Tactical Tailor

USMC Interested In A Squad Common Optic

This week, Marine Corps Systems Command issued a request for information to industry for a Squad Common Optic (SCO) that may be used on the M4, M4A1, and M27.

Nightforce NX8 1-8×24 which meets the requirements set out below.

At a minimum, potential SCOs should meet the following requirements:

• Interoperability. The Squad Common Optic device should be interoperable with and cause no degradation in function to currently fielded host weapons. Squad Common Optic should be compatible with current visual augmentation systems, weapons accessories, lasers, and clip-on night vision devices using a MIL-STD-1913 rail interface as listed below:

NSN
Nomenclature
Model #
1240-01-619-2962
Grenade Launcher Sight
SU-277-PSQ
5855-01-559-7064
Individual Weapon Night Sight-Thermal
AN/PAS-27
5855-01-558-3616
Individual Weapon Night Sight-Image Intensified
AN/PVS-24A
5855-01-550-2780
Mini-Integrated Pointer Illuminator
AN/PEQ-16A
5855-01-582-1584
Mini-Integrated Pointer Illuminator
AN/PEQ-16B
5855-01-577-7174
Advanced Target Pointer Illuminator Aiming Light
AN/PEQ-15
1240-01-667-8204
Sniper Squad Range Finder
I-CUGR

