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Marine Corps Issues Sources Sought Notice for Marksmanship Technology Demonstration (MTD) 2017

The Marine Corps has issued a Sources Sought Notice to identify technologies for the upcoming Marksmanship Technology Demonstration (MTD) 2017 which will be held at Calvin A. Lloyd Range Complex, Weapons Training Battalion, Marine Corps Base Quantico from 19-21 September 2017 and is aligned with Modern Day Marine. This is a closed demonstration.

Weapons Training Battalion (WTBn), Marine Corps Base Quantico, is the proponent for marksmanship for the United States Marine Corps. As such, this demonstration will identify current and emerging technologies that demonstrate possible solutions to marksmanship gaps and inform Marine Corps future requirements development.

Last year, the Marines looked at Marine load and protection issues. This year, MTD 2017 will focus on five technology areas:
1. Small arms automated smart static targets
2. Small arms automated smart mobile targets
3. Infantry Rifle
4. Infantry Rifle Suppressors
5. Infantry Rifle Optics

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To download PDF, click here.

1. Automated Smart Static Target Systems
The Marine Corps is interested in a target system that can be installed on current standard Known/Unknown- Distance Ranges and equipment that provide immediate, accurate shot to shot feedback to shooters and coaches on the firing line. The Marine Corps is interested in target systems that meet the following specifications:
* Able to accept any kind of target face
* Accurately plot shots on a display with a programmable target face
* Able to take in excess of 10,000 5.56mm impacts before requiring maintenance
* Networked to record each shot and display on tablet/computer located on firing line
* Able to support a 50 target frontage without interference from adjacent targets
* Able to run off of shore power
* Function in all weather conditions (i.e. rain, snow, mist, fog)
* System must be able to integrate with existing Marine Corps infrastructure, in order to ensure the original system may be used as a backup
* Centralized data collection system

2. Automated Smart Mobile Target Systems
The Marine Corps is interested in a target system that is a mobile, man sized 3-dimensional target that provides instant feedback to shooter and coach on a firing line. The Marine Corps is interested in a target system that meets the following specifications:
* A 3-dimensional man-sized target
* Able to move in any direction at variable /programmable speeds (2.5-10 mph)
* Provides accurate, immediate shot location detection as well as a means to provide shot feedback to shooters and coaches at the shooter’s position.
* A perimeter sensor system that could accurately depict misses around the target (6’x6′ example) that could be transmitted to a display located at the firing point for immediate coaching/shooter feedback.
* The target should react (as programmed) to hits or misses.
* The target could communicate with adjacent targets (Bluetooth example) and respond to each other to hits and misses (as programmed).
* Ability to place two target types on one platform that could be “presented” to the shooter (hostile/non hostile example) as programmed.
The target could generate heat for thermal optics.
* Able to take in excess of 10,000 7.62/5.56 mm round impacts before requiring maintenance
* Maintenance cycle that needs to take in consideration hours/days of training required to support up to 22,000 shooters a year.
* 10 hours sustained use before maintenance/recharging
* Centralized data collection system

3. Infantry Rifle
The Marine Corps is interested in rifles that incorporate technologies that are applicable to current and future battlefields. The Marine Corps is interested in a rifle that is guided by the following specific requirements:

Required Characteristics
* Upgrade package (URG + fire control group) or complete rifle with enhanced M27 like capability and features
* Free floated handguard 13” for use with 14.5” or longer barrel, 9.5” for use with 10.3/10.5” barrel. Accepts current authorized attachments (i.e., PEQ15/16, lights, etc.). System maintains accuracy and precision through all positons and means of support (free floated) be it sling, barricade, sandbag, etc.
* 14.5” barrel option, with 24,000 round life with AB49 – 2 MOA precision threshold, 1 MOA precision objective for majority of barrel life (Mean radius) (Army Capability Based Assessment requirements).
* Barrel may include low profile gas block but may not use taper pin
* Installation when using a barrel cartridge (i.e., barrel with gas block and barrel nut pre- installed) should take no more than 10 minutes threshold, 5 minutes objective (2nd echelon maintenance)
* Bolt carrier group optimized for M855A1 use with Picatinny Durable Solid Lubricant coating or any similar variations thereof
* Rail must maintain rigidity and alignment (to within 10 MOA) with the rifle’s zeroed point of aim when external pressures (up to 20 pounds) are applied 11” forward of the receiver (accounting for various means of supporting the weapon and weight of existing attachments and aiming devices)
* Rail must include continuous 1913 Picatinny rail at the 12 o’clock position with no interruption from the receiver rail to the handguard rail (semi-monolithic). Must include anti rotation features, may integrate into upper receiver.
* Rail must have integral forward 1913 Picatinny rail sections at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock of 2-3” in length. Remainder of rail shall be M-LOK (like on SURG and ASR) at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock. Other surfaces may include holes/cutouts for air circulation and weight reduction.
* Rail must be field strippable in a manner similar to the M27 with captured bolts
* The rail may include a steel, or 7075-T6 aluminum barrel nut, but it must be non indexing in nature
* Rail must accept heat resistant rail covers of a similar nature and material to those found the M27

