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Marine Corps’ Next-Generation Virtual Marksmanship Trainers Hit The Fleet

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. — The Marine Corps’ next-generation marksmanship trainer is headed to the fleet. The Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer III adds three new weapons, 3-D imagery, and enhanced training modes, giving Marines a better, more realistic training experience as they prepare for the complexities of modern warfare.


Master Sgt. Jorge Carrillo, staff non-commissioned officer-in-charge at Marksmanship Training Battalion aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, fires an M72 Light Anti-Tank Weapon, one of the new additions to the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer III. The ISMT III adds three new weapons, 3-D imagery, and enhanced training modes, giving Marines a better, more realistic training experience as they prepare for the complexities of modern warfare. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Ashley Calingo)


New weapons, better graphics

The Marine Corps adopted virtual training in the mid-1990s as a way to sharpen Marines’ marksmanship skills. This first system—the Firearms Training Simulator—was designed primarily to train Marines for rifle and pistol qualifications. Over time, FATS evolved into ISMT, which added new weapons and video scenarios for Marines. ISMT III ups the ante by providing wireless connectivity to the M9 service pistol, M4 carbine and adding three new wireless weapons—the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle, M32A1 Multi-Shot Grenade Launcher and M72 Light Anti-Tank Weapons.

“In the evolution of this training system, it went from a specific one to two weapon system and now pretty much covers the full spectrum of small arms weapons that are used by the Marine Corps today,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Matthew Harris, ISMT III project officer in Marine Corps Systems Command’s Training Systems. “ISMT helps to build fundamentals of muscle memory for Marines so that when they hit the range, they are ready to respond to real-life scenarios.”

Harris also noted that ISMT III includes filters for the squad day optic and machine gun day optic Marines use with the M27 and M240 to alleviate the problem of pixilation when shooting in a virtual environment.

“Before, if Marines used the optic inside the ISMT, they could see all of the pixilation because the optic would magnify what’s on the ISMT screen. ISMT III incorporates a diffuser, allowing Marines to use the optic inside the simulation without the blurry pixilation of the screen,” said Harris.

ISMT III also improves the user’s experience by providing 3D graphics and imagery that is consistent with the graphic capabilities offered by most gaming systems today, said Harris.

“The old system had very rudimentary, two-dimensional graphics,” said Harris. “In the old system, if you were looking at a tree, it would look flat from any angle. ISMT III offers industry-standard graphic imagery. So, instead of having an outline of a figure, you can actually see the roundness of the shoulder, the front and back of them as he’s moving to and from.”


Marine Corps’ next-generation virtual marksmanship trainers hit the fleet Cpls. Noah Paul and Geovanni Martinez, combat marksmanship coaches and Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer operators, fire M27 Infantry Automatic Rifles at the ISMT III training range aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. The M27 is one of three new weapons offered with the ISMT III. The M27 comes with enhanced squad day optics, which enable Marines to see their screens more clearly in a virtual environment. The ISMT III adds three new weapons, 3-D imagery, and enhanced training modes, giving Marines a better, more realistic training experience as they prepare for the complexities of modern warfare. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Ashley Calingo)


Enhanced training modes, capabilities

ISMT III also improves the user’s training experience with collective training mode capabilities and additional, enhanced training and judgement scenarios. The collective training mode is new to ISMT III and enables Marines to train side-by-side and work on a common objective before heading to the training range.

“Say you’re going to Twenty-Nine Palms and are going to run a range for a platoon-supported attack,” said Harris. “I can bring in a machine gun squad and have them go through—in collective mode—training to work on communication, target identification and suppression, ammunition consumption. Marines can now go through some of the minor details that they typically couldn’t do unless they went out to the range and fired live.”

Perhaps one of ISMT III’s greatest training enhancements is the addition of several authoring stations across the Corps that enable Marines—in conjunction with combat camera troops and other skilled video personnel—to film and upload their own scenarios.

“If Marines are looking for a specific training scenario that isn’t currently available, they can use the authoring station to create that scenario,” said Harris.

