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Archive for the ‘SOFIC’ Category

USSOCOM Small Arms Update

Thursday, May 14th, 2020

US Army COL Joel Babbitt, Program Executive Officer SOF Warrior for the United States Special Operations Command, provided an update on small arms programs during this week’s vSOFIC event presented by National Defense Industrial Association.

The most significant lethality efforts revolve around the adoption of the 6.5 Creedmoor and .338 Norma Mag cartridges which offer overmatch against threat small arms, allowing SOF operators to provide accurate fire at longer ranges than before.

COL Babbitt stated, “The 7.62 round we were previously using allowed engagement out to 7-800 meters, while the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge goes out to 1200 meters.” Likewise, he is excited about .338 NM which offers .50 ranges from a package the size and weight of a 7.52 machine gun.

As far as adoption of ammunition in 6.5 CM, SOCOM is pursuing three courses of action. First, it has developed a government Technical Data Package for a ball round which is being assembled using commercial components. Second, they are purchasing and evaluating “best of breed” cartridges in this caliber. This COA is being used to inform development of other types of rounds such as Armor Piercing. Finally, the command is working with Lake City Army Ammunition Plant to manufacture the ammunition to the TDP.

In other ammunition news, SOCOM is looking at alternative types of ammunition construction to reduce weight 20-30% from current brass case weight. They’ve already looked at .50 and are expanding the search which includes such constructions as polymer, steel and hybrid.

Two weapons development programs currently leverage the capabilities of 6.5 CM, Medium Range Gas Gun – Assault and and Lightweight Machine Gun – Assault. These are slight name changes from previous years.

The MRGG-A requirement is a sniper support rifle unique to Naval Special Warfare. Utilizing Mid-Tier Acquisition strategy, the program is underway.

Interestingly, during a media Q&A session, COL Babbitt revealed that the Lightweight Machine Gun – Assault is currently on hold, pending the US Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapon program which promises to field a carbine and automatic rifle (think Squad Automatic Weapon) in a new 6.8mm cartridge offering similar ballistic parameters to the commercial 270 Win Mag.

With 70% of SOCOM’s forces being from the Army component, NGSW will be a service common solution and if it meets SOF needs, could save the command a great deal of money that can be placed against other needs. Considering this, it makes sense that MRGG-A would continue since it is NSW unique rather than intended to be fielded command-wide. Additionally, COL Babbitt pointed out that NSGW does not have a sniper component and that MRGG-A is a sniper support rifle rather than just a carbine.

Marine Corps Special Operations Command is currently conducting a Combat Evaluation of SIG SAUER’s Lightweight Machine Gun in 338 NM. This will be used to inform a procurement in the coming years. The Marine Corps is also interested in this capability.

Virtual Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (vSOFIC) 11-15 May 2020

Wednesday, May 6th, 2020

Where the SOF community convenes virtually

vSOFIC will provide a virtual platform for U.S. Special Operations Command leadership to share emerging requirements, challenges, trends, and capability gaps, and for industry to respond by describing existing and emerging capabilities.

• Attend sessions with USSOCOM’s Commander, General Richard Clarke; Mr. James H. Smith, Acquisition Executive, USSOCOM; Component Commanders; Program Executive Officers; and a variety of acquisition experts.

• Get detailed insights and tips on how to do business with USSOCOM and what capabilities it needs the most.

• vSOFIC will offer PEO one-on-one sessions, as available.

Conference registration includes the following:

• Educational sessions Monday – Friday

• Access to virtual networking rooms

• Access to the virtual Industry Showcase

For registration questions, please contact the following:

• Email: [email protected]

• Phone: 800-424-5249 (toll free)

• Phone: 847-996-5829 (international registrants)

www.sofic.org/vsofic

NDIA, SOCOM Announce Virtual SOFIC

Tuesday, April 7th, 2020

NDIA, SOCOM to host virtual SOFIC in May

ARLINGTON, VA –The National Defense Industrial Association and U.S. Special Operations Command will host a virtual Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (vSOFIC) online, May 11-15, they announce today.

After canceling this year’s annual SOFIC event in Tampa, Florida, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, NDIA and SOCOM developed a new online platform to enable special operations professionals and industry partners to learn, network and collaborate on the initiatives and capabilities needed in the future.

“We understand the importance of the collaboration among industry, the government and academia to solve those most difficult challenges our warfighters face,” said Hawk Carlisle, NDIA’s president and CEO. “We look forward to bringing together, virtually, special operations throughout the country for this significant event that continues our collaboration with SOCOM.”

