GORE

Archive for the ‘PEO-Soldier’ Category

Soldiers “at the heart of” Modernizing Warfighter Gear

Friday, August 23rd, 2019

This is the Army News Service’s take on the Adaptive Squad Architecture industry day I attended earlier this week. I’m always interested to see what others take away from these meetings.

SPRINGFIELD, Va. — Army leaders met with industry partners Tuesday to focus on new ways to outfit Soldiers with lighter weight, wireless, and tech-compatible systems, looking at revamping the Adaptive Squad Architecture.

“For years, dismounted Soldiers have been overburdened by equipment which, while highly effective, often isn’t integrated with other equipment,” said Brig. Gen. Anthony Potts, PEO Soldier.

The restructure pinpoints Soldiers, at the individual and squad level, as the linchpin for ASA’s future modernizations. It’s one of the largest reconstructions conducted by PEO Soldier, Potts said

A Soldier’s lethality, mobility, and overall safety is “at the heart of the matter,” he said.

Potts, who took over PEO Soldier last year, unveiled his organization’s new vision to more than 100 industry leaders Tuesday in Springfield, Virginia. The goal is harmonizing Soldiers and squads as an integrated combat platform, similar to a Black Hawk helicopter or Abrams tank.

“(The Army) wouldn’t buy a tank piece by piece,” said Col. Travis Thompson, Soldier Lethality Cross-Functional Team chief of staff, to stakeholders. “So why would you buy a Soldier’s kit that way?”

The Adaptive Squad Architecture targets tomorrow’s battlefield, and creates ways to modernize, train, and structure ground forces within the architectural framework laid out by the Army, Potts said, adding, “The goal is to collaborate with private companies to provide next-generation capabilities and increase the lethality, mobility, and survivability, while countering emerging threats.”

“This is a collective venture (with the Army and industry partners) to change the paradigm of bringing capabilities to Soldiers,” Potts said, adding, “I’ll own the architecture. I just want the ability to plug in and plug out.”

Although the broad view doesn’t initially affect Soldiers, in the future their daily lives will change as modernized equipment becomes standard in their kits. The framework provided will “deliver capabilities to the field, faster, more effective, and cheaper” than before, according to Thompson.

In a grassroots effort to ensure effective modernization of new capabilities, Potts has welcomed input from ground-level Soldiers who are impacted by their decisions the most.

Tapping into how Soldiers feel about their equipment helps leaders develop an architectural path forward.

“Soldiers designing systems for Soldiers is dependent on [Adaptive Squad Architecture,]” Potts said, adding, the “from the bottom up” path to an integrated combat platform depends on the thoughts and ideas of every Soldier.

Potts, along with other senior leaders, has traveled the nation listening to Soldier’s needs, giving them a voice of change regarding their equipment.

Dismounted Soldiers may carry from 50 to 70% of their body weight in gear. In the past, with each piece of new technology a Soldier received, came the burden of more weight to carry around, along with the challenge to find more space to secure it.

Lighter gear will be found by eliminating excessive power sources and heavy cords currently lugged around, and streamlining multiple tech capabilities through a single hardware device.

“Our lethality comes from improving Soldiers’ kits,” said Potts.

This is a “new approach formed by old failures,” said Col. Troy Denomy, Soldier Warrior project manager. “Ultimately, this will get us very quickly to a point of sustained overmatch against our adversaries.”

Story by Thomas Brading, Army News Service

Photo by SSG Carmen Fleischmann

The US Army’s Adaptive Squad Architecture Initiative Treats Squad As Integrated Combat Platform

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

For too long, the Army has treated the Soldier like a Christmas tree, hanging pieces of equipment here and there. In total, it consists of 85 pieces of kit, weighing 122lbs with some of the burden owing to redundant power sources and connector cables. Adaptive Squad Architecture is going to change all of that.

To do this, the Army is preparing to undergo an 18-month effort to use a Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) to create system-level Interface Control Documents (ICD) for the Adaptive Squad Architecture.

