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The Corps’ JLTV Achieves Initial Operational Capability

Monday, August 12th, 2019

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. —

The Marine Corps’ Joint Light Tactical Vehicle is officially ready to deploy and support missions of the naval expeditionary force-in-readiness worldwide.

Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Combat Development and Integration declared the JLTV program—part of the Light Tactical Vehicle portfolio at Program Executive Officer Land Systems—reached initial operational capability, or IOC, on Aug. 2, nearly a year ahead of schedule.

Photo by Cpl Juan Bustos

“Congratulations to the combined JLTV Team for acting with a sense of urgency and reaching IOC early,” said Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition James Geurts. “Changing the speed in which we deliver, combined with coming in under cost and meeting all performance requirements, is a fine example of increasing Marine Corps capabilities at the speed of relevance which enables our Marines to compete and win on the modern battlefield.”

The JLTV, a program led by the Army, will fully replace the Corps’ aging High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle fleet. The JLTV family of vehicles comes in different variants with multiple mission package configurations, all providing protected, sustained, networked mobility that balances payload, performance and protection across the full range of military operations.

Photo by Cpl Matthew Kirk

“The warfighting capabilities the JLTV provides our Marines far exceed the capabilities offered by its predecessor,” said PEO Land Systems John Garner. “I’m proud of what our team, in collaboration with the Army, has accomplished. Their commitment to supporting the warfighter delivered an exceptional vehicle, ahead of schedule, that Marines will use to dominate on the battlefield now and well into the future.”

Several elements need to be met before a program can declare IOC of a system, which encompasses more than delivery of the system itself. The program office also had to ensure all the operators were fully trained and maintenance tools and spare parts packages were ready.

“IOC is more than just saying that the schoolhouses and an infantry battalion all have their trucks,” said Eugene Morin, product manager for JLTV at PEO Land Systems. “All of the tools and parts required to support the system need to be in place, the units must have had received sufficient training and each unit commander needs to declare that he is combat-ready.”

For the JLTV, this means the program office had to fully field battle-ready vehicles to the Marine Corps schoolhouses—School of Infantry East at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; School of Infantry West at Camp Pendleton, California; The Basic School at Quantico, Virginia; and the Motor Transport Maintenance Instruction Course at Camp Johnson, North Carolina—and to an infantry battalion at II Marine Expeditionary Force. The program office started delivering vehicles to the schoolhouses earlier this year and started delivering vehicles to the infantry battalion last month.

Photo by Sgt Timothy R. Smithers

On Aug. 2, Lt. Col. Neil Berry, the commanding officer for 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, notified Morin and his team of the unit’s combat readiness with the JLTV. On Aug. 5, The Director, Ground Combat Element Division at CD&I notified PM LTV of its IOC achievement. The JLTV is scheduled to start fielding to I MEF and III MEF before the end of September.

According to LTV Program Manager Andrew Rodgers, during the post-acquisition Milestone C rebaseline of the JLTV schedule in January 2016, IOC was projected to occur by June 2020.  

Rodgers says that detailed program scheduling, planning and, most importantly, teamwork with stakeholders across the enterprise enabled the program office to deliver the vehicles and reach IOC ahead of schedule.

“It was definitely a team effort, and we built up a really great team,” said Rodgers. “In terms of leadership, our product managers’—both Gene Morin and his predecessor, Dave Bias—detailed focus and ability to track cost, schedule and performance was key. Neal Justis, our deputy program manager, has significant prior military experience working for the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, so having him on board knowing how to work the Pentagon network was a huge force multiplier.”

Rodgers is quick to note that, although the team has reached IOC, this is really only the beginning of the JLTV’s future legacy.

“We are really at the starting line right now. Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will see JLTVs in the DOD,” said Rodgers. “We’ll easily still have these assets somewhere in the DOD in the year 2100. Welcome to the start of many generations of JLTVs.”

By Ashley Calingo, PEO Land Systems Public Affairs | Marine Corps Systems Command

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.

www.pointblankenterprises.com

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”

PM IW

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:

NSN
Nomenclature
Model #
1240-01-619-2962
Grenade Launcher Sight
SU-277-PSQ
5855-01-559-7064
Individual Weapon Night Sight-Thermal
AN/PAS-27
5855-01-558-3616
Individual Weapon Night Sight-Image Intensified
AN/PVS-24A
5855-01-550-2780
Mini-Integrated Pointer Illuminator
AN/PEQ-16A
5855-01-582-1584
Mini-Integrated Pointer Illuminator
AN/PEQ-16B
5855-01-577-7174
Advanced Target Pointer Illuminator Aiming Light
AN/PEQ-15
1240-01-667-8204
Sniper Squad Range Finder
I-CUGR

• 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 www.fbo.gov.

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

Wednesday, April 24th, 2019

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. —

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