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House NDAA Bill Requires Army To Complete Individual Carbine Testing

On March 19th we broke the story that Ms. Lynne M. Halbrooks, Principal Deputy Inspector General, Department of Defense Inspector General testified before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform stating that the Army’s Individual Carbine program was under audit due to “concerns that DoD may not have an established need for this weapon nor developed performance requirements for the $1.8 billion acquisition.” What a mouthful.

We hear that as the Army charges ahead with the PIP portion of their “dual path strategy” to modernize Army rifles, they are looking to reprogram the funds set aside to test the Individual Carbine candidates currently under consideration,s effectively ending the program.

But, just as members of the House want the military to adopt a single camouflage uniform, others are working to force the Army to continue to spend funds on a program that its not sure it needs.

Below is the amendment that was added to the 2014 NDAA (HR 1960) by the House Armed Services Committee. The bill passed out of committee on Thursday and should hit the House floor this week.

OFFERED BY Ms. LORETTA SANCHEZ OF CALIFORNIA
At the appropriate place in title II, insert the following:
1 SEC. 2_. REQUIREMENT TO COMPLETE INDIVIDUAL CAR-
2 BINE TESTING.
3 The Secretary of the Army may not cancel the indi-
4 ·vidual carbine program unless the Secretary-
5 (1) completes the Phase III down-select and
6 user-evaluation phase of the individual carbine com-
7 petitors;
8 (2) conducts the required comprehensive busi-
9 ness case analysis of such program; and
10 (3) submits to the congressional defense com-
11 mittees-
12 (A} the results of the down-select and user
13 evaluation described in paragraph (1); and
14 (B) the business case analysis described in
15 paragraph (2).

14 Responses to “House NDAA Bill Requires Army To Complete Individual Carbine Testing”

  1. ian says:

    I’m actually with the army on this one. Upgrading the M4 is like putting new hubcaps on your 1980 honda civic. It won’t change the basic performance or lethality, other than a .001 increase in overall reliability

    .They did a much smarter thing in upgrading the AMMO to m855a1. It works so well that the ballistic gelatin analysis is classified out of fear of being accused of violating the Hague Convention.

    What the DOD needs to do is be willing to break Nato compatibility and go away from the standard 5.56. The cold war is over, we won, and you’ll not be fighting shoulder to shoulder with the French against the Red Hordes in the Ardens.

    I expect that the army will eventually will go with a LSAT tech bullpup rifle in 6.5.If they were smart, it would be forward or downward ejecting like the FS2000 or P900.

    The right rifle cant be selected becase the right ammo isnt even in prodution. Caseless ammo and polymer cased telescoped ammo is a change worth spending 100 of millions.

    Something ike the SCAR isnt

    • Haji says:

      Why a bullpup? Every army I can think of that uses a bullpup as their primary arm for their conventional forces all use an M4 variant for their special operations forces.

      • ian says:

        Because of its small size. Have you ever manhandled an m16 in a humvee with full battle rattle? Bullpups are also the best size for cqb and urbsn room clearing aka the battlefield of the future. The only drawback of bullpup is the ejection, but FN proved that. Just because the snake eaters use the m4 over thier issue crap bullpup doesnt mean the ergonomics si superior. If that bullpup was caseless….

        • Mac says:

          Except that your logic is a bit flawed in the fact that you’re talking about the units in question would be those that could use whatever met their needs. Yet ironically they aren’t choosing the bullpups for their “superiority”…. “Issue crap bullpup”? I would guess that although there’s no serious love for it, most would argue that the Steyr AUG to not be a crap weapon, yet Aussie SOF don’t use it.
          My last training rotation through Hohenfehls the Slovenian Army platoon attached to my company had another bullpup design. Not a bad design but the rotary wheel selector lever let to more than a few NDs with blanks.

          And to answer your question, I have manhandled an M16A4 in a HMMWV, M4 as well, also manhandled M16s in Bradleys-troop area and turret.