Desired Characteristics:
* Ability to fire AB39, .264 USA, .260 Remington, M80A1, etc.
* Modular bolt/barrel/magazine & magazine insert conversion packages for caliber changes (compatibility with A059, AB49, AB57, Mk255 Mod 0, etc) and optimized for respective caliber, charge, burn rate, and pressure curve (barrel threads can be 1/2X28 or 5/8X24)
* Novel approaches to lightweight rifle and ammunition
* Ambidextrous bolt catch and non-reciprocating charging handle
* Reversible magazine release and selector
* Adjustable length of pull stock, integral storage for spare bolt and QD sling attachment points
* Upper receiver will arrive with modular rail mounted sling attachment point
* Pistol grip sized for a 5th-95th percentile Marine
* Handguard sized 11-13” consideration to accessory use (lights, lasers, etc)
* Minimum mass cycling components to create no higher G-load than unsuppressed M110 SASS when fired
* High use of corrosion resistant alloys, coatings or treatments
* System deliberately built to perform at optimal level while suppressed – must divert gasses away from the shooter’s eye
* Bolt and barrel life greater than 15,000 rounds with no more than 200 FPS velocity loss
* Entire system serviceable at no higher than 2nd echelon maintenance level
* Coating or surface treatment in coyote brown in order to not stand out visually in combat environment, and desired reduction in IR signature.

4. Infantry Rifle Suppressor
The Marine Corps is interested in new and emerging suppressor technologies. The Marine Corps is interested in a rifle that is guided by the following specific requirements:

Required Characteristics
* Advanced venting to reduce back pressure, cyclic rate, and gas blowback
* Gas flow improvements to reduce or eliminate first-round flash
* Effective attenuation of noise and dust signatures – desired to be hearing safe
* Minimal and consistent point-of-impact shift of no more than 1.5 MOA
* Constructed of advanced high-temperature, corrosion resistant alloys with advanced coatings or treatments
* Service life of 24,000 rounds firing AB49 through a 14.5” barrel
* No longer than 6.5”, desired length 5” (overall length of suppressor), may fit over muzzle device
* Must include locking capability (fast QA/QD capability desirable, but primarily intended to prevent unthreading of suppressor and inevitable baffle strikes)
* May not weigh more than 20 oz.
* Suppressor shall not be capable of disassembly at 1st echelon maintenance level (cleaning interval shall be recommended by manufacturer on basis of weight gain due to carbon buildup if any)
* May include muzzle break/flash suppressor. If included, will utilize existing 1/2X28 threads. May use shims or washers to index properly. May require use of Rocksett to prevent unthreading during use. May not exceed 25 inch pounds of torque for installation. Signature reduction through mitigation of flash and blast overpressure (velocity of redirected gasses as well) is highly desirable.
* Existing NSNs, safety certifications, use or testing by other military agencies is highly desirable

5. Infantry Rifle Optics
The Marine Corps is interested in optics that incorporates technologies that are applicable to current and future battlefields. The Marine Corps is interested in upgrades that meet the specifications of one of the following items:

Required Characteristics
* Magnification from 0/1-8 power to PID threats (presence of weapon) out to 600M, and engage threats in close proximity
* Must possess large and forgiving eyebox and extended eye relief
* Included ambidextrous capable feature to rapidly adjust magnification with non firing hand
* Reticle features for engaging moving threats out to 150M and rapid ranging feature that accounts for average width of human head and of shoulders
* Compatible with clip-on current night vision or thrermal imaging devices (e.g PVS-24A, PAS-27, etc)
* Low profile elevation turret or cap – turrets locking or capped to prevent inadvertent loss of zero in combat conditions
* Scope base/rings must return to zero after removal
* Center of reticle must have daylight bright illuminated dot for close quarter use at 0/1 power.
* Must meet MIL-STD 810G environmental/durability requirements

Desired Characteristics
* Scalable and modular to accept future digital feature set and new reticles requirements
* Potential low end setting as red dot sight (RDS)
* Form factor comparable to existing COTS optics with similar mid range magnification
* Optimized for mounting height over rail at 1.54-1.93”
* Battery life comparable to that of Aimpoint M4S CCO (Army standard optic).
* Squad level networking and target designation capability
* Visually displayed point of impact cue (drawing information from laser rangefinder and ballistic solvers, integral and/or external)

Responses are requested no later than 14 July 2017. Visit www.fbo.gov for full details.

24 Responses to “Marine Corps Issues Sources Sought Notice for Marksmanship Technology Demonstration (MTD) 2017”

  1. Mike Smith says:

    Interesting suppressor specs… Does anybody come close to that currently, other than maybe OSS?

  2. Jackson says:

    Shit, I want a 1-8 LPVO with Comp M4 battery life too.

    The rail they are asking for sounds a lot like a Geissele mk4/mk13.

    • Zach says:

      Don’t have to worry about batteries if the *sun* is your battery.

      In all seriousness, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a LPVO that has battery life over a month with normal use. Even Trijicon and Vortex only rate their sights at ~31 and ~120 hours on max intensity. A far cry from an Aimpoint or Trijicon RDS that has 5+ years off of one 2032.

      • Justin says:

        What makes an aimpoint T1 more efficient than a vortex Razor 1-6 with an illuminated center dot with the same battery? I wonder if the LPVO’s we have today don’t have great battery life because it hasn’t really been a priority for the consumer at this point, as opposed to the reddot market. Maybe it’s one of those things that “i don’t know what i don’t know”, but it certainly seems to me that the technology exists to get crazy battery life out of a 2032 why couldn’t that be plugged in to an LPVO?

        • James says:

          My understanding is that it is because you are projecting light onto something, rather than seeing a light somewhere in the optic. With an etched reticle or a holographic sight like an eotech, you have to have to illuminate the piece of glass in a certain pattern, with an aimpoint you are seeing the light through a reflection. Just requires more energy to light up the lense.

      • PPGMD says:

        Not sure which Trijicons you are talking about the MRO is rated at 25 days at max setting, and I believe the Aimpoint Micros have a similar lower battery life on the max setting.

  3. Adun says:

    Why would one want a rail to be non indexing? Wouldn’t indexing increase the likelihood of the rail lining back up in its original location?

    • Justin says:

      They want the barrel nut to be non-indexing. AKA..doesn’t require you to line it up with the gas tube. They DO want the rail itself to index on the receiver. “Must include anti rotation features, may integrate into upper receiver.”

    • Joshua says:

      Usually that’s so you can easily torque the barrel nut down despite the gas tube.

      Which is interesting. The RFI almost sounds like they want the gun to use the DI system. It practically screams we want a Geissele out M4A1 with a CHF barrel and Picatinny new coating.

  4. mudd says:

    *14.5” barrel option, with 24,000 round life with AB49 – 2 MOA precision Infantry Rifle
    threshold, 1 MOA precision objective for majority of barrel life
    -2moa at what distance? 50m sure.. maybe, 300m not so much. Lack of stabilizing at distance is the tell This isn’t doable by any barrel. HK with their much vaunted 416 said 30k, then 20k, then 10k barrel life. Run of the mill M4 varients get you 7500-10k depending on firing schedule.

    *Barrel may include low profile gas block but may not use taper pin.
    -what does this even mean? A straight pin is ok? A rolled spring pin ala hk416 is ok? indent on barrel and set screw ok? pressed on and screw locked ala KAC ok? what is the intent? to have a readily removable gas block or to try to rule out certain mfgrs?

