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Archive for the ‘USMC’ Category

Point Blank Enterprises, Inc. Awarded Lightweight Body Armor Insert Contract by the United States Marine Corps Systems Command

Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

POMPANO BEACH, Fla., June 24, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Point Blank Enterprises, Inc. has been awarded a $215.9 million USD body armor contract by the United States Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM). The Marine Corps Low Intensity Threat Environment (LITE) body armor insert is a new small arms protective insert that is designed to improve the survivability and mobility of Marines by maximizing ballistic protection at a reduced weight.

“We are honored to be selected by the United State Marine Corps to provide this new lightweight body armor solution. Reducing Marine burden by providing innovative and lightweight armor solutions along with our high quality manufacturing capabilities is our expertise.” said Brian Kopan, Senior Vice President of Engineering and Technology. “Whether we are designing armor systems for vehicles or individual protection equipment, our mission is always focused on saving the life of those that protect us.”

For over 43 years, Point Blank Enterprises, Inc. has been the industry’s leading innovator of advanced products and designs engineered to maximize ballistic protection. The Company has shipped millions of body armor solutions to America’s service men and women, law enforcement professionals, corrections officers, Federal agents, and other key national and international customers. Point Blank will be exhibiting the full range of armor systems at this year’s AUSA Annual Meeting and Symposium in Washington, D.C. 14-16 October 2019.

US Marine Corps Adoption of M18 Underscores Success of SIG SAUER Modular Handgun System Program

Monday, June 17th, 2019

NEWINGTON, N.H., (June 17, 2019) –SIG SAUER, Inc. is honored to announce that the United States Marine Corps (USMC) is set to adopt the M18, the compact variant of the U.S. Army’s Modular Handgun System (MHS), as their official duty pistol.

“The Marine Corps announcement to put the M18 in service with the Marines is a very exciting development for SIG SAUER, and a true testament to the success of the MHS program,” began Ron Cohen, President & CEO, SIG SAUER, Inc. “The Marine’s procurement of the M18 brings the adoption of our Modular Handgun System full circle, as this means, beginning in 2020, either the M17 or the M18 will be officially in service with every branch of the U.S. Military.”


The M18 is a 9mm, striker-fired pistol featuring a coyote-tan PVD coated stainless steel slide with black controls.  The pistol is equipped with SIGLITE front night sights and removable night sight rear plate, and manual safety. 

Recently, the M18 successfully completed a MHS Material Reliability Test that consisted of firing three M18 pistols to 12,000 rounds each for a total of 36,000 rounds in accordance with the MHS requirements.  Comparatively, the U.S. Army’s legacy pistol was only tested to 5,000 rounds making the test duration for the M18 pistol 2.4 times greater than that of the legacy pistol.  In this testing, the M18 experienced zero stoppages despite being allowed up to twelve stoppages.  Additionally, the M18 passed a parts interchange test, and met stringent accuracy and dispersion requirements.

“The success of the MHS program is the direct result of the indisputable performance and superior quality of the M17 and M18 pistols, and the commitment and dedication of the men and women of SIG SAUER to those that serve in the defense of freedom,” continued Cohen. “We are very proud, and humbled, to have earned the trust of every branch of the U.S. Military through their acceptance of the MHS program and adoption of the M17 and M18 pistols.”

Currently, the M17 and M18 are in service with the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard.  The USMC will begin their acquisition of the M18 pistol in 2020. 

USMC Small Arms Update – 2019

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

The Marine Corps is well under way with the Small Arms modernization initiatives announced last year.

USMC photo by Sgt. Aaron Henson

The biggest improvement for the Marine Infantryman isn’t a weapon, but it will make him much more effective. The Marines are moving very quickly to field the Squad Binocular Night Vision Goggle, with contract award mid-July.

The H&K produced M27 is being fielded to Marine Rifle Squads along with the M38 Designated Marksman variant.

The M320A1 40mm grenade launcher replaces the M203 and will be used in the stand alone mode.