The 10 new judgement scenarios enable Marines to immerse themselves in realistic environments and situations—such as a vehicle checkpoint, a room clearing, gate operations or an active shooter situation. Harris said the new judgement scenarios are not just infantry-specific; they are “Marine Corps-esque” situations in which any Marine could potentially find him or herself.

ISMT III can also simulate moving targets, one of the upgraded training enhancements from previous ISMT iterations.

“One of the scenarios in ISMT III that wasn’t in the older version is that of a moving target,” said Master Sgt. Jorge Carrillo, staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge at Marksmanship Training Battalion aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico. “In this scenario, the target simulates movement, like it’s closing in on the shooter. In real life, the Marine closes in on the target, but you can’t really do that indoors. But because the screen simulates movement, you’re actually able to execute training as if you were doing it outside in the real world.”

“The best marksmen the military can offer”

The Corps has fielded around 200 of the 490 ISMT III systems destined for major Marine Corps bases, reserve duty sites, amphibious transport docks and amphibious assault ships worldwide. Land-based installations of ISMT III are projected to be finished by September 2018. Amphibious installations will occur concurrently, but may take more time to implement than land-based installations due to the need to retrofit the system onto designated spaces aboard each ship.

“Marksmanship is embedded in the Marine Corps,” said Carrillo. “As technology advances and weapons get better and more accurate, we need to teach Marines how to use those weapons and improve their marksmanship, so that we can continue to be the best marksmen the military can offer.”

By Ashley Calingo, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command

Corps Completes Final JPADS Delivery to Marines

Friday, June 30th, 2017

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Virginia— Marine Corps Systems Command fielded the last of 162 Joint Precision Airdrop Systems to the fleet in April, turning the page from acquisition to sustainment of the system for the Corps.


Marine parachute riggers with 1st Marine Logistics Group and a crew chief with Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron-22 (VMX-22) prepare to deploy a palletized load from above 10,000 feet during the Joint Precision Airdrop System testing Aug. 1, at the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground. The JPADS systems use GPS, a modular autonomous guidance unit, or MAGU, a parachute and electric motors to guide cargo within 150 meters of their target points. Marine Corps Systems Command fielded the last of 162 JPADS to the fleet in April, turning the page from acquisition to sustainment of the system for the Corps. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Reba James)

When the JPADS 2K was introduced to the Marine Corps in 2008, it opened the door to a potentially life- saving capability for Marines on the ground and in the air. In 2013, the Corps upgraded to the 2K-Modular which included an improved modular autonomous guidance unit called the MAGU. JPADS 2K-M improved accuracy over traditional airdrops while simultaneously enabling aircraft to conduct drops at higher altitudes and longer distances from the drop zone.

“JPADS brings an important capability to Marines,” said Capt. Keith Rudolf, Aerial Delivery project officer with Marine Corps Systems Command’s Ground Combat Element Systems. “It’s not the answer for every situation, but the main goal is to keep people off the roads in an [improvised explosive device] environment or when small units are in locations that are not easily accessible by traditional logistic means.”
JPADS is ideal for cases where it is easier and safer to deliver equipment and supplies to ground units from the air versus using a convoy, Rudolf said.

“An average combat logistics patrol in Afghanistan that’s running behind a route clearance platoon may travel at only five to six miles an hour,” he said. “Depending on how much supply you have on there, you may have a mile worth of trucks that are slow-moving targets. [JPADS] negates a lot of that.”

The system also helps keep aircrews out of harm’s way.

“From the aircraft perspective, [JPADS] can be dropped from up to 25 kilometers away from the intended target, while still landing within 150 meters of the programed impact point,” Rudolf said. “Throughout testing, the systems often averaged much greater accuracy. That means the aircraft does not have to fly directly over a danger zone where they could be engaged with small arms or enemy threats on the ground. They can fly outside of that and because the system is autonomous, it will fly its best path down to where it needs to go.”

Marine Corps Modernizing Emergency Response Capabilities Across The Corps

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. —
Marine Corps bases worldwide are gaining increased emergency response capabilities with the implementation of the Consolidated Emergency Response System, or CERS. CERS standardizes emergency dispatching capabilities and provides emergency first responders with enhanced command and coordination to support all hazardous response missions aboard Marine Corps installations.