The Catalyst For Change

The catalyst for this transformation is the development of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System by Microsoft, a single system which allows the Soldier to Fight, Rehearse and Train. It integrates I2 with thermal IR cameras, overlaid with augmented reality information. Artificial environments and adversaries can be fed into the IVAS screen allowing for training and rehearsal. Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence will offer a more dynamic foe who learns from the Soldier’s actions, like a real enemy.

It is such a leap ahead, a whole architecture had to be developed along with it, including comms links and power. The Army concluded it was time to look at not just the Soldier, but the Squad as a whole.

The goal is to begin using the ASA by January 2021 as the foundation for achieving the Soldier as an Integrated Weapons Platform and the Squad as an Integrated Combat Platform making them a peer with other major weapon systems. To get there, they’re going to need standards for industry.

Interfaces

Key focus areas of the ASA will be establishing common standards and Interface Control Documents for power management; data management (on each Soldier, between Soldiers in the Squad, and between Squads); physical equipment interfaces; and size, space, and weight management at the Soldier and Squad level. ICDs will be living documents, adapting as technology improves.

Although, this article is primarily focused on the development of ICDs, ASA will also offer an Architecture Assessment Tool (AAT) and a Configuration Management (CM) Database which looks at the Soldier and Squad’s configuration and includes a visualization tool. The AAT allows the small unit leader to configure a Soldier and Squad, alerting to incompatible equipment choices and load weight concerns.

The MOSA approach is also intended to reduce the weight carried by Soldiers/Squads by having an architecture that facilitates combining multiple capabilities into a single hardware device and eliminating legacy hardware by developing software applications that can be used on existing peripherals.

Problem Solving

Adaptive Squad Architecture may be the most important undertaking PEO Soldier has ever performed. The very fact that PEO Soldier invited the media to attend their Industry Day is indicative of this fact. The last Industry Day we were invited to by PEO Soldier was the Camouflage Improvement Effort In 2009.

The name is exciting, but the work will be tedious, for government and industry alike. They plan to create system-level ICDs for a government-owned technical architecture for the Soldier as an Integrated Weapons Platform and the Squad as an Integrated Combat Platform. The goal is to make the Soldier and Squad into digital platforms. I look at ASA as akin to a Software Development Kit for the Soldier.

Primary stakeholders for the ASA are the acquisition community which directly supports the Soldier and Squad, namely the Science and Technology (S&T) partners, the combat developers, the materiel developers, and industry partners.

Although many of the Program Executive Offices across the Army will contribute to this effort, the program is under the watchful eye of PEO Soldier, BG Anthony Potts. Yesterday, he addressed a crowd consisting of government and industry professionals to layout the effort.

His biggest concern is that the ICD is meaningful to industry. He believes that the Army will initially get it wrong, but is prepared to work with industry to get it right. Communication is key. He also wants to energize better relationships with smaller, non-traditional entrepreneurs who have interesting, innovative solutions, without having to go through larger companies.

General Potts wants to focus on problem statements rather than solutions. This will allow industry to design and build, loosely coupled, highly cohesive, severable modules. Another important goal is to reduce proprietary designs. The Army will establish the interfaces, the ability to plug-in and plug-out (electrical, mechanical interfaces), but its up to industry to come up with the actual capabilities.

Earlier, I mentioned the Christmas tree analogy. General Potts used this example. The Soldier is burdened by a bunch of heavy ornaments like a Christmas tree. The call comes to reduce weight and make the Soldier more maneuverable, more lethal. That increased maneuverability means that a Soldier can draw and fire his weapon first. Potts comes to his conclusion, “He who draws first, generally wins.”

Soldier Integration Facility

One of the primary ways the Army is dealing with this new way of looking at the Squad is the creation of a Soldier Integration Facility on Fort Belvoir as part of the Close Combat Force Enterprise. The SIF will operationalize technologies. COL Troy Denomy will be in charge of the SIF, referring to it as a collaboration tool even though it’s a facility. It should open 1 October and will become pivotal for every PM shop at PEO Soldier as well representatives from others.