• Major Components. Each Squad Common Optic should include the following major components:
o Day Scope
o Lens Covers
o Reticle
o Elevation Turrets/Caps
o Windage Turrets/Caps
o Operator’s Manual (hard and digital copy)
o Quick Reference Guide
o Required Tools
o Scope Mount
o Reticle Battery
o Magnification Change Device
o Soft Protective Carrying Case
o Lens Cleaning Kit with Bush and Lens Cloth
• Weight. The Squad Common Optic should be less than or equal to 2.1 pounds (T), 1.4 pounds (O). Weight is characterized as including the optic, mount, turret caps, and battery.
• Size. The Squad Common Optic length should be less than or equal to 10.5 inches (T), 10 inches (O). Length excludes the lens covers. Length is measured at the maximum extended range of adjustment.
• The Squad Common Optic should be able to positively identify and acquire targets at 600m (T), 900m (O). Positive identification refers to the range at which a potential target can be positively identified by facial, clothing, weapon and vehicle features, or an activity.
• Magnification Range. The Squad Common Optic should have no point of aim shift when adjusting through the entire magnification ranges. The Squad Common Optic should have a magnification range of 1X +0.05X to ?8X magnification range.
• Adjustable diopter: The diopter should be adjustable from +2 to –2 diopters.
• Diopter Locking Mechanism. A locking mechanism should be provided on the diopter setting to prevent inadvertent movement (O).
• Adjustment Range. For all configurations, at least 15 Milliradian (mrad) (T), and 30 mrad (O) in Elevation and at least 12 mrad in Windage adjustment should be required. There should be hard stops at both ends of Windage and Elevation adjustment and no dead clicks. A dead click is defined as a tactile adjustment click that does not move the reticle.
• Adjustment Increments. Each Squad Common Optic configuration should have adjustment increments less than or equal to 0.1 mrad Elevation and Windage (E/W). Adjustment increments on both E/W should be consistent in movement, tactile, and have no dead clicks and require no settling rounds. Settling rounds are defined as host weapon live fire that causes the reticle to move initially but stabilize after the live fire event.
• Adjustment Accuracy. For Squad Common Optic, a less than or equal to 2% adjustment accuracy is required across the full travel in Windage and Elevation (T) and a less than or equal to 1% adjustment accuracy is required across the full travel in Windage and Elevation (O).
• Windage/Elevation Caps. For Squad Common Optic, the Windage and Elevation turret adjustments should be covered with a threaded cap.
• Field of View. At minimum magnification, possess a minimum field of view of 18 degrees (T), 20 degrees (O). At maximum magnification, possess a minimum field of view of 2.5 degrees (T), 3 degrees (O).
• Eye Relief. All Squad Common Optic configurations at any magnification should have an eye relief of at least 3.1 inches (T), 3.7 inches (O).
• Exit Pupil. All Squad Common Optic configurations at any magnification should have an exit pupil range of no less than 2.5mm to no more than 13mm.
• Resolution. The resolution for the Squad Common Optic should be 10 arc-seconds or less. The 30% contrast resolution for the Squad Common Optic should be 15 arc-seconds or less.
• Focus/Parallax Adjustment. The Squad Common Optic should have a fixed focus set at 150 meters ± 50 meters and be parallax free at the focus range.
• Focal Plane. Configurations should be first focal plane and/or second focal plane.
• Reticles.
o All Squad Common Optic reticle configurations should offer Mil-Reticle patterns vice a Bullet Drop Compensator (BDC) style of reticle pattern.
o All Squad Common Optic reticle configurations should offer an illuminated central aiming point no greater than 1.5 minute of angle (MOA) (T) or 0.5 MOA (O) that is visible during daylight conditions.
o All Squad Common Optic configurations should offer a variety of reticles (i.e., crosshair, German, duplex, Christmas tree, others).
o All reticles should be level with a cant of ± 1 degree (T) or no discernable cant (O) when installed in its MIL-STD-1913 compatible mount.
o Reticle should be usable in the event of degraded capability or no power situation.
• Future Reticles
o Reticle. The vendor should allow for future reticle designs and operational needs to be included in the Squad Common Optic: Mil Dot, Milliradian Line, Ballistic, Velocity, and Grid hybrids. Graduated grid should provide a method that supports the ability to use Windage hold offs and Elevation holds and holdovers accurately. There should also be coarse and fine methods to quickly range targets. A method to allow for rapid engagement of moving targets should be provided on the main horizontal.
o Configuration. There should be no changes to the Squad Common Optic design when changing to a new reticle other than the reticle itself.
• Reticle Illumination. The reticle illumination should be accomplished using side mounted rotary knobs. The Squad Common Optic should have multiple intensity settings, two night vision goggle compatible settings, and tactile illumination off positions after each on position. Reticle settings should be able to be locked in place to provide for inadvertent power cycling in the field. Reticle should be powered by a single commercially available battery for at least 96 hours at highest illumination setting. The Squad Common Optic should allow for battery changes without removal from the weapon and without specialized tools.
• Scope Mount. All scope mounts should be MIL-STD-1913 compatible. Various scope mount heights should be available. Any dissimilar metals should not interact and cause corrosion or damage when subjected to saltwater and other adverse environmental conditions.
• Magnification Change Capability. The Squad Common Optic should incorporate an attachable (T) or integrated (O) field-adjustable magnification change capability that will allow quick magnification changes from minimum to maximum magnification without passing between the eyepiece and rail interface, hitting the host weapon, or interfering with the function of the host weapon.
• Backup Iron Sights. The Squad Common Optic shall not require the removal of the host weapon’s front and rear iron sights. The front and rear iron sights shall be immediately useable upon removal of the Squad Common Optic.
• Lens Accessories and Protection. All Squad Common Optic configurations should be delivered with detachable protective front and rear lens covers or caps. The Squad Common Optic should feature lenses made of durable scratch resistant hydrophobic material and non-reflective lens coatings (T). All Squad Common Optic configurations should provide lenses with sufficient abrasion resistance that they do not require lens covers (O).
• Surfaces. External surfaces (except for light-transmitting elements) should be finished in a flat neutral non-black color that is non-reflective and corrosion resistant. All the exposed optics should have corrosion and scratch resistant coatings, which permit operation in salt sprays and blowing sand. All markings, coatings, finishes, and exposed O-rings should be resistant to paints solvents, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear contaminants, and Super Tropical Bleach (STB) decontaminant.
• Signature Reduction and Counter Detection. The Squad Common Optic should be a dull, non-reflective, neutral, non-black color. The Squad Common Optic should not have an audible or visible signature.

The Marines have expressed interest in purchasing between 18,000 and 30,000 of the optic.

Interested vendors should submit a 10-page white paper to SYSCOM via e-mail, regular mail or SAFE no later than 3:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 10 June 2019.

