TYR Tactical

Posts Tagged ‘USASOC’

USASOC Envisions Taking SOPMOD Into The 2020s With A New Upper Receiver Group For Its M4A1s

Monday, May 8th, 2017

During last week’s NDIA Armaments Conference, United States Army Special Operations Command’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Requirements (G8), COL Samuel Ashley briefed an upcoming program. The command is interested in fielding a new Upper Reciever Group for its M4A1 SOPMOD carbines.

This isn’t the same program as the current Suppressed UpperReceiver Group (SURG) intended to procure an integrally suppressed upper, which can be still held despite going through a brutal protocol of eight magazines.

The Special Operations Peculiar Modifications or SOPMOD program was begun in the early 1990s to offer specialized weapon modifications and accessories for SOF’s carbines. Paid for by Major Force Program-11 funds, M-4 carbines received rail systems and a toolkit of optics and weapon lights. MFP-11 is USOCOM’s budget authority, while Army SOF get their service common items like M9 pistols, M320 Grenade Launchers and Mk 19 AGLs from the Army via MFP-2.

But before anything else happens with this program, Naval Surface Warfare Center – Crane, which has responsibility for the development, procurement and life-cycle management of SOCOM’s small arms fleet, has to publish the results of a Mid-length vs Carbine-length gas study it’s finishing up. That study will inform this URG requirement. Officials won’t say what they expect to find during the study, but quite a bit of headway has been made in the commercial market with mid-length gas systems, particularly when paired with suppressors.

Naturally, this means that these will be direct impingement uppers, unlike the M27 IAR, piston-driven rifles the Marine Corps is considering for expanded fielding. Despite interest from the peanut gallery, there are no plans for SOCOM-wide fielding of the HK416.

Although exact details of the requirement have not been released, USASOC did not develop them in a vacuum.

An ongoing Soldier Enhancement Program initiative, launched in 2014, has been leveraged to inform the requirement. Initially, the Army purchased a small number of AU-MOD 2s from Hodge Defense Systems, Inc which were evaluated by Picatinny as well as USASOC. This was the first time a carbine had been evaluated under SEP. Later in 2016, the Army purchased rifles from other manufacturers which included LMT, Daniel Defense and SIG, amongst others.

COL Ashley said that they see two variants of the URG, a 14.5″ and 10.5″, denoting barrel lengths which replicate their current capability. Of course, the mid-length gas system would only apply to the 14.5″ and not the 10.5″ upper.

One thing we know, this URG program will include the M-LOK attachment system, which is backward compatible with MIL STD 1913 via adapters. Based on the briefing slide, it also looks like USASOC wants to go with the SureFire WarComp, in negative timing mode. The WarComp is compatible with SureFire suppressors and COL Ashley mentioned that the command is quite pleased with the performance of its current suppressors.

While USASOC has interest in several new calibers, none of them are for their carbine. The URG will be in 5.56mm NATO, intended to fire the M855A1 cartridge, which COL Ashley related, USASOC is very satisfied with.

However within SOCOM, there is a Naval Special Warfare driven requirement for a Personal Defense Weapon in .300 Blackout. Additionally, USASOC is conducting a 6.5mm caliber ammunition evaluation for a Intermediate Caliber Sniper Rifle/Carbine as well as Intermediate Caliber Assault Machine Gun. Finally, SOCOM plans to field an Advanced Sniper Rifle in .300 Norma Magnum to be accompanied by a .338NM cartridge which may also see service with a Lightweight Medium Machine Gun, combining the weight of an M240 with the reach of an M2 Machine Gun.

Programs like this not only help ensure that SOCOM’s M-4A1 platform benefits from upgrades from the latest technology, but the Army, and other services, can also adopt this URG, to improve the performance of their carbines. COL Ashley said to look for this requirement to hit the streets in FY18.

Project Diane

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

Project Diane is a United States Army Special Operations Command initiative which looks at ways to expand women’s roles within the command. It takes its name from Office of Strategic Services member Virginia Hall, codename ‘Diane.’

That’s a Grim Looking Panel

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

(Photo by SSG Marcus Butler, USASOC Public Affairs)

This photo shows (From left to right) NASCAR President Mike Helton, North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue, USASOC Commanding General Lt. Gen. John F. Mulholland and Executive Director of the North Carolina Military Foundation Lance DeSpain. They were all together last week at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida to announce the historic partnership to make military vehicles safer for Special Operations Soldiers and to share innovations benefiting all parties involved.

It’s an interesting proposition. The NC ‘automotive’ industry aka NASCAR will share technical data with USASOC (and vice versa) that might assist the other. In my opinion, there may well be some safety technologies or TTPs that come out of this but considering the drastic difference between a GMVS and a highly modified sprint car, I wouldn’t expect much more. This just feels ‘gimmicky’.

Maybe that’s why everyone in the photo looks so unhappy to be there.