But even before the SIF gets their hands on it, a new concept begins at the Soldier/Squad Performance Research Institute (S2PRINT) at Natick and are then refined at the SIF. Once they’ve come up with a solution, they’ll work closely with the experimental force at the Maneuver Battle Lab to prove it out.

PEO Soldier plans to be their own integrator, including coders on the team. The SIF will also include a business office to work with industry. General Potts envisions this office will help smaller companies work with larger companies, write awards, or purchase IP outright. They hope to set aside $1 million to get this effort moving. They’ll leverage OTAs, BAAs and other collaborative acquisition tools to invigorate solutions.

Down In The Weeds

“Obviously, a big challenge is power,” General Potts related, “there are too many batteries.” He discussed the upcoming Next Generation Weapons. They will power themselves with a powered rail which also moves data and the rail will run all of the electronic enablers on the weapon.

Another issue is the proliferation of communications devices. Currently, only three Soldiers per Squad have a radio. As IVAS is fielded, every Soldier in a Squad will have a data radio with IVAS. Moving from 128 bit to 256 bit encryption Secure Ultra Wide Band to move data around the Squad in a secure, but unclassified network. The end user device will be replaced by a “puck” but it will still rely on ATAK as the software environment.

This led the discussion to software management. The Army plans for a single ATAK software update per year across the enterprise, vice the four SOCOM currently accomplishes, but that decision is a function of organizational size.

In one of the boldest moves, they’re setting up a marketplace for apps to allow Soldiers to customize their software load based upon mission. The vision is that it works in a similar fashion to a phone app stores like iTunes. This concept will reward developers based upon actual use rather than the current model which creates software which may or may not be used. Under the developmental name Watchtower, the marketplace is in beta testing with an initial roll out in Q1 20 and FOC Q4 20.

More To Come

After he wrapped up with industry, General Potts and his team spent a few monitored with the media. He related that the creation of the SIF isn’t the only organizational change coming to PEO Soldier. We’ll see some renaming of the Program Manager shops to better describe their roles and additional capabilities will be added to the team once a full mission analysis is completed.

US Army Seeks Direct View Optics for M4 Carbines

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

The US Army has issued a Prototype Project Opportunity Notice (PPON) for a Direct View Optic. This is a Mid-Tier Acquisition effort to quickly identify, test and procure a 1-6x variable power optic for use with the M4A1 Carbine.

The DVO will be capable of variable power magnification with minimum magnification of 1.0x with no rounding and maximum magnification greater than or equal to 6.0 power.

Rationale: Variable power magnification optics combine the capabilities of the non-magnified optic’s ability to engage close quarter targets with a fixed-magnification optic’s ability to detect, recognize, identify, and precisely engage targets at extended ranges. This allows the Soldier to have both critical capabilities without the limitations of either non magnified or fixed magnification optics.

The Government intends to award up to four independent fixed amount Other Transactional Agreements for DVO prototyping, with the goal of delivering 15 Direct View Optic (DVO) Systems with operator manual, MIL-STD-1913 rail compatible mounting hardware, battery, and cleaning items per awardee to be delivered within 30 calendar days after OTA award date. The Government intends to evaluate and award, based on a trade-off process, up to four fixed amount, stand-alone OTAs.

Based on the results of the prototype testing and updated proposals, the Government intends to conduct an evaluation of successfully completed prototype OTAs and, select one prototype OTA awardee for award of a follow-on production Agreement or contract for a known quantity of 50 DVOs. Although, the Army currently has no requirements beyond the known quantity of 50 DVO systems, the maximum quantity of the follow-on Agreement or contact may be up to 120,000 DVO Systems. The follow-on production Agreement or contract will be for five years and will have Line Item Number (LIN) Range Pricing.

Based on source selection, the Army plans to purchase up to 120,000 optics for use by its close combat forces as well as some room in the contract for other agencies interested in purchasing them as well.