To learn more, visit www.fbo.gov.

16 Responses to “USMC Interested In A Squad Common Optic”

  1. CoolArrow Kicker says:

    So, instead of following the FAR and getting the optic just awarded by SOCOM, the think tank at Infantry Weapon Systems – Optics is basically going to release an RFI for the same spec to run a program and justify their existence. Yeah, I’m pretty sure this is an ADA violation.

    What else can you expect from a group of people who finally replaced the M40 series with a MK13 that is now going out of service and a magazine pouch for AK mags?

    • lcpl1066 says:

      What is the magazine pouch for AK mags issue? As for the SOCOM issue optic, are you referring to the SIG or Nightforce optic?

      • CoolArrow Kicker says:

        IRT the optic, because they’re asking for a 1-8x, with no defined threshold or objective, one would surmise that the NF was being referred to.

        IRT the pouch, check out solicitation number M67854-19-R-1549. The all stars at Infantry Combat Equipment are asking for a pouch that will fit:
        30 Round PMAG
        40 Round PMAG
        30 Round AK-47 (7.62x39mm) Magazine

        Basically they want a bag. Last time I checked, IWS isn’t fielding AK-47s or 40 Round PMAGs. Methinks that a certain person in that office with no Combat Action Ribbon or “03XX” in their background saw something they liked from someone they liked and spec’d it.

        • Gear Guy says:

          Lighten up Francis! This is an RFI aka a Request For Information, not an RFP, and both of which do fall under the FAR. The RFI will be used to inform their requirements in order to ensure that their solicitation outlines current technologies. But hey, what do I know, I’m just some dumb grunt that actually works in acquisitions.

          As far as the mag pouch goes, there are Marine Corps units that conduct FID and also use non conventional weapons platforms, like say an M4 chambered in 7.62×39 or an actual AKM.

          • CoolArrow Kicker says:

            Actually “Gear Guy, I didn’t “skim over it”. The RFI states: “The Squad Common Optic should have multiple intensity settings, two night vision goggle compatible settings”. And if you’re implying that is only going to be used with “inline imagers” as cited under “Interoperability”, why would I need an NV setting when the AN/PAS-27 & AN/PVS-24A are mounted “in front”? I will concede that it’s a “nice to have”. But probably won’t be used

            If indeed you’re in “acquisition” why drop an RFI if not to support an RFP which IAW FAR Part 8 shouldn’t happen because there already is a material solution that meets the requirement?

            And sure, there are “Marine Corps Units” which conduct FID, but if THEY have a requirement for special operations peculiar kit (i.e. “AK” pouches) they or their acquisition command buys them, not MCSC. I would suggest that you and your cohorts read JP 3-05, which clearly states that the only thing parent service components are obligated to provide their respective entires assigned to other major commands is that which is “service common”. Basically what you get in the IIF. That’s why They have MFP-11 funding.

            Methinks you protest too much to lead one to believe you had a hand in this.

            That being said, I’d amend it to at least identify how you want the mount to engage and disengage as well as the time to accomplish and zero retention. Because it would suck to have the optic go down and need to dig out a multitool to remove it. Maybe get some 45° offsets? Never mind, I remember how long it took you all to field a BUIS lol.

  2. CoolArrow Kicker says:

    Must have two night vision goggle compatible setting for illumination? Lol

    Pray tell, how are you going to use Night Vision Goggles with a variable power optic that is 10 inches long and has a 3” eye reliefs? Are you gonna run it all the way forward and hope you can extend the stock back far enough to use your NVGs? And I’d love to watch how you’re going to adjust said NVG’s focus rapidly. Yeah, better spec an eye box the size of an EOTech.

    Oh and the weapon’s BUIS must be immediately available upon removal of the SCO? They don’t even define how long or method of attaching or removing the optic. Busch league.

