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Polaris Defense MRZRs Now Delivering Under New $83 Million IDIQ Contract

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

MRZR

MINNEAPOLIS (August 24, 2015) — USSOCOM has awarded Polaris Defense a new, sole source, firm-fixed-price contract for the MRZR off-road vehicle platform and vehicle delivery started earlier this month. The $83 million, five year, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract, signed in July, continues delivery order options on MRZR 2 and MRZR 4 vehicles – along with contractor logistics support (CLS) for spares, training and support as part of the light tactical all-terrain vehicle (LTATV) program. Since 2013, Polaris Defense has been delivering MRZR vehicles to USSOCOM under a blanket purchase agreement (BPA) against a GSA contract.

“We’ve been providing the MRZR for three years to USSOCOM and this contract reiterates that ultralight mobility is still a critical component of Special Operations Forces missions,” said Rich Haddad, Polaris Defense General Manager. “These are extremely configurable platforms, providing operators the ability to quickly prepare for missions even in the most extreme terrain. MRZRs provide extreme mobility SOF can count on, that deploys in tactical air, providing maximum flexibility.”

The MRZR is a highly mobile off-road platform that is CV-22 internally transportable and can be configured a number of ways to help expeditionary forces meet mission requirements for emerging threats, while forward deployed. Some common tactical features of these off-road platforms include increased payload, standard winch, electronic power steering, aircraft tie-downs, fold down rollover protective structures (ROPS), large cargo boxes, IR light capability and blackout mode.

“Our customers appreciate that we use robust commercial off-the-shelf components for intuitive operation and easier maintenance worldwide,” said Haddad. “Our MRZRs are in service in more than 20 countries, providing a high degree of interoperability and commonality among U.S. and allied forces.”

Polaris Defense brings game-changing resources to the military in the area of ultra-light off-road mobility as part of a larger, commercial company. Polaris provides a wealth of engineering, production and sustainability resources that come with being a recognized leader in the off-road vehicle industry. Polaris maintains a robust global network of dealers, distributors, and subsidiaries, providing dedicated full life-cycle support for these vehicles throughout the world. And with a proven and well-established Defense team, the company works closely with military customers to gain a thorough understanding of their off-road mobility needs, as well as their support requirements when they operate globally.

www.polaris.com/en-us/military

The New Zealand Army To Replace The Steyr With A Lewis Machine & Tool AR-15 Style Rifle

Monday, August 17th, 2015

According to a Request for Tender available on the New Zealand Ministry of Defence website, The New Zealand Army has chosen to replace the Steyr AUG currently in service with an AR-15 Style rifle manufactured by Lewis Machine & Tool. The US-based manufacturer was one of multiple companies chosen for the Individual Weapon Trial Phase, which was conducted between March 2nd and June 1st of 2015.

Replacement Individual Weapon

After the trials, LMT was selected by the Ministry of Defence as the preferred Tenderer. Pending a Due Dilligence activity by the Ministry, negotiation of a contract package, and New Zealand Government approval, LMT will be awarded a contract to provide the rifles. The exact model of LMT rifle hasn’t been revealed, although according to sources, the rifles are expected to start fielding in 2016-2017.

The New Zealand Army is already well acquainted with Lewis Machine & Tool, having selected and fielded a LMT DMR since 2012. Here is a video released by the NZDF of the LMT DMR in action:

You can find out more information on the New Zealand Army’s ongoing Weapon Replacement and Upgrade Program at www.army.mil.nz/our-capability/firepower/weapons-upgrade.

Polaris Defense – Contract Awarded For Ground Guidance Route Planning Software Integration Into ATAK

Friday, August 14th, 2015

Ground Guidance Screen Shot

MINNEAPOLIS (August 13, 2015) — A contract for Ground Guidance software expands the patented route planning and terrain analysis software for the U.S. Army by integrating it into the Android Tactical Assault Kit (ATAK) platform. The software suite from Primordial, which is owned by Polaris Industries Inc. (NYSE: PII), provides on and off-road routing for mounted and dismounted soldiers, accounting for terrain, weather, enemy activity and equipment load. The contract also includes a computer-based training (CBT) package.

Military small unit leaders face complex tradeoffs when selecting equipment and routes. Ground Guidance, when integrated into platforms like ATAK, plans efficient and safe routes to and from mission objectives and allows soldiers to account for other variables that impact speed and time.

“We continue to expand the integration of Ground Guidance onto our mission planning platforms because it accelerates mission planning, enables dynamic and rapid re-planning, facilitates thorough course of action (COA) analysis, and is critical for remote mission planning,” said LTC Robert Klarenbach, U.S. Army. “Bottom line, it increases the combat effectiveness of our soldiers.”