Close Combat Forces are those are most likely to conduct direct combat with the enemy and include Infantry, Cavalry Scouts, and Combat Engineers as well as those who provide them embedded support, such as Combat Medics.

Due to the DVO magnification, one potential threat is that an incoming laser could be magnified to essentially make a safe laser unsafe. Every production contract DVO will be equipped with a Laser Filter Unit (LFU) to mitigate this threat. The LFU is an objective lens end mounted filter produced to a Government specification. Other than that, and the mount requirement, the PPON leaves everything pretty open, allowing the Army to evaluate a wide variety of scopes.

Although the Army is focused on procuring a Next Generation Automatic Rifle and Carbine for these Forces, it will take several years to select these weapons and field them. The DVO will be placed quickly into service to enhance the Soldier’s ability to detect, recognize, identify, and accurately engage targets at extended ranges. The want to increase not only lethality but selectivity as well.

This isn’t the first time the Army has procured a 1-6x Optic. Last year, they selected the SIG Optics TANGO6T for use with the Squad Designated Marksman Rifle variant of H&K’s G28 in 7.62mm NATO. However, there are a lot of great optics on the market. With the Army being pretty open to looking at different options, this could very well come down to production capacity.

Closing date for this PPON is Aug 05, 2019 at 5:00 pm Eastern.

For full details, visit www.fbo.gov.

US Army To Procure New Variable Scopes For M4 Carbines

Thursday, June 6th, 2019

During this week’s NDIA Annual Armament Meeting LTC Steven Power, Assistant Program Manager for Individual Weapons under PM Soldier Weapons, PEO Soldier, briefed current and upcoming Small Arms efforts.

He covered a lot of ground, but the big surprise was that the Army would soon be releasing a requirement for a Direct View Optic which is a 1-6x variable scope. What makes this even more interesting is that these will be used in conjunction with the M4A1 carbine. There has been a great deal of criticism that the Army is ignoring the M4 as it moves towards a next generation rifle. While that program promises a huge leap forward and capability, it is still many years off. It’s great to see the addressing addressing near term concerns, and jumping on board with a variable power optic.

The Army already has some experience with a 1-6x optic. Just a year ago it selected the SIG SAUER TANGO6 for use with the new Squad Designated Marksman variant of the 7.62mm M110A1 rifle, manufactured by H&K. The first 117 of just over 6000 rifles have already been fielded at Ft Bliss. The plan is to provide an M110A1 SDMR to every Infantry, Scout, and Combat Engineer Squads in the Army.

Additionally, the LTC Power provided an update on the M4A1 fielding. They have fielded 250,000 M4A1s in the last year, but the Army finds itself in a position to buy more. An additional contract will be let soon to provide carbines for the next several years. This allows the Army flexibility to procure new weapons to replace those which of been coded out and support sister service requirements as well as military sales, when needed. The Army is currently at 79% of its desired end state of M4A1 modernization and plans to complete the process by FY22.

Just one year ago, the Army announced plans to procure a Sub Compact Weapons for use by personal protective details. Not only did the Army conduct a full competition for these 9mm subguns, but it selected a solution, issued a contract and recently conducted new Equipment Training for the B&T APC9K.

Modular Handgun System fielding is picking up pace as the other services begin fielding along with the Army. As of right now, there are still 335,000 9mm pistols left to field. It is available in two variants, the standard sized M17 and the Compact M18 model.

On the M320A1 40mm grenade launcher side, the Army will soon issue an award for the new Grenadier Sighting System. It will provide day/night capability and facilitate use of a new airburst 40mm round currently under development. The Army has committed $30 million to the first delivery order of GSS. The Army also plans to let a new production contract for additional M320A1s which were designed by H&K but currently manufactured by CAPCOM in Colorado.

Last but not least, LTC Power is leaving PEO Soldier for a year at the Eisenhower School (formerly known as the Industrial College of the Armed Forces) at Ft McNair. He’s done a great job and overseen the fielding of several capabilities including the Modular Handgun System.