Limited numbers of the Mk 13 Mod 7, sniper rifle have been brought over from SOCOM. The Marines consider this 300 WinMag Rifle as a bridge between the long serving M40 family and the Advanced Sniper Rifle in 7.62mm, 300 and 348 Norma Mag coming in the early 20s.

They are at the initial stages of replacing SMAW-D with the 84mm M3E1 Carl Gustaf. An interesting aside, the Marines are also making a T/O change. They will go from 8 to 4 TOW launchers per Battalion and increase from 8 to 12 Javelins.

Yes, that’s an M110A1 you see. The Marine Corps long ago signed up for the program, but there has been little indication of how many they plan to buy or how they will use them.

This is a slide indicating what the future holds for Marine Corps Small Arms. Some of these we have already seen draft requirements for, like the Squad Common Optic which is a variable power (6/8x). The SCO will go on every M27 currently being fielded to Marine Rifle Platoons. Expect a full Request for Proposals 1st quarter of 20.

The Marine Corps plans to suppress all of its M27s and eventually, its belt fed machine guns.

Army has lead on Next Gen weapons and the Marines are working with SOCOM to refine the Lightweight Medium Machine Gun requirement.

“Success is not found in contracts awarded…Success is found in confirmed kills”


MARSOC To Conduct Combat Evaluation of SIG Lightweight Machine Gun in 338 Norma Mag

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

During this week’s National Defense Industrial Association annual Armaments meeting, acquisition officials from both United States Special Operations Command and Marine Corps Systems Command announced that the Marine Corps Special Operations Command would be conducting a combat evaluation of the SIG Light Machine Gun (SL MAG) in the near future.

Unveiled at SHOT Show, this belt fed machine gun chambered in 338 Norma Mag offers ranges that rival the .50 M2 MG from a weapon lighter than the M240.

The Combat Evaluation is a limited user test, but first they need ammunition. SOCOM is currently working on the P-SPEC for 338 NM belt fed ammunition for what they are calling the Lightweight Machine Gun – Medium.

This Combat Eval will help refine requirements for the procurement of a 338 NM LMG-M in the FY 22-23 timeframe. Both Marine Corps and SOCOM are interested in this capability.

This Will Blow Some Minds

Saturday, May 18th, 2019

A US Marine with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, fires downrange amid an immediate action drill during exercise Platinum Ren at Fort Trondennes, Harstad, Norway, May 13, 2019.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Tayler P. Schwamb)

A note from Eric:

If I would’ve just posted this pic, without the caption, many would’ve exclaimed that this was an airsofter. We would have seen comments that all sorts of things were wrong and that “they don’t do it that way.”

Here’s another photo from that same event. Chew on this one. But remember, as long as it’s in the context of a joint range session with Norwegian troops, it makes perfect sense.

USMC Interested In A Squad Common Optic

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

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

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

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

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

Model #
Grenade Launcher Sight
Individual Weapon Night Sight-Thermal
Individual Weapon Night Sight-Image Intensified
Mini-Integrated Pointer Illuminator
Mini-Integrated Pointer Illuminator
Advanced Target Pointer Illuminator Aiming Light
Sniper Squad Range Finder

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

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

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

To learn more, visit

Marine Corps Plans to Replace LAV with New, ‘Transformational’ ARV

Wednesday, April 24th, 2019


The Marine Corps plans to begin replacing its legacy Light Armored Vehicle with a modern Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle late in the next decade.

The ARV will be highly mobile, networked, transportable, protected and lethal. The capability will provide, sensors, communication systems and lethality options to overmatch threats that have historically been addressed with more heavily armored systems.

“The ARV will be an advanced combat vehicle system, capable of fighting for information that balances competing capability demands to sense, shoot, move, communicate and remain transportable as part of the naval expeditionary force,” said John “Steve” Myers, program manager for MCSC’s LAV portfolio.