Also, with each platform and integration comes user evaluation and testing to improve the software and verify the accuracy of route metrics such as distance, duration, energy expenditure, calories burned and exhaustion.

“Ground Guidance dramatically accelerates mission planning, facilitates on-the-fly re-planning, and improves route quality by automatically generating fast and concealed routes through on- and off-road terrain,” said Randy Milbert, Director of Software, Polaris. “As a result, small combat teams are more autonomous, nimble and adaptable in quickly changing battlefield conditions.”

Ground Guidance has been integrated into FalconView, TerraExplorer, Nett Warrior, X-Plan, Ringtail, Tactical Ground Reporting (TIGR) and Google Earth. Primordial has also secured Ground Guidance contracts with major defense contractors including General Dynamics, Rockwell Collins, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon.

www.polaris.com/en-us/military

More SPS-TEP Shenanigans

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

In case you missed last week’s post on the US Army’s Soldier Protection System – Torso and Extremity Protection program’s issues regarding contracting and requirements changes, you need the go back and read it because there were a lot of revelations by a guy who works for the company that originally developed the winning system for the USMC, before it was adopted by the Army.  A commentor who adopted the monicker “Nice Try” made some interesting assertions about the government design as well as the program overall, and even went so far as to admitting to purchasing at least one commercial armor vest while working on the Scalable Modular Vest program. I’ll call that his “Edward Snowden” moment. It’s an accepted fact in the international community that governments spy on one another. Nobody makes any noise about it unless obvious evidence is presented and that’s exactly what Snowden did when he disclosed classified document after document detailing US intelligence operations. Naturally, some of those governments complained.  The same goes in the tactical industry. Companies know that their competitors are buying or otherwise getting ahold of their products but no one says anything, until someone admits to doing it. “Nice Try” is that guy. His employer should expect some fallout over his actions. He also made statements that led us to believe that his company continued to work on the SMV after it was not adopted by the Marines, and picked by the Army as their SPS-TEP candidate.

One of “Nice Try’s” claims is that no commercial technologies were transferred into the SMV design but this assertion was later disputed in a comment by TYR Tactical CEO Jason Beck. In particular Beck is concerned about his patent pending ballistic vein which looks surprisingly similar to the “card” found in the MSV during industry day.  

  
This “card” was not a component of the original MSV tested by the Marine Corps so it had to have been introduced to the vest sometime later, after it was chosen by the Army to be their SPS-TEP candidate. TYR Tactical’s patent pending ballistic vein on the other hand was a component in their vest design submitted to the program via their prime, Point Blank. I asked Jason Beck to amplify information regarding the ballistic vein in his comment on the original post and he provided this statement.  

I originally designed the ballistic vein in the summer of 2010 as part of our Modular Scalable Tailorable (MST) system, which was down selected by PEO for that solicitation. There were two original intents for the advent of the vein. (Editor’s note: MST was one of the Soldier Protection Demonstrations which were designed to investigate various commercial armor technologies.  For example, SPD 7 resulted in the adoption of the Soldier Plate Carrier System.)

The first intent was to increase load carriage performance specifically for a tactical nylon carrier. Historically, tactical carriers have lacked stability and rigidity. For example, if you try to set one up vertically on a table or on the floor, it will likely just fall over. Once the carrier is being worn, the same lack of structure affects the wearer’s overall load carriage when placing pouches, tools or any additional weight to the nylon. The result is pulling or sagging of the carrier, ultimately causing fatigue due to improper load carriage.

The second intent was to incorporate the vein as part of an overall system to enhance ballistic performance of both soft armor and plates. When we tested the vein in our system (and in conjunction with other manufacturers armor), it actually enhanced the overall ballistic performance of both fragmentation and stability throughout first, second and third round hits of 9mm. Back face deformation was reduced, and V50 performance was enhanced. The vein helps prevent bunching of the soft armor and supports the plates and soft armor to improve edge hit protection.

The vein has been presented multiple times to the Army in several solicitations and white papers since 2010, including the most recent SPS solicitation for which we were down selected with our former partner for SPS. Our tactical carrier and ballistic vein were submitted along with PPEs soft armor solution. The vein was an integral part of every iteration of the system that we submitted for SPS. Obviously, the TYR Tactical/PPE system was not chosen, although a ballistic vein is present in the Army’s final selection.