    • Zach says:

      Not sure what you mean by, “lack of stabilizing at distance.” This only happens when crossing the transonic region 800+ meters out (even further for the .260 or 6.5CM) and is really bullet dependent.

      When the bullet leaves the barrel in point-forward, spin-stabilized flight, the bullet actually becomes *more* stabilized as is travels downrange, due to the bullet losing forward velocity due to drag far quicker than rotational velocity. Now if the bullet leaves the barrel with marginal spin-stability, that’s a different story, but I don’t know of any caliber in current use by the DoD or that’s up for demonstration here that would even get near this region.

      • mudd says:

        When your barrel is worn out to the point it marginally stabilizes a projectile, as an M4 (or variant) gets to around the 7500-10000 rd (on a schoolhouse shooting schedule), it clearly manifests at 300m. Often assaulter types won’t notice the difference at close range dynamic shooting ranges. So it’s useful to group @ 300m to verify.

        It became clear, years ago, that the hk416 did not have the advertised 30k barrel life.

  5. JD says:

    On the rifle, they seem to be a little conflicted as to if they want something in 5.56 (“A059, AB49, AB57, Mk255 Mod 0, etc”), or the 7.62 size platform (“Ability to fire AB39, .264 USA, .260 Remington, M80A1, etc.”)…

    • PPGMD says:

      I read it as they want a rifle that they can switch calibers, similar to the SCAR-H.

      • JD says:

        I could tell they wanted something switchable, but switchblade has generally been between cartridges of similar size… I’ve only seen Colt 901 that could go between 7.62 family and 5.56 family of cartridges (supposedly the MDR does too, but unicorns)

        • PPGMD says:

          That is why I mentioned the SCAR-H, IIRC there is a 5.56mm conversion kit for that gun. So that is two guns that have that ability to use both 5.56mm format ammo, and 7.62mm format that are actively available.

          Though based on the request I’m not sure that SCAR-H is what they want. The Colt 901 is probably closer to what they want.

    • CAP says:

      I was thinking the same thing. This is exactly how these programs get all jacked up. Do they really want an AR10 sized rifle that they’re most likely only going to shoot a bunch of 5.56 out of? Can you say unnecessary size/weight? Build an optimized 5.56 rifle or a multicaliber 7.62 sized rifle. Not one to do both. That’s how the SCAR and XM8 got canned, trying to cram too much capability into one weapon system.

      Seriously USMC, just get new M4 uppers with CHF, 14.5 inch, medium weight, taper profile barrels, a mid-length gas system optimized for M855A1, new enhanced bolt carrier groups, slap on a Geissele MK13 handguard and be done with it.

      Or wait and see what USASOC comes up with.

      • SSD says:

        Yeah, this is kind of a dream list of everything everybody ever wanted for cool small arms

        • Joglee says:

          Won’t happen. The M27/416 will be the end decision for the Marines.

          • CAP says:

            My prediction, USASOC develops a SOPMOD Block III upper that the rest of the services adopt as the new M4A2 or whatever.

            • Joshua says:

              Sounds spot on. If you read SSDs coverage of it you can see where the person they interviewed in USASOC even mentioned how the upper could be adopted by them.

            • Seamus says:

              Agreed. Although with all the emphasis on suppressors I am curious why they are not considering a piston system (OMG watch the piston haters come out of the wood work now) But seriously, every system has Pros and Cons and one of the Pros for pistons are less gas blowback into the UR and less gas in the face of the shooter. Seems like a genuine advantage, and the piston fan boys (MG Scales?) will be happy.

  6. PTMcCain says:

    If I ever win the lottery, big time, I’m going to buy me a huge piece of property and have a massive range installed like the one in the photo. A guy can dream.

  7. J says:

    It looks like someone went and copied and pasted a lot of requirement from various message boards on what they saw people saying they wanted or is cool. Or is that just me.

    All the “like this” or “similar to this”, the use of acronyms without spelling them out or even the requirements without any comparable data. If I have a product do I need to go buy a M110 SASS and measure the G force, how about telling me what the actual thresholds are for your requirements.

    Also how about proof reading your documents as under the suppressor portion it repeats the statement about “The Marine Corps is interested in a rifle that is guided by the following specific requirements”

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