    • Vanguard says:

      More than a few people can run an LPVO through dual tube NODs. An A5 buffer tubes and a 2.04″ mount makes shooting a K16i or Gen II-E under NODs very practical and provides a reliable alternative to the easier method of just putting IR energy downrange. The main problem is that the illumination settings are just slightly too bright at the low end. A Tarsier helps mitigate this issue and while a Tarsier should be standard on every tube, native brightness control on the optic would be nice to have.

      If you are unable to perform with an LPVO and NODs then you will unencumbered by the two night vision settings and will still be left with a perfectly functional daytime optic. If you are a competent enough gunfighter then you will appreciate the feature. Seems like a no lose to me.

    • Joe_K says:

      You can use an LPVO with NOD’s. All the cool kids are doing it these days, on top of that the NVG settings are most likely primarily going to be used ICW clip on NV devices.

      • Gear Guy says:

        It sounds like he skimmed over the interoperability paragraph. Reading is fundamental and some people are just too eager to complain about every damn thing.

        • SVGC says:

          Joe, you can use a LPVO with NVGs to shoot passively through the optic, however to focus and be able to see the image through an LPVO you end up having to re-focus your goggles. It makes everything outside of the LPVO out of focus. you can, I suppose, use it in the same fashion as an occluded eye optic but that isn’t optimal. It’s not as convenient or intuitive as shooting passively with NODs through something like a T2 or Eotech. At least that is my personal experience with the NODs available and more specifically the NODs currently issued within the USMC. If there’s something out there headbourne that makes this a non-issue that would be great. In regards to Arrow Kicker’s comments, he’s correct in that it says 2 settings for Night Vision Goggles but as gear guy pointed out none of those systems are included on interoperability. Could be a goof up IDK. Hopefully more forward thinking is put into this than the M38 project, which was basically taking a shopping cart to DRMO and grabbing some cans and optics.

        • CoolArrow Kicker says:

          Actually “Gear Guy, I didn’t “skim over it”. The RFI states: “The Squad Common Optic should have multiple intensity settings, two night vision goggle compatible settings”. And if you’re implying that is only going to be used with “inline imagers” as cited under “Interoperability”, why would I need an NV setting when the AN/PAS-27 & AN/PVS-24A are mounted “in front”? I will concede that it’s a “nice to have”. But probably won’t be used.

      • CoolArrow Kicker says:

        Yeah, if you’re sitting relatively sedentary because you’ll have to focus the NVG’s objective to be on the same plane and maintain consistent eye relief due to the restrictive eye box. This isn’t an issue with reflex sights like the CompM5 or EOTech.

  3. PhrogDriver says:

    Typical shortsighted decision with likely very little critical thinking behind it. Though it could be a great capability, who within the squad/fire team gets one? Everyone? Do we update the T/O? What about training? What standards do we train to? What about the rifle/ammunition combo that’s accurate enough to take advantage of the extended range? Does this supplant or augment the Designated Marksman role?

    • CoolArrow Kicker says:

      Based on the numbers, one would surmise that on the low side, only 03XX and by the high side, the entire Ground Combat Element.

    • Joe says:

      hough it could be a great capability, who within the squad/fire team gets one? Everyone?
      Yes, everyone.
      Do we update the T/O?
      No
      What about training?
      Yes, you update training for the new piece of equipment…
      What standards do we train to?
      We train to the same standards that are in place until the capabilities of the optic make those standards antiquated and artificially low.
      What about the rifle/ammunition combo that’s accurate enough to take advantage of the extended range?
      Already exists.
      Does this supplant or augment the Designated Marksman role?
      It augments the DMR the same way carbines do.

      LPVO does not equal DMR or sniper. LPVO’s are for assault rifles.

      • CoolArrow Kicker says:

        It’ll be interesting to see what reticle they select for general consumption. I also wonder if this will make any actual difference? Sure the implementation of the RCO into rifle qualification was driven by the fact that Marines should be training with the kit they’ll use in combat and the RCO was driven by the fact that a magnified optic increases hit probability blah blah blah.

        But do we after implementing the RCO actually have hard data to show that it really does? And can we drill down into that data by MOS? Sure, if you’re an adept trigger puller, an optic will make you better. But if you suck, well… you’ll still suck.

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