US Army Issues Prototype Project Opportunity Notice for Next Generation Squad Weapon – Fire Control

Tuesday, June 4th, 2019

The Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapon Program promises to field machine guns and carbines which will shoot further than current models. Now, the Army seeks to improve hit capability with a Next Generation Squad Weapon – Fire Control effort.

Consequently, U.S. Army Contracting Command – New Jersey (ACC-NJ), on behalf of Project Manager Soldier Weapons, recently issued a Prototype Project Opportunity Notice (PPON) for the Next Generation Squad Weapons – Fire Control (NGSW-FC) program. The purpose of this PPON for NGSW-FC is to award up to two prototype Other Transaction Agreements (OTA) under the authority of 10 U.S.C. § 2371b, developing a fire control system under the NGSW-FC program.

NGSW-FC is intended to increase the Soldier’s ability to rapidly engage man sized targets out to 600m or greater while maintaining the ability to conduct Close Quarters Battle. This objective is achieved by leveraging technologies to calculate and display a disturbed reticle to the User.


Prototype SIG SAUER Next Generation Optic

NGSW-FC will integrate Government Ballistic Solver – Small Arms (GBS-SA), which is the Government developed software ballistic kernel that will serve as the system’s ballistic calculator. This will be used to provide an adjusted aiming point (disturbed reticle) that considers range to target, atmospheric conditions, and ballistics of weapon/ammunition.

The system is comprised of a weapon-mounted fire control system including a soft case, remote(s), lens covers, mounting and alignment tools, lens cleaning kit, User manual/instructions, zeroing chart(s), and two sets of batteries.

Results of the Small Arms Ammunition Configuration (SAAC) Study provide validation that development of advanced fire control systems to reduce system errors is a major factor in increasing the overall system lethality. Project Manager Soldier Weapons (PM SW) has conducted various industry days, trade studies, and technology developmental efforts to support the next generation of fire control systems for small arms weapons systems. In 2018 the Army prioritized the Next Generation Squad Weapons (NGSW) programs. PM SW determined it would be in the Government’s best interest to hold a full and open competition to support rapid prototyping of the NGSW Fire Control (NGSW-FC). The NGSW-FC will be integrated with both the Next Generation Squad Weapon – Rifle (NGSW-R) and Next Generation Squad Weapon – Automatic Rifle (NGSW-AR) within the Close Combat Force. This PPON seeks to explore fire control system level integration, test and evaluation.

The program also aspires to provide advanced camera based capabilities: automatic target recognition, target tracking, facial recognition, as well as optical augmentation: denial of enemy’s capability, pre-shot threat detection, etc.

The Government intends to award up to two independent fixed amount OTAs for NGSW-FC prototyping. The duration for each prototype OTA is estimated to be up to five years. Deliverables for each prototype OTA include 115 NGSW-FC systems, spare parts, tools/gauges/accessories, engineering support, management support; an option for additional NGSW-FC systems in increments of 10 (not to exceed 100 additional systems); an option for additional NGSW-FC systems in increments of 50 (not to exceed 250 additional systems); an option for additional design representative mock-ups in increments of 5 (not to exceed 50 additional mock-ups); and iterative prototyping efforts as defined in the Statement of Work. Each prototype will undergo Fire Control – Prototype Test (FC-PT) events which include technical testing and Soldier Touch Points (STPs). The initial prototyping and testing for NGSW-FC will be approximately 14 months.

Offerers have until Nov 04, 2019 4:30 pm Eastern to submit.

For full details, visit www.fbo.gov.

Revisions Adds Two Products to the US Army’s Authorized Protective Eyewear List (APEL)

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

Revision’s ShadowStrike Ballistic Sunglasses and SnowHawk Cold Weather Goggles have been added to the APEL Program by the U.S. Army

Essex Junction, Vermont (May 29, 2019) – Revision—the world leader in protective eyewear solutions—announces the selection of two new eyewear lines for inclusion on the Authorized Protective Eyewear List (APEL®), as determined by the U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier. After comprehensive laboratory testing and user trials, the Product Manager, Soldier Protective Equipment (PM SPE), selected Revision’s ShadowStrike™ Ballistic Sunglasses and SnowHawk™ Cold Weather Goggle System for inclusion on the APEL. The ShadowStrike Sunglasses are the first dual lens, ballistic sunglasses to offer OcuMax® Anti-Fog performance, and the SnowHawk goggle system is the first Cold Weather Goggle System to offer a magnetically integrated balaclava for extreme protection in cold weather environments (balaclava procured separately).