Maj. Mark Simmons, systems engineer for Consolidated Emergency Response System, stands in front of a newly-installed CERS emergency dispatcher workstation aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. CERS aggregates multiple capabilities—Enhanced 911, Computer-Aided Dispatch, and fire station alerting—into a single workstation, giving emergency dispatchers the ability to quickly dispatch the appropriate assets where necessary. CERS increases the effectiveness of emergency response operations aboard Marine Corps installations worldwide. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Ashley Calingo)

CERS was conceived following the 2009 Fort Hood shooting in which 13 people were killed and 43 wounded or injured. A Department of Defense review of the tragedy highlighted opportunities for improved emergency response procedures and capabilities throughout the DoD. In response, the Marine Corps created the CERS program of record, a multifaceted system that integrates modernized equipment and software to expedite and streamline emergency response activities.

“The Consolidated Emergency Response System standardizes and modernizes emergency dispatching capabilities across the Marine Corps,” said Maj. Mark Simmons, systems engineer for CERS and Enhanced 911 at Marine Corps Systems Command. “CERS aggregates multiple capabilities—E911, Computer-Aided Dispatch, incident records management and fire station alerting—into a single workstation, giving emergency dispatchers the ability to quickly, and more accurately, dispatch the appropriate assets where necessary in the shortest time possible.”

Modernized Capabilities

CERS was implemented in two phases. The first implementation phase involved the installation of the E911 system on Marine Corps bases worldwide beginning in 2014. E911 provides enhanced, GPS coordinate-driven caller location information to emergency dispatchers, enabling them to provide more precise location information to emergency responders. E911 also establishes 911 as the only number to call for emergencies aboard Marine Corps bases.

“Previously, a lot of bases had a standard base telephone number that they’d call for emergency, fire, law enforcement or emergency medical services, instead of simply dialing 911,” said Simmons. “Now, emergency calls are routed to a single place. Anytime there’s an emergency on base, dial 911.”

The second phase of CERS involved the installation of Computer-Aided Dispatch, incident records management and fire station alerting capabilities.

Computer-Aided Dispatch, or CAD, is the second major component of CERS. CAD is a computer application that allows dispatchers to accurately track and task available emergency responders to expedite response times.

“Essentially, CAD is going to help emergency dispatchers get the first responders to the incident in the quickest, most efficient manner,” said George Berger, Emergency Dispatch Services program manager at Marine Corps Installation Command. “CAD provides an incident records management system and will help emergency dispatchers provide resource management situational awareness.”


An emergency dispatcher uses the newly-installed Consolidated Emergency Response System emergency dispatcher workstation aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. CERS aggregates multiple capabilities—Enhanced 911, Computer-Aided Dispatch, and fire station alerting—into a single workstation, giving emergency dispatchers the ability to quickly dispatch the appropriate assets where necessary. CERS increases the effectiveness of emergency response operations aboard Marine Corps installations worldwide. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Ashley Calingo)

The incident records management system enables dispatch center supervisors to easily retrieve data from past emergency events. Before the incident records management system, supervisors had to review logbooks and databases from different emergency response groups—such as law enforcement and fire—in order to collect all the details that occurred during an incident. Now, the supervisor may accomplish the research from their workstation, using a dedicated organized process not previously available, said Berger.

Enhanced fire station alerts streamline dispatchers’ ability to send emergency responders to the scene of an incident. Base fire stations are also outfitted with upgraded audio and visual cues that are deployable at the push of a dispatcher’s button, decreasing the time it takes for dispatchers to alert emergency responders.

Together, the systems in CERS match the capabilities found in civilian emergency dispatch centers, increasing the effectiveness of operations and lowering response time to incidents aboard Marine Corps installations.

Impacting Marine installations worldwide

The Marine Requirements Oversight Council selected 13 of the 24 Marine Corps bases worldwide to receive CERS. Currently, phase two of CERS is being implemented in emergency dispatch centers at the 13 selected installations. Before CERS, each base had its own method of emergency dispatching, said Berger.

