a candidate for the government’s future Precision Sniper Rifle. Beretta USA has submitted various responses to M4 carbine PIP [Product Improvement Program] solicitations and looks forward to competing in the upcoming Army CSASS program. Steiner continues to sell its high-quality optics to various military units around the country, and Benelli is having great success with its military and combat proven M4 [M1014 military designation] in the law enforcement market.

Q: What do these improvements consist of?

Q: What lies ahead for Beretta and BDT?

A: The “A1” family incorporates all of our improvements to the M9/92FS pistol design. An integral accessory rail is machined into the frame, while a removable front sight allows for easy replacement or an upgrade to tritium night sights. Many of the internal components have been improved upon to extend their service lives, while the frame now incorporates an energy buffer. The recoil spring is now a one piece, user friendly, assembly. Magazine capacity has also been increased from 15 to 17 rounds. The pistol is now also available in the more powerful .40 S&W caliber.

A: We look forward to building and maintaining a strong working relationship with our military customers around the world. We have already assisted many of them by providing solutions to their specific needs. Our group has advanced resources and capabilities in the virtual design and analysis of systems, allowing us to identify weaknesses even before the first prototype is made. This has, for example, allowed us to develop a 40 mm grenade launcher that only weighs 2 pounds, meeting our customer’s need for a lightweight accessory to complement its assault rifle. O

Q: What is the status of the M9?

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GCT 3-7 (Dec. 2012)  

Ground Combat Technology, Volume 3 Issue 7, December 2012

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