The virtual conference will include remarks, presentations and Q&A sessions with SOCOM leaders and acquisition, science, technology and logistics professionals. This year’s conference theme is “Expanding the Competitive Space.”

“During this time, having an opportunity to explain our capability needs and give industry leaders a chance to tell us what they have to offer may be more important than ever,” said SOCOM Acquisition Executive Jim Smith. “We’re especially excited that an online format will not only meet the needs of our current, valued industry partners but may also attract new teammates from the digital and cyber tech base.”

SOCOM has opportunities for industry innovation in many areas, including next-generation intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, next-generation mobility, precision fires and effects, hyper-enabling the operator, and biotechnologies. Additionally, innovation opportunities in data and networks exist for emerging requirements in software, artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics in web-based information operations, mission command systems and more.

SOCOM also has opportunities to collaborate in a new Digital Engineering Lab unveiled in September 2019. The lab facilitates development, testing and employment of new technical approaches to modernizing warfighting decision-making.

For additional information on the virtual conference and registration instructions, visit www.vSOFIC.org. Registration is required for all vSOFIC participants.

2020 SOFIC Cancelled

Friday, March 20th, 2020

NDIA: Safety top priority in canceling 2020 SOFIC

ARLINGTON, VA – Following directives to avoid mass gatherings for public safety amid the Coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC) is canceled, the National Defense Industrial Association announces today.

NDIA manages SOFIC for U.S. Special Operations Command; its annual event draws thousands of people from around the world to Tampa, Florida. The rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus and national efforts to stop it led NDIA and USSOCOM to decide not to hold this year’s event.

“NDIA and USSOCOM fully agree the safety and wellness of attendees and participants always are our utmost priority,” said Hawk Carlisle, NDIA’s president and CEO. “We look forward to this important annual gathering of the special operations community and the people and businesses that support them, surrounded by the warm welcome of Tampa. We will look forward to this gathering next year.”

This year’s SOFIC was scheduled for May 11-14 at the Tampa Convention Center and would have featured the biennial capabilities demonstration of international Special Operations Forces.

Further details on SOFIC are available on SOFIC.org and will be updated frequently.

NDIA and USSOCOM thank everyone for their interest in this year’s event. “We wish you good health and safety during this uncertain time so we may see you at the 2021 SOFIC,” Carlisle said. Please stay abreast of Coronavirus developments and directions from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, the Department of Defense, and your particular state and local governments.

A list of FAQs is available for SOFIC and will be updated frequently.

SOFIC 19 – DefendTex Drone-40

Friday, May 24th, 2019

The Drone-40 is the most amazing thing I saw at this year’s SOFIC. Made by DefendTex, it is a low-cost, programmable 40 mm munition, providing kinetic or ISR options.

The round is fired from the launcher in order to get it aloft. To attain flight mode, it deploys four helicopter-style rotors to stabilize, move, and provide lift for loiter.

It offers 12 minutes of flight time and/or 20 minutes of loiter time. Cruising speed is 20 m/s and range at optimum speed is in excess of 10km.

Payloads include camera, anti-armor, fuel-air, HE/frag, diversionary, smoke, counter-UAS,

With these mixed of payload types, Drone-40 can be used individually, paired, or as a swarm, to a variety of effcts. For example, a team could launch one or more ISR configured munitions along with a swarm of anti-armor payloads and loiter over an ambush spot, waiting for a vehicle column. With Multi-Round Simultaneous Impact mode, multiple effects can be acheived at once, depending on the types of payloads delivered.

(Army photo by SFC Teddy Wade, Army Materiel Command )

For those of you wondering why you need the M320 grenade launcher, it’s technologies like this. The M203 is simply no longer “good enough” because you can’t load these longer rounds into the launcher.

(USMC photo by LCpl Alexis C. Schneider, 2d MARDIV Combat Camera)

Australian manufacturer DefendTex also offers the technology in 12ga and 81mm form factors. Obviously, these come with larger or smaller payloads as well as different flight and loiter times.






SOFIC 19 – Lightweight Assault Machine Gun Suppressor by KAC

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

Knight’s has introduced a dedicated Suppressor for their LAMG. It comes as an assembly consisting of barrel and thread-on suppressor.

It utilizes Pressure Reduction Technology which is forward venting so it doesn’t push gas into the shooter’s face and doesn’t change the cyclic rate.

www.knightarmco.com






SOFIC 19 – Belleville Extreme Cold Weather Boot featuring Thermium Insulation by WL Gore & Associates Inc

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

This is the first time WL Gore & Associates, Inc, makers of Gore-Tex material have shown a product made from their new lightweight Thermium insulation. It’s the new Extreme Cold Weather Boot from Belleville.