Since the 1980s, the LAV has supported Marine Air-Ground Task Force missions on the battlefield. While the LAV remains operationally effective, the life cycle of this system is set to expire in the mid-2030s. The Corps aims to replace the vehicle before then.

Marine Corps Systems Command has been tasked with replacing the vehicle with a next-generation, more capable ground combat vehicle system. In June 2016, the Corps established an LAV Way-Ahead, which included the option to initiate an LAV Replacement Program to field a next-generation capability in the 2030s.

Preliminary planning, successful resourcing in the program objectives memorandum and the creation of an Office of Naval Research science and technology program have set the conditions to begin replacing the legacy LAV with the ARV in the late-2020s.

“The Marine Corps is examining different threats,” said Kimberly Bowen, deputy program manager of Light Armored Vehicles. “The ARV helps the Corps maintain an overmatched peer-to-peer capability.”

The Office of Naval Research has begun researching advanced technologies to inform requirements, technology readiness assessments and competitive prototyping efforts for the next-generation ARV.

The office is amid a science and technology phase that allows them to conduct advanced technology research and development, modeling and simulation, whole system trade studies and a full-scale technology demonstrator fabrication and evaluation.

These efforts will inform the requirements development process, jump-start industry and reduce risk in the acquisition program.

The office is also supporting the Ground Combat Element Division of the Capabilities Development Directorate by performing a trade study through the U.S. Army Ground Vehicle Systems Center in Michigan. This work will help to ensure ARV requirements are feasible and to highlight the capability trade space.

ONR has partnered with industry to build two technology demonstrator vehicles for evaluation. The first is a base platform that will comprise current, state-of-the-art technologies and standard weapons systems designed around a notional price point. The second is an “at-the-edge” vehicle that demonstrates advanced capabilities.

“The purpose of those vehicles is to understand the technology and the trades,” said Myers.

In support of acquisition activities, PM LAV anticipates the release of an acquisition program Request for Information in May 2019 and an Industry Day later in the year to support a competitive prototyping effort. The Corps expects a Material Development Decision before fiscal year 2020.

“We will take what we’ve learned in competitive prototyping,” said Myers. “Prior to a Milestone B decision, we’ll be working to inform trade space, inform requirements and reduce risk.”

The Corps believes the ARV will support the capability demands of the next generation of armored reconnaissance.

“This vehicle will equip the Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion within the Marine Divisions to perform combined arms, all-weather, sustained reconnaissance and security missions in support of the ground combat element,” said Myers. “It’s expected to be a transformational capability for the Marine Corps.”

Story by Matt Gonzales, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command

Photo by photo by Cpl Codey Underwood, USMC

MCTSSA Personnel Help Strengthen Acquisition Workforce

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.—On a rather secluded and undeveloped piece of southern California coastline lies a succession of nondescript buildings that seem unremarkable to the naked eye. Yet, inside these structures, sophisticated laboratories are housed with highly skilled engineers and technical experts testing the very limits of battlefield communications, and they need to train their replacements.

Building the future acquisition workforce is an important initiative within the Department of the Navy, which is why Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity personnel provided technical demonstrations and briefings to approximately 80 Naval Acquisition Development Program entry-level employees from across the country Feb. 26, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

Ric Gay (left), Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity satellite communications laboratory engineer, recently discussed satellite communications and operations with Naval Acquisition Development Program entry-level employees during a tour of the command Feb. 26, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California.

The NADP is a two- to three-year development program that recruits and trains future acquisition workforce members. New employees receive detailed training in contracting, finance, cost estimating, engineering, facilities engineering, IT, logistics, program management, and test and evaluation.

“NADP helps new employees in various career fields become future acquisition leaders for the Department of the Navy,” said Shelly Best, Naval Acquisition Career Center NADP career manager.

There are currently around 1,000 NADP participants across the continental United States, Hawaii and Guam.

“MCTSSA has been a beneficiary of this program for 15 years, and several of our co-workers are current or former NADP participants,” said David Yergensen, MCTSSA senior principal engineer.

