On June 26, 2018, the U.S. Army issued a pre-solicitation notice for a Mounted Machine Gun Optic (MMO). Now it appears the MMO search has hit a snag, with the service postponing a planned RFP as it changes the type of procurement intended for the program.
Mounted Machine Gun Optic Program Postponed
Army Contracting Command-New Jersey originally announced the MMO program on behalf Project Manager Soldier Weapons. The goal was to enable “faster acquisition times and increased first burst probability of hit” for machine gunners firing the M240B and M2/M2A1, as well as the MK 19 grenade launcher, from “vehicle mounted platforms.”
July 16 was the set date for the issuance of the RFP. However, a Aug. 8 update to the pre-solicitation notice reveals that, “The MMO program is still ongoing, however we have reached a point in which we may redirect the procurement from a FAR-based procurement to an OTA-based procurement.”
The update also says, “At this time, we cannot anticipate when the solicitation will be released.”
According to Military.com, OTAs, or Other Transactional Authorities, are a business tool that helps services navigate the murky, swamp-like acquisition process by handing out “contracts to firms to build prototypes that can help refine requirements and theoretically speed up the development process.”
An Air Force overview of OTAs adds the following: “OTs are typically defined by what they are not: they are not standard procurement contracts, grants, or cooperative agreements. As such, they are generally not subject to the federal laws and regulations that apply to government procurement contracts (e.g., FAR/DFARS).”
The Army’s MMO program was originally a full and open competition for a “solution that will enable warfighters to scan with both eyes open, then rapidly slew the weapon on target, and engage with a higher confidence of getting the first burst on target.” The MMO, the service said, would enable “rapid, lethal, precision engagements in adverse conditions.” It would also provide “endurance and resiliency through improved reliability growth.” At at the same time, it would support “agility and expeditionary needs through improved maneuverability.”
The original intention was to offer up to three firm-fixed price, IDIQ contracts for the delivery of 35 MMO units. After developmental and user testing, the service would have ordered a maximum quantity of 11,450 units.
With the postponement of the MMO program, those plans are now up in the air.