“In many cases, the older emergency dispatch system may have consisted of a pen and paper,” said Berger. “CERS is a standardized solution, which will help coordinate all calls for service and support the moving parts of law enforcement, fire and emergency medical service activities.”

CERS is part of the Supporting Establishment Systems portfolio at Marine Corps Systems Command. The CERS team provides critical information technology solutions to emergency first responders at Marine Corps installations worldwide, heightening the safety and security of Marines, sailors, civilians and families who live and work on base.

“I want to say thank you to the Marine Corps Systems Command folks for going through this effort and fielding this solution,” said Berger. “It’s been a long time coming and the team has been working hard. As the headquarters advocate, I truly appreciate their efforts, as do each of the 13 Installations.”

By Ashley Calingo, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command | June 13, 2017

Marine Corps Systems Command Awards Contract to Produce Enhanced Combat Helmet

Sunday, June 11th, 2017

Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. — Marine Corps Systems Command has awarded a $51 million contract to provide Enhanced Combat Helmets to every Marine – a move that will help keep Marines safe throughout training and deployments.



Marine Corps Systems Command has awarded a contract to provide Enhanced Combat Helmets to the fleet. The ECH exploits lightweight material technology to provide enhanced ballistic protection against select small arms and fragmentation. The helmet consists of a ballistic shell, suspension pads, and four-point retention system. In addition to the above components, a reversible helmet cover, night vision goggle bracket and attachment hardware will be provided for wear. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Isaac Ibarra)

Gentex Corporation, of Simpson, Pennsylvania, was selected to produce and deliver the helmets. Gentex was awarded a five-year, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract.

Since 2014, Marines have only been issued the ECH when they prepare for deployment. This purchase will enable Marines to use the helmet during training as well, eliminating the need to trade helmets before and after deployments.

“Right now, we have three helmets fielded, but the future vision is a single helmet for all operating forces, which greatly simplifies logistics considerations and increases cost savings,” said Nick Pierce, team lead, Body Armor and Load Bearing Equipment.

Also used by the Army and Navy, the ECH provides the most ballistic protection beyond any other Department of Defense helmet. It exploits lightweight material technology to provide enhanced ballistic protection against select small arms and fragmentation. The helmet consists of a ballistic shell, suspension pads and four-point retention system. In addition to those components, a reversible helmet cover, night vision goggle bracket and attachment hardware will be provided for wear.

Helmets were tested as part of the source selection process in January 2017.

First Article Testing will begin in September 2017 and support delivery of the first order for 35,424 helmets. Fielding is scheduled for the spring of 2018 and will include I, II and III Marine Expeditionary Forces.

The ultimate future vision for the ECH is to safeguard Marines in training and deployments with one helmet, Pierce said.

“The ECH is the helmet of the future Marine,” said Maj. John Draper, ECH project officer. “It’s important for Marines to train with the same gear they will bring into combat.”

By Kaitlin Kelly, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command |

Marine Corps Systems Command Aligns Portfolios to MAGTF

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Virginia— Marine Corps Systems Command is realigning its organizational structure to rapidly equip the Marine Air Ground Task Force with the tools needed to adapt and overcome in any clime and place.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert B. Neller’s 2016 Fragmentary Order #1, “Advance to Contact,” ordered a comprehensive review of the Corps’ force structure and organization no later than the end of fiscal year 2017. Giving Combat Development and Integration the
office of primary responsibility with Manpower and Reserve Affairs in support, he said, “We will be willing to accept risk in the size and organization of our units in order to create the capabilities we need for the future.”

To that end, MCSC concurrently conducted its own force structure review, according to MCSC Commander Brig. Gen. Joseph Shrader. The last force structure review was conducted in 2001.

“We looked at MCSC’s nine program offices, supporting staff elements, and subordinate command Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity to determine if the command was optimally aligned around the nature of the products it provides to the MAGTF,” Shrader said.