During the most recent hiring season, NACC received 34,000 applicants. Among those, 15,000 were highly qualified for only 600 positions.

“It is our goal to introduce these new acquisition professionals to the Sailors and Marines at various activities and give them a chance to ‘see and touch’ some of the hardware used by the warfighter and acquired through their acquisition efforts,” said Ron Fevola, NACC career management division head.

Command customers heavily rely on NADP to assist with the replenishment and development of their future acquisition workforce members, said Fevola.

“Our goal is to hire the best of the best,” he said.

NADP is a great source for entry-level technical talent, said Yergensen.

“These are highly motivated and enthusiastic employees typically in their first professional position,” he said “Getting good employees into the government early increases the probability that they will stay with the government, even if they move on to other agencies.”

The one-day event at MCTSSA highlighted current technical objectives involved in supporting the command, control, computer and communications—or C4—systems used by expeditionary warfighters.

“I appreciate everyone’s patience and the knowledge they shared with not only me, but the whole NADP team,” said Christina Berenato, Naval Sea Systems Command NADP participant. “Exploring behind the scenes, and witnessing the hard work and dedication put into keeping our nation safe was extraordinary, truly a day I will never forget.”

U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Caleb Wu (left), Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity naval systems integration officer, speaks to Naval Acquisition Development Program entry-level employees during a tour of the command’s Landing Force Operations Center laboratory environment Feb. 26, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California.

Whether learning about combat operations centers, satellite communications, Networking On-the-Move, cybersecurity, networks, radars or amphibious vehicles, the participants saw a large breadth of systems and how they relate to warfighter support.

“MCTSSA is a great place to start a technical career in the Department of Defense,” said Yergensen. “We have a majority of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force C4 systems integrated into a realistic test environment.”

NADP employees at MCTSSA get to work with a variety of systems at multiple stages in the acquisition life cycle and perform hands-on experiments, trade studies, test and engineering assessments, installation, configuration and troubleshooting in a lab environment, said Yergensen.

“We also get them into field support to experience the operational environment firsthand,” he said. “Our NADP employees get to work closely with active-duty Marines, which helps them understand who and how the systems are used. This would be hard to find in any other C4 organization.”

Many of the NADP tour participants appreciated learning about the development of C4 equipment.

“It was interesting to see the advancement in technology benefitting COC operations and their forward-deployed elements as they maneuver through the battlespace,” said Jason Fraker, Naval Facilities Engineering Command NADP participant.

Berenato echoed similar sentiments.

“I learned about Networking On-the-Move,” she said. “It is reassuring to know the new technology no longer geographically tethers commanders to the COC.”

From viewing improvements in technology to getting a better understanding of the big picture as it relates to the acquisition workforce, participants walked away more prepared to support the warfighter.

“Any command could benefit from learning about both the research done at MCTSSA and the manner in which MCTSSA operates with precision,” said Brooke Didier, Naval Sea Systems Command NADP participant. “MCTSSA is a leading force for military research and development, and quite frankly, as an entity of the Marine Corps, MCTSSA runs like a well-oiled machine.”

Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity hosted 80 Naval Acquisition Development Program entry-level-employees during a tour of the command Feb. 26, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California.

Tucked away at this inconspicuous beachside facility, MCTSSA has over 40,000 square feet of engineering and lab spaces operated by Marines and technical experts with the sole purpose of making Marines more capable. The future acquisition workforce that bared witness was impressed.

“I appreciate all the hard work MCTSSA does to excel at their jobs and to showcase their spaces to the interns who will be assisting future missions,” said Yvette Tsui, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command NADP participant. “Thank you.”

MCTSSA, an elite, full-scale laboratory facility operated by the Marine Corps, is a subordinate command of Marine Corps Systems Command. MCTSSA provides test and evaluation, engineering and deployed technical support for Marine Corps and joint service command, control, computer, communications and intelligence systems throughout all acquisition life-cycle phases.

By Sky M. Laron, Public Affairs Officer, MCTSSA