Army looks to new technology for possible follow-on to M-4

ARLINGTON, Va.-- Army and industry leaders gathered Thursday to exchange…

size1-armymil-2008-11-14-1226667492.gifARLINGTON, Va.– Army and industry leaders gathered Thursday to exchange information about the latest advances in small-arms technology.

The Army released a Request for Information Aug. 22 asking the weapons industry to see the latest, state-of-the-art, small-arms technology. Industry representatives brought examples of that technology to an invitation-only industry day here to show Secretary of the Army Pete Geren and representatives of the Army’s Program Executive Office-Soldier.

The industry day was meant to allow military decision makers, including those from the Air Force and the Marine Corps, to get a look at what technology is available from weapons manufacturers in the way of small-arms — in particular, for something that could be a follow-on to the M-4 carbine.

The Army is not ready today to buy new individual weapons for Soldiers beyond the M-4, said Col. Douglas A.Tamilio, project manager for Soldier Weapons.

In fact, Secretary Geren said the Army recently completed a purchase of 473,000 M-4 carbines. Geren said he is impressed with the M-4, and that the Army will continue to rely on industry to provide Soldiers with the best capabilities available.

“We are committed to the right capability and weapons for our Soldiers,” the secretary said, while addressing industry leaders. He also said the Army would likely continue to purchase the M-4.

But a changing threat environment means that in order to continue to provide Soldiers with the best weaponry, the Army must continue to look at the latest options for weapons, Tamilio said.

“We want to make sure we have the best capability for our Soldiers,” he said. “So we’ve got to get a good feel for what is out there.”

Tamilio said proliferation of better weapons and better body armor amongst America’s enemies means the Army must also look for better weapons. To that end, the secretary of the Army has directed the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command to create a requirements document for a new individual weapon for Soldiers.

That requirements document is expected to clear the Joint Requirements Oversight Committee next summer and a Request For Proposal might be released in September 2009, Tamilio said. With the release of an RFP, arms manufactures will compete to sell the Army a follow-on to the M-4.

During the industry day, more than a dozen weapons manufacturers — including Smith and Wesson, Sig Sauer, and Colt Defense — displayed their latest weapons technology for Army officials. Later, representatives from each vendor met with Army officials to discuss their wares.

Load Comments
  • Sgt Johnson

    Should have went with the M8. Its was tested by soldiers and everyone loved it hell I did but they should bring back that program for it.

  • Wade

    Making major changes in an army as large as ours is like turning an aircraft carrier at sea. It requires signaling the entire fleet. Because such changes involve massive amounts of time, energy, and cooperation, not to mention controversy, it’s expedient to hold steady until compelling reasons for change arise. In recent times our military came very close to adopting a new main rifle but wisely refrained because no weapon system yet produced offered improvements commensurate to the cost and trouble of switching. Like it or not, the M4 is popular with our troops and works quite well when it’s properly maintained. How many nations can boast of better armed solders than the US fighting man? If the M4 is so bad why are so many nations using them (some in thier elite forces no less)? And why is the weapon the overwhelming favorite of local police departments who can choose pretty much whatever they want? We’ll soon see enough gains in small arms technology to justify a change (If Obama and company don’t quash the civilian arms sector that drives most of the advancement). Until that day arrives, our troops are better served by us continuing to make incremental improvements such as rail systems, CQB optics, lasers, night vision, and needed specialty items such as new sniper and DMR weapon systems. But, with it being a free country in which to run one’s mouth, we’ll no doubt have one group crying for an entirely new battle rifle every 18 months while another group insists we return to the 50 year old M14.

  • deke thorton

    How much money are they getting in kickbacks to buy the M-4? They won’t change because its money in their pocket, they do not care about the troops out front. The M-4 has gone as far as its going, time to change boys, newer technology, no matter how greedy you are.