U.S. Marines patrol during a live-fire raid training event, part of Mission Rehearsal Exercise, in southern Jordan Sept. 12, 2016. The MRX is a collective training event where the Marine Air Ground Task Force elements collaborate to refine individual and cooperative capabilities. Marine Corps Systems Command, the acquisition command of the Marine Corps, is realigning its organizational structure to more rapidly equip the MAGTF with information technology and ground weapon systems and equipment. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Trever Statz/Released)

“Equipping the MAGTF is what makes Marine Corps acquisition unique,” he said. “It’s what makes us relevant.”

Everything MCSC does supports the MAGTF: command and control; force protection; maneuver; fires; logistics and intelligence. The command’s mission is to develop capability, provide equipment and integrate them throughout and beyond the MAGTF.

On June 1, MCSC reached initial operational capability—a
sea change in the command’s organization that is intended
to enhance MAGTF alignment across product lines. This change means the command will shift away from its former structure of nine program offices, with 32 product managers and 87 teams. The new MAGTF-aligned structure will feature four portfolios that are aligned across the MAGTF elements—with the exception of the Air Combat Element. This new structure will have 14 program managers, including two direct-report program managers.

The command is now realigned under the following portfolio managers: PfM Command Element Systems, PfM Ground Combat Element Systems, PfM Logistics Combat Element Systems and PfM Support Establishment Systems. Twelve of the 14 program managers are aligned under the portfolio managers, and the program managers for Training Systems and Light Armored Vehicles will continue to report directly to the MCSC commander.

Complete integration of the new structure is planned for Oct. 1. It will include refining and defining command relationships; aligning operations and customer interfaces with existing processes for prioritizing, resourcing and assessing work; and documenting and comprehensively supporting the organizational design.

“The future of Marine Corps ground weapons and information technology systems will continue to involve identifying and defeating complex and increasingly sophisticated threats,” said Shrader. “MCSC is prepping the battlefield with an eye on the future. Through our realignment, I am confident we will be better positioned to field the most advanced, affordable and relevant technologies; and increase the speed at which we deliver those capabilities to the MAGTF.”

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

Thursday, May 18th, 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.

USMC M27 Update – Designated Marksman Role Added

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

During this week’s NDIA Armamement Symposium, Mr Chris Woodburn, Deputy, Maneuver Branch of the Marine Corps Capabilities Development Directorate discussed the expanded roles for the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle. Adopted in 2011, the M27 is based on Heckler & Koch’s 5.56mm HK416.

The Marine Corps has determined that the M27 has the longest range in the squad and plans to capitalize on this capability. In the near-term, they are planning to reconfigure an undetermined quantity of M27s with 3-9x optics for use as Squad Designated Marksman Rifle (SDM-R). This will happen starting in FY18, with fielding completed by FY19.

Additionally, evaluation of squads equipped solely with the M27 continues by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory. However, signs continue to point to a Marine Corps move to field the M27 to all Infantry. The Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen Robert Neller has a saying, “All Marines are riflemen, but not all Marines are infantrymen.” Based on the current resource constrained environment, his modernization priorities have been the infantry. For instance, the Marines plan to replace their M203 40mm grenade launchers with the M320, which is incidentally also made by H&K, like the M27. While the M320 assuredly adds capability to the squad due to its compatibility with a wider range of ammunition, it is also compatible with the M27, unlike the M203 it will replace.

On another note, Mr Woodburn was asked during a Q&A period about when we should expect the test report for last year’s suppressor evaluation. He said that it should be ready by Fall but that the Marine Corps’ suppressor priority was for its Medium Machine Guns. Scuttlebutt suggests that the Marines noted a decrease in range during the evaluation when used with the M4 and M27. Furthermore, Mr Woodburn mentioned that the Marines are interested in finding a suppressor that is compatible with the M27, which could be construed as further evidence of the Marine Corps’ intent to field more M27s. Or, it could mean that the IAR would be next in line after the suppression of the medium machinegun fleet.