“Revision has been a leading provider of protective eyewear on the APEL program since it was created in 2006,” said Jonathan Blanshay, CEO, Revision. “This is an achievement we are very proud of, and represents our continued commitment to adapting to the changing environments and threats soldiers are facing around the globe today.  Over the years, as we have evolved our products and developed new eyewear solutions, we’ve submitted our cutting-edge eyewear for inclusion in the APEL program. Our presence on the APEL is a major factor in our global standing as an industry-leading protective eyewear designer and manufacturer. We target our solutions to exceed the increasingly more stringent standards that the Army requires, and we are honored to be a part of this prestigious program.”

Manufacturers and products listed on APEL have had their products examined and tested in accordance with the Army’s guidelines, meeting Army standards for ballistic protection (assessed against the Military Combat Eye Protection performance specification MIL-PRF-32432A). This year’s qualification process is especially noteworthy because the Army has instituted several updates to their standards, including more stringent ballistic standards—an increase in ballistic testing velocities (goggle testing velocities with a 0.22cal projectile increased from 550?560 ft/s to 580?590 ft/s and spectacle testing velocities with a 0.15cal projectile increased from 640?660 ft/s to 700?725 ft/s)—as well as the creation of a new category for extreme cold weather (for which SnowHawk was selected).

The U.S. Army recently released the 2019 APEL list, which includes ShadowStrike sunglasses (black frames with smoke and clear lenses) and SnowHawk goggles (black or tan frames with smoke and clear lenses)—alongside Revision’s Sawfly® spectacles, StingerHawk® spectacles, and Desert Locust® goggles.  The following products are all compatible with the Universal Prescription Lens Carrier (UPLC) – Sawfly and StingerHawk spectacles, and Desert Locust and SnowHawk goggles.  All products have been assigned National Stock Numbers (NSN) and are available for purchase through supply channels.

US Army Seeks To Purchase 167,195 M4 Carbines

Thursday, March 7th, 2019

The US Army May have it’s eye on a Next Generation Squad Weapon System, but it’s not done buying M4 Carbines.

Yesterday, Army Contracting Command – New Jersey (ACC-NJ) At Picatinny Arsenal, NJ issued a pre-solicitation to industry, on behalf of Project Manager Soldier Weapons (PM-SW). They intend to issue a request for proposal (RFP) W15QKN-18-R-0219 to procure approximately 167,195 M4 Carbine (NSN: 1005-01-231-0973/Part Number 9390000) and M4A1 Carbine (NSN: 1005-01-382-0953/Part Number 12972700) built to print using the Technical Data Package (TDP). This procurement action will be a Full and Open competition in accordance with FAR 9.104-2(a), special standard of responsibility and the M4/M4A1 must be manufactured exclusively within the United States or its Territories.

This is a huge opportunity for industry. The anticipated contract minimum guarantee of $10,000.00 will apply to each contract and will be met with the first delivery.

To meet this requirement for FY 2020 through 2024, the United States Government intends to award up to two (2) Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Contracts with Firm-Fixed-Price Delivery Orders. This procurement will be awarded to the Offeror (s) whose proposal(s) represent the best value to the Government using Trade-Off Processes.

For full details, visit www.fbo.gov.

US Army Issues Prototype Project Opportunity Notice (PPON) for Next Generation Squad Weapons (NGSW)

Thursday, January 31st, 2019

Late last night, the U.S. Army Contracting Command – New Jersey (ACC-NJ), on behalf of Project Manager Soldier Weapons, released a much anticipated solicitation seeking proposals in regards to a Prototype Project Opportunity Notice (PPON) for Next Generation Squad Weapons (NGSW).