We have placed the vein in all of our tactical systems, and many of our other ballistic and load carriage products since it was developed in 2010. It’s original intent was solely for tactical carriers and vests, but based on the performance we have seen, it is also incorporated into multiple ballistic products ranging from low vis carriers, collars, throats, biceps, belts, etc.

What is disheartening about the vein showing up in the system that was chosen for SPS, is that we followed the process as it was presented to us, and we were assured that process would be fair and open. We went down the path to protect our IP by filing a patent, which was well documented at the beginning and throughout every step of the SPS submission process. Industry was given left and right limits to follow, but in the end those same standards were not applicable to the Army’s selection.

Ultimately, along with many other factors, led me for the first time in 17 years of business, to come to the decision to file an official protest

Based on statements by Jason Beck and “Nice Try” we know that the Army saw the technology several times and in particular during the SPS-TEP source selection process. As far as we know, it was not present in any of the other candidate’s vests during the solictation and it is not a common item found in commercial or government design armor vests, so we can say that it was thought to be unique to TYR Tactical. Yet, both have similar designs and seem to function in a similar manner. We are not sure when the Army introduced it to the government design except that it happened after the USMC accepted the original MSVs but prior to the end of the down select. Nor do we understand why and how the Army developed the card. Although TYR Tactical was a subcontractor on the SPS-TEP solicitation, they still submitted a protest due in part, to the presence of the card in the Army design, as well as other irregularities with soliciation. In responding to the protest, the Army failed to address their concerns.

This Is What LPTA Gets You

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

As you may recall from our recent article on the Soldier Protection System – Torso and Extremity Protection system, one of the awardees of the “Lowest Price Technically Acceptable” contracts for its manufacture is Hawk Protection Incorporated whose Headquarters’ address is listed on their website as: 8362 Pines Boulevard # 280, Pembroke Pines, FL 33024.  

  
We googled the address which got us to scratching our heads.  

  

Here is a photo of the front entrance to Hawk Protection Incorporated’s US Headquarters.

  

I wonder where they put all of the sewing machines.

Marines Choose Kestrel as Scout Sniper Ballistic Computer

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

MARCORSYSCOM Selects Kestrel to Support United States Marine Corps

Kestrel Weather & Environmental Meters has been selected by Marine Corps System Command to provide the material solution for the Scout Sniper Ballistic Computers (SSBC) program.

“Kestrel has proudly supported Marine Corps Scout Snipers with rugged environmental meters for more than 15 years, starting with the original Kestrel 4000 Weather Tracker, through to the Kestrel 4500 with Applied Ballistics selected on this contract,” said Nielsen-Kellerman (NK) CEO Alix James. “We are constantly working to develop solutions that make our warfighters more effective without weighing them down with unnecessary gear. We are honored that this selection confirms that we’re building what our soldiers need.” NK is the manufacturer of the Kestrel Weather & Environmental Meters.

U.S. Representative Patrick Meehan (PA, 7th District) said, “The Marine Corps’ decision is great news for our warfighters. And ?having visited the Nielsen-Kellerman facilities in Boothwyn, Pennsylvania, and met the hard-working men and women who create this innovative product, the Marine Corps announcement is good for jobs and growth in Pennsylvania as well.”

The Kestrel 4500 with Applied Ballistics is a 4-ounce, hand-held meter that combines accurate wind, direction, temperature, pressure and humidity readings with a built-in advanced ballistics calculator and bullet performance database. The Kestrel outputs elevation and wind holds calculated for the precise weapon, round and target characteristics, allowing snipers to put first shots on target at 1000 yards and beyond.

  
The 887 Kestrel meters purchased will be supplied in a complete field support kit containing the following:

• Desert Tan Kestrel Applied Ballistic ITAR Tactical Unit
• Screen Protection Kit
• Pelican 1015 Black Case
• Mystery Ranch Molle Soft Case

All Kestrel Weather Meters are designed and built in Pennsylvania, and the Kestrel Kit selected for this contract award is fully Berry Amendment and BUY American Act compliant. Broader adoption of the Kestrel with Applied Ballistics is anticipated as other services are presently evaluating its performance and capabilities.

This contract award will be supplied by long-time authorized Kestrel resale partner, ADS, Inc., a primary vendor under the Defense Supply Center Special Operations Tailored Logistics Support (TLS) Program.

USSOCOM Interested in Updating Releasable Maritime Body Armor Vests and Maritime Load Carriage System

Friday, July 17th, 2015

PM-Special Operations Forces Survival, Support and Equipment Systems (PM-SOF SSES) issued a Sources Sought Notice requesting samples of two different MBAV configurations (Maritime Operations (MAROPS) and Land Warfare variants), and all the associated MLCS pockets, pouches, and accessories necessary for combat across the spectrum of operations.