The M27 Sources Sought Notice, released in February by the Marines, received several submissions from industry. MARCORSYSCOM is currently evaluating those submissions in order to help formulate an acquisition strategy. While the Marines are keeping their cards close to their chest, I believe they do intend to field the M27 to at least the Infantry. We will keep an eye on the M27 SDM-R implementation and update you when the USMC takes further action to increase the density of M27 in the rifle squad.

MARCORSYSCOM Hosts NATO Group – Focus ‘all about the Soldier, Sailor, Marine’

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

Defense experts from around the globe gathered at Marine Corps Systems Command April 5-7, to share information and work toward common solutions for complex issues across allied forces.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization Land Capability Group on Dismounted Soldier Systems convened at MCSC’s Gruntworks Squad Integration Facility aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico. Representatives from 20 countries and three continents discussed standardization of common capabilities and issues for coalition Marines and soldiers worldwide. LCG DSS is part of the NATO Army Armaments Group, one of the three main armaments groups subordinate to NATO’s Conference of National Armaments Directors. NAAG’s mission is to support nations in achieving the objectives of NATO land force armaments cooperation. It promotes interoperability of alliance and partner armed forces by means of information exchange, materiel standardization and cooperative activities.

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Brig. Gen. Joseph Shrader, commander of Marine Corps Systems Command, speaks with leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Land Capability Group on Dismounted Soldier Systems during the group’s biannual meeting aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico on April 5. LCG DSS is part of the NATO Army Armaments Group, one of the three main armaments groups subordinate to NATO’s Conference of National Armaments Directors. NAAG’s mission is to support nations in achieving the objectives of NATO land force armaments cooperation. It promotes interoperability of alliance and partner armed forces by means of information exchange, materiel standardization and cooperative activities. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Emily Greene)

Brig. Gen. Joseph Shrader, commander of MCSC, kicked off the three-day session with a warm welcome to attendees and provided a glimpse into the priorities of the Marine Corps.

“Our Marine Corps Operating Concept sets forth our commandant’s four directives,” said Shrader. “The future of the Corps is focused on being more capable, more networked, more resilient and more lethal. Those are the things I think about on a daily basis.”

Shrader placed emphasis on the mission of the Marine Corps rifle squad; which is to locate, close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver or to repel the enemy’s assault by fire and close combat. He said the question lies in how to continue accomplishing that mission as technology constantly develops, often adding to the load of the Marine even as it provides increased capability.

“Technology is a tremendous force multiplier, but it can also be a detractor,” Shrader said. “Additional technologies and capabilities often add weight and size to the load our Marines carry. What you are doing here this week is essential to the future success of our forces.”

Shrader was joined by Timothy Goddette, deputy program executive officer at the Army’s Program Executive Office Soldier.

“This group is all about the soldier, the sailor, the Marine. And not just the soldier, but the dismounted soldier,” said Goddette. “The time you spend here this week, and throughout the year is all about lightening the load, making the soldier more lethal, and providing better protection. It’s like the old carpenter’s motto, ‘Measure twice, cut once.’”


Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Land Capability Group on Dismounted Soldier Systems examine a prototype for exoskeleton technology April 5, aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico. During the three-day session, representatives from 20 countries and three continents discussed standardization of common capabilities and issues for coalition Marines and soldiers worldwide. LCG DSS is part of the NATO Army Armaments Group, one of the three main armaments groups subordinate to NATO’s Conference of National Armaments Directors. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Emily Greene)

Goddette said the group’s work served two important purposes: increasing the effectiveness of coalition forces and reducing defense costs.

“Every dollar we waste on something that doesn’t work is a dollar we could have spent on a soldier or Marine,” Goddette said. “We have to get it right the first time.”

LCG DSS members were also given opportunities to view new technologies that hold potential for future force enhancement and forums in which to share lessons learned and best practices.

“The LCG DSS meetings provide an important opportunity for us to come together as partner nations and share our hard-earned knowledge so that we all can benefit from it,” said Mark Richter, LCG DSS chairman and MCSC Marine Expeditionary Rifle Squad director. “I think we can all agree that our aim is to create systems that will work together in a coalition environment. These meetings are a key factor in facilitating that cross-collaboration.”

Story from www.marcorsyscom.marines.mil