The NGSW PPON details how the Government intends to award up to three prototype Other Transaction Agreements (OTAs) under the authority of 10 U.S.C. § 2371b, with each vendor developing two weapon variants under the NGSW program and 6.8 millimeter ammunition common to both weapons (this is NOT the 6.8 SPC cartridge evaluated by USSOCOM in the early 00s).

The weapons include the Next Generation Squad Weapon-Rifle (NGSW-R) and the Next Generation Squad Weapon-Automatic Rifle (NGSW-AR). The NGSW-R is the planned replacement for the M4/M4A1 Carbine and the NGSW-AR is the planned replacement for the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) in the Automatic Rifleman Role in the Close Combat Force.

Unlike the current PON for the Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle currently underway, this PPON seems to be for all the marbles.

The companies currently involved in the NGSAR PON include:
W15QKN-18-9-1017 – AAI Corporation Textron Systems
W15QKN-18-9-1018 – FN America LLC. (Design 1)
W15QKN-18-9-1019 – FN America LLC. (Design 2)
W15QKN-18-9-1020 – General Dynamics-OTS Inc.
W15QKN-18-9-1021 – PCP Tactical, LLC W15QKN-18-9-1022 – Sig Sauer Inc.

We would suspect that they all stand a good chance of competing for this latest bid.

Curiously, the NGSAR PON currently underway was intended to inform this new solicitation, but none of these companies has even delivered a weapon, let alone ammunition yet. However, we have seen glimpses of what these weapons might look like.

SIG famously unveiled their Next Generation candidate and hybrid ammunition at AUSA and then demonstrated an upscaled 338 Norma Mag variant at SHOT Show.

Likewise, GD has shown their 338 NM machine gun design for years giving us some insight into their capabilities.

Although FN has held their cards close to the chest, we understand they have both belt fed and box fed designs and demonstrated a derivative of the SCAR HAMR for PEO Soldier, BG Potts during a visit to their facility last year.

But the weapon we’ve all seen the most of is Textron’s Lightweight Small Arms Technology demonstrator with its radical Case Telescoping ammunition.

Over the years, they’ve shown a great deal of adaptability in configuring the technology as carbine as well as Belt Fed Machine Gun in several calibers.

According to the solicitation, the duration for each prototype OTA is estimated to be up to eight years. The first 27 months will be for prototyping the NGSW-R, NGSW-AR, and ammunition. Following this prototyping effort, there may be additional iterative prototyping efforts for the NGSW-R, NGSW-AR, and ammunition. These iterative prototyping efforts will each have separate durations and will occur within the eight year duration.

Furthermore, in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 2371b(f), and upon a determination that the prototype project (or any subsequent iterative prototyping efforts) was successfully completed under the competitively awarded OTA(s), a follow-on production contract(s) or OTA(s) may be awarded without the use of competitive procedures.

Because of the duration of the OTA, and that prototype OTA will undergo two prototype test events including Soldier Touch Points, they are asking for a lot more weapons and ammunition than in the current NGSAR PON. Deliverables for each prototype OTA include 53 NGSW-R weapons, 43 NGSW-AR weapons, 845,000 rounds of ammunition, spare parts, test barrels, tools/gauges/accessories, engineering support, and iterative prototyping efforts as defined in the Statement of Work.

The follow-on production award(s) is planned to be an Indefinite Delivery / Indefinite Quantity Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) based contract with Firm Fixed Price Delivery Orders up to ten years or a fixed amount OTA up to ten years. The production award(s) may include 250,000 total weapons system(s) (NGSW-R, NGSW-AR, or both), 150,000,000 rounds of ammunition, spare parts, tools/gauges/accessories, and engineering support. The value of this follow-on production award(s) is estimated to be $10M in the first year and estimated $150M per year at the higher production rates. While the Government intends to make one production award for the NGSW-R, NGSW- AR, and Ammunition, it reserves the right to: 1) make one award for NGSW-R with Ammunition; or 2) make one award for NGSW-AR with Ammunition; or 3) make one award for NGSW-R with Ammunition to one Offeror and one award for NGSW-AR with Ammunition to a different Offeror.