        • Paul says:

          The bullpup has more issues than just rear ejection. First, because the trigger is far ahead of the actual action, the pull tends to be heavy and mushy. Even when they are given trigger jobs, the mechanics just don’t exist to give them the same light, crisp triggers that standard rifles are capable of having. You still are looking at a 7-8 lb pull with a trigger job in an AUG or Tavor. Compare that to a Geissele trigger job in an M4: About 4.5 lbs. Second, magazine changes are more awkward. Third, length of pull is not readily adjustable.

          Bullpups aren’t terrible and if the shortcomings listed aren’t an issue to someone, then the long barrel in a short package is a pretty good system. But for me personally, I’m OCD about triggers, so I’ll pass on an AUG and get myself a good ol’ AR.

  2. Dan says:

    You can only improve so much on the current carbine platform. How much better can you make it in terms of accuracy, reliability and ergonomics to make it worth the money and effort?

    IMAO the only thing that would make selecting a new carbine worth it, would be a switch from 5.56 to a 6.8 or 6.5 caliber weapon. 5.56 can inflict serious damage in certain situations, but it also has a reputation for performing sub-optimally in others.

    I’ve lost track of where the carbine competition is going. Who are the contenders?

    • FormerDirtDart says:

      FN FNAC, the Heckler & Koch HK416A5, a modified variant of the Remington ACR, the Adcor Defense BEAR Elite, the Beretta ARX-160, and the Colt Enhanced M4 all participated in the Phase II. No results have been made available as far as I know.

  3. This guy says:

    Most troops don’t need a carbine. They need to develop a modern full on battle rifle. If there wasn’t a need or a place for them on the modern battlefield then Squad DM’s wouldn’t have been created.

    • Mac says:

      The need for SDMs has nothing to do with the rifle and everything to do with training issues. Training for most units begins and ends at qualification.

      The only reasons behind why the M14 came back in service was a nostalgic sense by people who think it’s a great rifle because they used one for high power competition but never carried one in combat and there were still a lot of them sitting in stocks. Establishing the SDM program around an AR based platform and wider issue of Mk 262 Mod 1 (SOST and M855A1 weren’t around when the SDM programs were beginning) would have been a lot smarter: same manual of arms, ammo commonality at the team level, no need for additional special equipment (chest rigs, mag pouches, new magazines, etc.).

  4. AlexC says:

    Both 6.8 and 6.5 are not good ideas for replacement calibres. IF there is going to be a replacement calibre they should go with .300Blackout. The list of advantages are impressive and it has none of the disadvantages that 6.5 and 6.8 have. Just my two cents.

    -AlexC

    • Uniform223 says:

      what are the disadvantages of the Rem 6.8 SPC and the 6.5 Grendel? I keep hearing and reading that the 6.8 was designed specifically for carbine and CQBRs. Essentially having the same effective ranges as an M4A1 and its CQBR variant but with more power behind the round. The 6.5 I hear was designed for better ballistics at longer ranges. I don’t know much about the .300 blackout. I hear that its basically a bullet taken from the .308 and put into the casing of the 5.56×45.

      Back then the US Army had its Advanced Combat Rifle competition/concept then, it that phased out because it offered no real combat effectiveness over the M16A2. Then years later the US Army had its high tech XM25 OICW, that later proved to be too heavy complex and expensive then subsided to the Xm8… which again showed no real performance advantage over the current M16/M4 weapons (with the exception of reliability under extreme conditions).

      My point is that IMO I see no real reason for a replacement. The USMC has the right idea with better training. In the hands of a well trained individual that person can pick up any rifle AK47 or 74, FNFAL, G3, M14, M16 or M4, ( what ever is out there ) and can be more effective then a poorly trained individual with the most high tech super highspeed low drag ninjafied gift from baby Jesus rifle.

    • Jason says:

      .300 BLK might be a good replacement for a 9mm MP5SD, and that’s about it.

  5. CAP says:

    The army does not need a new carbine platform. What they need to do is look to the commercial industry for improvements to the AR family of weapons that will increase reliablity and service life. Things like mid-length gas systems, CHF barrels, salt-bath nitriding, free float rails, the A5 stock assembly, enhanced bolts/carriers, etc should all be evaluated and put into the system. If they want to increase the lethality of the platform, they should focus more on the quality of marksmanship training that the guys pulling the trigger receive.