The following limited pockets and pouches are requested for the samples submitted with each vest:
a. 3- double-stacked M4 pouches
b. 1- PRC 148 pouch (152 capable)
c. 2- smoke grenade pouches
d. 1- 7.62mm 100 round pouch
e. Small utility pouch (NVG’s, E&R, etc.)
f. 1- double Sig Sauer 9mm pouch
g. Low profile admin pouch

The intent is to choose a single vendor to provide all body armor vest and load carriage components. PM SOF-SESS reserves the right to choose multiple vendors. Vendors may submit more than one version of the MBAV, but not more than three.

The MBAV candidates must be interoperable with Generation IV and V SPEAR Body Armor Plates. Now get this, while the pouches have to attach securely to the carrier and backwards compatible with existing SPEAR items, the Soirces Sought Notice does not specify MOLLE or PALS.  That opens up some interesting possibilities.  Finally, this is a maritime requirement so naturally, the carrier will need to incorporate flotation. 

MBAVs must integrate with a low profile, integrated modular floatation system with an easy to install and removable bladder capable of providing no less than 70 lb. of positive buoyancy when inflated on the surface and 40 lbs. at 1 ATM. Modular floatation sub-component shall not reduce or minimally reduce area available for MLCS accessory attachment. Bladders and floatation capability must be easily removable for land operations.

Interstingly, they state that the land variant vest will only be pursued if it provides a substantial gain in capabilities over the currently issued vest. However, wouldn’t it be great if both variants were similar in design and operation?

Interested parties have until 20 August, 2015 to submit their entries.

* Of General Interest To SSD Readers, This Is A Full List of MLCS Components
M-4 Single Mag Pouch, 2 Mags per pouch
M-4 Single Pouch, 3 Mags Per Pouch, Maritime
M-4 Double Pouch/ 2 Mags per Pouch, Maritime
M-4 Triple Pouch, 2 Mags per Pouch, Maritime
M-4 Single Pouch, 1 Mag Per Pouch w/ Kydex
M-4 Single Pouch, 3 Mags Per Pouch
M-9 Single Mag Pouch with Kydex Insert
M-9 Single Mag Pouch, Flat v.2
M60 Ammo Pouch (100RD) w/DET Top Maritime
40 MM Grenade Pouch-Double
40 MM Grenade Pouch, Triple
100oz Fluid Carrier Pouch (NOTE: Carrier only. Not a system.)
200RD Saw Pouch Maritime
Assaulter’s Armband
Beaver Tail Assault Pack
Canteen/General Purpose Pouch Maritime
Charge Pouch w/ Anti-static
Deployment Bag-Small (1000D Khaki and Ranger Green)
Fore Trek GPS Pouch Wrist/Chest
Frag Grenade Pouch-Single Maritime
GRG Chest Pouch
Low Profile Special Purpose Chest Rig v.2
MOLLE Interface for Belt
Multi-Purpose Chest Rig v.2
Operator Gun Belt Pad – Sized Item – SMALL v.2
Operator Gun Belt Pad – Sized Item – MED v.2
Operator Gun Belt Pad – Sized Item – LARGE v.2
Operator Gun Belt Pad – Sized Item – XL v.2
Protective Insert for Night Vision
Radio Pocket (MBITR) Maritime
Radio Pocket (MBITR) w/ 5590 Pouch v.2
Roller bag, Small v.2 (1000D Khaki and Ranger Green)
Shock Tube Pouch v.2
Shotgun, 24 Shell Ammo Pouch v.2
Slung Weapon Belt Catch, (Gun Retainer) v.2
Smoke Grenade Pouch-Single v.2
SOF Medical Pouch v.2
Strip Charge Pouch, Single
Utility Pouch v.2

BDATech Announced By United States Air Force Battlefield Airmen Special Projects Office (SPO) As Their Operational Control System (OCS) Solution

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

Black Diamond Advanced Technology (BDATech) is proud to announce the selection of our Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) APEx Predator System by the United States Air Force Battlefield Airmen Special Projects Office (SPO) as their Operational Control System (OCS) solution.

apex-banner

BDATech received the $48.1M, 5 year IDIQ contract on 6 July 2015 along with an initial order of 22 APEx Predator System kits for Operational Testing. BDATech’s APEx Predator System is planned to be fielded to all USAF Battlefield Airmen to include Tactical Air Control Party (TACP), Combat Control Teams (CCT), Para Rescue (PJ) and Combat Weatherman. Once fielded, these Airmen will have the APEx Predator System embedded alongside every US Army Combat Maneuver Element from Heavy Armor to Tier 1 SOF units. BDATech is putting the most technologically advanced tactical computing and power management system ever developed into the hands of the most lethal force multipliers in the world.

