Army makes moves toward new carbine, blueprint awaiting approval from the Defense Department.

The Army is now following not one but two paths…

The Army is now following not one but two paths to give soldiers a better weapon than the current M4 carbine.

The Army launched an effort to find a new weapon in November 2008, a year after the M4 finished last in an Army reliability test involving three other carbines.

Officials hoped to start a competition for a new carbine last fall.

Army weapons officials said March 2 that the service still intends to go after a new carbine.

The requirement, or blueprint, for the new weapon, however is still awaiting approval from the Defense Department, said Col. Doug Tamilio, the head of Project Manager for Soldier Weapons.

“People have asked me how long it will be in the joint staff,” Tamilio said. “I don’t know when this will go through.”

Tamilio added that it could be late summer before the Joint Requirement Oversight Council makes a decision.

In the meantime, the Army is making progress on an effort to make significant improvements to the 500,000 M4s in the inventory.

Army weapons officials have asked the small arms industry “can you take the current M4 and make it more reliable, more durable, easier to maintain and more accurate,” Tamilio said. M4 modifications could include improvements to carbine parts, such as the bolt and bolt carrier assembly, upper receiver and barrel assembly, gas operating system, trigger group assembly and the rail system.

Improved M4s, however, will still be chambered for 5.56mm round. The next step in the M4 improvement program calls for the Army to release a draft request for proposal in the coming weeks. Gun makers will then have 30 days to come up with initial plans. The Army will then hold an industry day to allow gun makers to ask questions. The Army will then release an official request for proposal in the April-May time frame. Participating companies will have 90 to 120 days to submit “no-kidding pieces of equipment,” for the Army to evaluate, Tamilio said.

As for the effort to replace the M4, Army weapons officials said the service has the roughly $10 million it needs to open a competition but can’t set a date until the Joint Regiments Oversight Council approves the requirement for a new carbine.

Source: Staff report at Armytimes.com.

Load Comments
  • justin

    the french r u serious why would u use a weapon from a country thts never won a war

  • justin

    they should go with the new HK model

  • Johnny Lee

    I think the French has a better assault weapon platform then the US’s M4 called the FAMAS (a bullpup design) with a longer barrel chambered in the 5.56mm. The bull pup design allows for Close quarter combat and to reach out to targets at a distance. It also has a high cycle rate of fire (over 1,000 rounds a minute on full auto giving it the ability to provide good suppressive fire, a 3 round burst option, and of course a semi-auto option). Instead of having to field a rife (M4), a light machine gun (SAW) and an automatic assault rifle (IAR now being deployed by the Marines just another repeat of the historical BAR) the French can utilize the FAMAS for the both the assault rifle and infantry automatic rifle roles and do away with the IAR and M4 (if the US Army/Marines were smart and budget conscious) altogether. Just another example of wasting tax payer dollars, bureaucracy in action without any significant improvements in modern tactical combat doctrine. Why not go with the FAMAS, the SAW and a GPMG or ditch the SAW and develop and provide high capacity magazines for the FAMAS and you can eliminate some of the waste in defense spending that continues to grow. Remember what President Ike warned the public about the Military Industrial Complex in the 1950’s; it seems like he was right on the money with his foresight.