Even considering those numbers, that still isn’t enough weapons to replace the current inventory of small arms. Currently, the US Army alone owns almost 1,000,000 M4/M16s meaning that the Next Generation Weapons will at least initially be fielded to close combat forces and that M4 and the 5.56mm ammunition it fires will continue to soldier on for decades. This means that the Army has to seriously consider what ammunition technology it will adopt for the new next generation 6.8 round, lest it find itself manufacturing two radically different types of small arms ammunition.

The prototypes must have these characteristics:

a. allow for ambidextrous operation and controls;

b. include a flash hider, removable suppressor (with or without flash hider installed), and a tool for suppressor removal after firing or for maintenance;

c. include a tactical carrying sling with quick release attachments;

d. include selection positions for Safe, Semi-Automatic Firing, and Automatic Firing modes;

e. be resistant to corrosion, abrasion, impact and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) defense contaminants, decontaminants, battlefield-chemicals, electromagnetic pulse and cyber-attacks;

f. reduce visual detection via a neutral non-reflective, non-black color not lighter than Light Coyote 481 and not darker than Coyote 499;

g. function in all environments and weather conditions, including ambient, cold, hot, marine, high humidity, rain, and desert conditions;

h. be compatible with combat clothing (including body armor and Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment), CBRN defense, wet weather, and cold weather gear;

i. provide interchangeable magazines between both weapons if NGSW-AR utilizes a magazine; and

j. include, at a minimum, a 12 o-clock position rail(s) that is compliant to Attachment 2- Picatinny Smart Rail Interface Control Documents. Weapon configurations include a non-battery and a battery configuration:

• A non-battery configuration: battery removed. This is the primary configuration for all weapon deliveries and is included in the overall weapon weight.

• Replaceable battery configurations: rechargeable battery assembly and non- rechargeable battery assembly that are fully contained within the envelope of the NGSW-R and NGSW-AR and common to both. The battery assembly shall operate at 6-32 volts. The rechargeable battery assembly shall interface with the Universal Battery Charger (NSN: 6130-01-659-7090). The weight of the battery assembly will not be included in the overall weapon weight.

Both the rechargeable battery assembly and the non-rechargeable battery assembly shall meet the requirements for safety and transportation per the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulation.

The Government will conduct the following tests on the NGSW-R, NGSW-AR, and the Ammunition:

Prototype Test #1 (PT#1)

This Government test will inform the COMPANY of current design compliance to select performance requirements. The test has an estimated duration of 3 months.

Soldier Touch Point A: Mobility & User Acceptance

This Government test will provide the COMPANY with Soldier feedback on areas related to mobility and maneuverability on Army relevant obstacles, and user acceptance scenario testing. Reference Attachment 6 – STP Mobility and Attachment 7 – STP User Acceptance.

Prototype Test #2 (PT#2)

This Government test will be used to assess compliance to the COMPANY proposed performance requirements and utilized in follow-on award decisions. The test has an estimated duration of six months.

Soldier Touch Point B: Mobility, User Acceptance, Controllability

This test is a Government conducted evaluation on areas related to mobility, maneuverability on Army relevant obstacles, user acceptance scenario testing, and controllability. Reference Attachment 6 – STP Mobility, Attachment 7 – STP User Acceptance, and Attachment 8 – STP Controllability

Soldier Touch Point C: Limited User Test

This test is a Government conducted limited evaluation with Soldiers in the loop to assess the suitability and effectiveness for combat operations. These evaluations may be conducted with multiple squads.

Live Fire Test and Evaluation (LFT&E)

This is a test and analysis effort required to support the ballistic lethality evaluation, focusing on the terminal ballistics of the system.

Written proposals are due on 24 April 2019 at 11:00AM EST and bid samples are due on 30 May 2019.