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The boot features 600 grams of composite insulThe Gore Thermium is in the form of a boot insert construction, similar to the Gore-Tex membrane boot insert. However, as depicted in this graphic, the insulation is mapped, with thicker areas covering certain parts of the foot in order to ensure a better fit and protect those parts of the foot which get the coldest.

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Built on the Belleville 675 platform, the boot will protect down to -20 deg F and is flight approved. In addition to the Gore Thermium Insulation, the boot also features Gore-Tex protection.

www.bellevilleboot.com






SOFIC 19 – SIG SAUER Exhibits Next Gen Squad Weapons

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

In a surprising move, SIG exhibited their final prototype candidates for the US Army Next Generation Squad Weapon program which seeks to replace the M4 Carbine and M249 Squad Automatics Weapon with a new family of 6.8mm* Weapons which are lighter, yet feature a longer range and more lethal ammunition capable of defeating sophisticated threat body armor.

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There are currently two Army efforts underway simultaneously. Both are leveraging an alternative form of procurement referred to as Other Transactional Authority, where Prototype Opportunity Notices are issued to industry and multiple candidate technologies are quickly developed and assessed. The initial round of the multi-phased, first PON to produce a Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle to replace the SAW comes to a close soon. It includes a requirement for a 20% reduction in weight over legacy brass cased ammunition, but in 6.8mm.

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There are currently five companies, delivering six candidate weapons to the Army:
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.

Senior Army leaders are expected to fire the weapons next month at Fort Benning in addition to a formal evaluation to determine which candidates move to the next phase.

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A second, more ambitious PON for Squad Weapons is just beginning with a requirement for both SAW and Carbine replacement as well as ammunition. SIG informed us they plan to submit the same belt-fed Machine Gun along with their new, fully developed Carbine.

It’s important to note that although the program calls for replacement of the current 5.56mm NATO M4 and M249 in the Rifle Squad of Brigade Combat Teams, this is a .30 class weapon. If everything goes as planned, the Soldier will have an improvement over not only their 5.56mm weapons, but the 7.62mm NATO ones as well such as the M240 Machine Gun.

Previously, SIG had shown their 338 Norma Mag SIG Light Machine Gun at both AUSA and SHOT Show as well as a 6.8mm Carbine Concept called MCX Medium Range, during AUSA. Their Next Generation Machine Gun candidate is very much a smaller version of their SL LMG.

These latest revelations show a much more mature design.

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The Machine Gun weighs in at 11.97 lbs, while the Carbine is 8.1 lbs with no Optic or Suppressor.

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One of the concerns of the more to the 6.8mm cartridge is recoil impulse. Like with their 338 NM-class weapon, SIG has incorporated a recoil mitigation technology into the Next Gen belt-fed. This brings the recoil in at 2.8 lbs while an M240 in 7.62mm has a Recoil impulse of 13.1 lbs. Considering they are seeing a muzzle velocity of over 3000 FPS for a 16″ barrel, this is impressive. The Carbine on the other hand is delivering 2850 FPS with a 13″ barrel.

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As you can see, the optic isn’t mounted to the feed tray cover. Additionally, the weapon can be set up for left or right feed and loading is as simple as inserting the belt into the cover.

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The Carbine boasts an interesting feature. It incorporates both a side folding non-reciprocating charging handle and an AR-style charging handle above the boat carrier group.

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This is so the weapon can be charged or immediate action drills implemented without the shooter moving his head from behind the weapon.

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The side charger is also not operational when the collapsible folding stock is in the stowed position. Obviously, the side charging handle is not ambidextrous, but the other controls are.

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As part of the program, SIG has also introduced a new three piece construction hybrid ammunition. It features a Brass case, Steel base and an internal clip to connect the two.

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So far, they have manufactured 40,000 of their 6.8 x 51 cartridge at their plant in Arkansas and are working on an additional 60,000. Due to its construction, the hybrid ammo offers increased velocities over standard ammunition in the same caliber and can be used in all current weapon systems, unlike some next generation ammunition proposals.

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As the final Army requirement begins to coalesce, expect to see a Designated Marksman Rifle variant of the Next Generation Carbine as well. This, combined with the increase of performance of 6.8mm over 7.62mm signals the eventual end of 7.62mm weapons in the close combat formations of the BCT along with 5.56mm.

*Editor’s note: This new cartridge is not the 6.8 SPC looked at by USSOCOM a decade ago, but rather something completely new, with performance close to .270 win short mag.