The APEx Predator System (APS) is a modular, wearable system which consists of the Agile Port Expander (APEx) Controller for POWER + DATA distribution, a Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) tablet computer, and system cabling optimized for tactical plate carrier use in dismounted operations. APEx provides connections for multiple peripheral cables, a system power cable and a tactical computer, or end user device (EUD). As a recognized leader in dismounted fires solutions BDATech applied years of lessons-learned to create the APS, which leverages combat-proven features of the Modular Tactical System (MTS), for flexible and reliable power management, human factors design and world-class environmental performance.

The APS is a ruggedized wearable system that provides tactical communications on commercial tablets / computers to enable C4ISR, DACAS operations, SUAS control and much more for the dismounted operator. BDATech customers are using the APS globally in various theatres of conflict. The combat-proven APS has been demonstrated as an effective enabler of precision targeting and other mission sets. The system is comprised of multiple elements, each offered a-la-carte to meet the needs of each customer’s unique requirements. These system elements include a ruggedized tablet computer, the APEx controller, power cables and battery charger, a large number of peripheral equipment cable options and tactical soft-goods such as plate carriers, assault packs and pouches.

At the heart of the APS is the Agile Port Expander (APEx) Controller which intelligently distributes power to connected devices and enables data communication of tactical data radios, video downlink, targeting and many other devices to the computer. The APEx Controller employs 5Gbps SuperSpeed USB (3.0) on four sealed circular military-grade universal peripheral ports that allows the user to connect multiple tactical peripherals to any computer, tablet or smartphone. The APEx Controller provides a unique human factors design that facilitates cable routing of connected interfaces in one-direction from the controller. This has been shown to greatly simplify cable routing to accommodate mounting the APEx Controller both vertically or horizontally, whether directly attached to PALS webbing on MOLLE-compatible vests/packs or stowed inside a pouch.

www.bdatech.com

Congrats guys! This has been a long time coming!

Back By Popular Demand: Arc’teryx LEAF Sphinx Pant

Monday, July 6th, 2015

Amswering the call from a Government customer, Arc’teryx has produced a limited run of the ever propular MultiCam Sphinx Pants to tide them over until a replacement is unveiled.

Sphinx

This run will be limited to 500 pairs, and will be available just in time for end-of-year purchasing. This run of Sphinx pants will be produced to the same specs as the originals, made of the same fabrics and including the original feature set.

leaf.arcteryx.com

US Army Issues Draft RFP for XM17 Modular Handgun System

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

We just received this notice from PEO Soldier. The XM17 Modular Handgun System is meant to replace the current M9 pistol across DoD.

XM17 draft request for proposals released

FORT BELVOIR, Va. (Jun. 17, 2015) – The U.S. Army Program Executive Office Soldier announced today that a draft solicitation for a new military handgun was released on the Federal Business Opportunities website. This announcement follows the agency’s notice that the Army intends to host a fourth industry day July 7-8 at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., to discuss the document and receive feedback from industry.

The draft lays out the latest proposed competition schedule, procedures and requirements for the XM17 Modular Handgun System. These were modified as a result of industry feedback and DoD’s decision to allow use of special purpose ammunition. It gives industry a final opportunity to review and provide feedback on the Army’s refined strategy prior to release of the final RFP.
Program Manager for Soldier Weapons, Colonel Scott Armstrong said the Army will procure the XM17 through full and open competition.

“We expect to release the final solicitation in 2016,” he said. “This will be followed a phased down-select process that will run through 2017.”

“When all is said and done,” Armstrong said, “the XM17 will provide Warfighters with greater accuracy, target acquisition, ergonomic design.” “The new handgun will also be more reliable, durable and easier to maintain.”

“Each vendor may provide up to two separate proposals of handguns with different calibers to the Army for evaluation and testing in early 2016,” he said.

“Our strategy will take full advantage of a world-class industrial base. Vendors must submit mature designs that are production ready. They are free to select a caliber that best meets the XM17 requirements.”

The XM17 is expected to be more effective and lethal than the Army’s current pistol. Current plans call for the Army to purchase more than 280,000 handguns from a single vendor, with full rate production scheduled for 2018. The Army also plans to buy approximately 7,000 compact versions of the handgun. The other military services participating in the XM17 program may order an additional 212,000 systems.

The updated Draft RFP page is www.fbo.gov and the latest version of the draft is now available.