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By Debbie Gregory.

The Army’s new M17 Modular Handgun System has been put through the paces by Soldiers
at Fort Bragg’s Range 29.

Testers included Army police, pilots, infantry and crew chiefs from Kentucky’s Special Operations Aviation Regiment and Georgia’s 3rd Infantry Division.

“We wanted to make sure that we have a huge sample to make sure that we’ve got this right — that the Army has it right, to ensure this personnel from across the service are taking part in the OTC’s program,” said Army Operational Test Command’s Col. Brian McHugh.

Sig Sauer won the Army contract to supply the service’s new sidearm, beating out Glock Inc., FN America and Beretta USA.

Shortly after the Army announced its selection of the P320 for the service branch’s sidearm in February, Glock lodged a protest claiming not only that Army Material Command “improperly failed to complete reliability testing on Sig Sauer’s compact handgun” due to a truncated testing timeline, but that the branch’s “evaluations under the price, license rights, manual safety, and penetration factors and subfactors were flawed.”

In June, the Government Accountability Office finally denied Glock’s protest.

The M17 MHS is a derivative of the SIG Sauer P320 handgun which has interchangeable grip modules, suppressor support via a threaded barrel, interchangeable slide lengths on a single frame, and an integral optics mounting plate.

The M17 Modular Handgun System utilizes a much simpler and cheaper striker fired design than the previous M9 pistol.

The 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky will be the first unit to receive the 9mm M17 MHS.

By Debbie Gregory.

The V-280 Valor tiltrotor prototype, developed by Bell Helicopters to replace both the Apache and Black Hawk helicopters in the Army’s fleet is just about ready to take to the skies.

The aircraft was officially unveiled at the 2013 Army Aviation Association of America’s (AAAA) Annual Professional Forum and Exposition in Fort Worth, TX

A partnership between Bell and Lockheed Martin has resulted in the V-280, a major upgrade to the Army’s rotary aircraft fleet.

According to Bell’s website, the Valor, a third-generation tilt-rotor aircraft, provides warfighters strategic options, operational reach and tactical agility.

Special emphasis has been placed on reducing the weight of the V-280 in order to reduce cost. To do this, composites have been used extensively in the wing, fuselage, and tail. Wing skins and ribs are made of a honeycomb-stiffened “sandwich” construction with large-cell carbon cores for fewer, larger, and lighter parts. Skins and ribs are paste-bonded together to eliminate fasteners.

The design makes the copter twice as fast and able to operate at twice the range as the UH-60 Black Hawk. The Valor is capable of hauling 23% more troops and 25% more cargo.

The design features integrated cabin armor, fly-by-wire component redundancy, state of the art countermeasures and performance.

With more than twice the speed and range of current helicopter platforms, the Bell V-280 Valor provides access to get to the objective while providing superior agility at the objective.

Team Valor’s mission equipment package enables en-route situational understanding through digitally fused reconnaissance, surveillance, intelligence and friendly force information. Airborne battle boards bring fused data and mission updates to the cabin for real-time tracking

The Valor will soon undergo initial ground testing at the company’s assembly center in Amarillo, Texas. The company will then move to unrestrained ground runs. When everything is determined ready to go, Bell will fly the helicopter for the first time, which will likely be a low hover over the ground.

By Debbie Gregory.

On August 11th , the U.S. Marine Corps issued a Notice of Intent to Sole Source for more than 50,000 new M27 Infantry Automatic Rifles from German gun-maker Heckler & Koch. The notice was posted on the website Federal Business Opportunities.

This has raised speculation that some within the service branch want to replace the M4 with the M27.

With the M27 costing upwards of $3,000 a rifle, this is a sizable purchase. And the Marine Corp has already bought thousands of the rifles earlier this year.

While weapon vendors were invited to pitch their latest weapons technologies, including new suppressors, optics, etc., Heckler & Koch apparently remained the best option for the Corps.

Based on the HK416, the M27 is chambered for a 5.56mm round and carried by Marine automatic riflemen, though officials have discussed the possibility of fielding the weapon as the new service rifle for all or most infantrymen rather than the M4. The HK416 was recently adopted by the French army.

Faced with fulfilling three major contracts (the U.S. Army’s possible purchase of 7.62mm Interim Combat Service Rifle, the French Army’s contract, and the Marine’s contract) Heckler & Koch’s manufacturing capacity has been questioned.

While a contract for 50,000 rifles would not be enough to equip every Marine with an M27, but it would be a start.

This summer, the Corps began a 20-month-long experiment involving an “Uber Squad” at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, to test out gear including suppressors, polymer drum mags and special operations-issue hearing protection, as well as the M27.


According to the most recent census data, there are 2.45 million veteran-owned businesses in the U.S. Veteran entrepreneurs contribute to the economy through their businesses and their willingness to hire veterans.
There are a number of funding resources available to veterans in order to get their business off the ground, or expand an existing business.
• The Office of Veterans Business Development, through the Small Business Administration (SBA) supports new and existing veteran entrepreneurs and military spouses. The program offers a variety of training and financial services. The SBA Veterans Advantage Guaranteed Loans program offers loans of $150,000 or less with no guaranty fee. Larger loans carry a low guarantee fee. SBA Express Loans have no upfront borrower fee for eligible veterans and military spouses on loans up to $35,000. Leveraging Information and Networks to Access Capital matches businesses with SBA-approved non-profit lenders. The 7(a) Loan Program is the SBA’s most common loan program, and includes financial help for businesses with special requirements.
• The Department of Veteran Affairs is a great starting point when looking for financing, and has created the Veteran Entrepreneur Portal (VEP), which can help you quickly identify financing resources for your business.
• The Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan provide funds to eligible small businesses to meet necessary operating expenses that it could have met, but is unable to meet, because an owner/essential employee was “called-up” to active duty.
• The USDA Veteran and Minority Farmer Grant, run by the Department of Agriculture, aims to bring traditionally underserved people into farming through training and technical and financial assistance.
• The VetFran(R) program is designed to help veterans start their own business. While these aren’t traditional business loans for veterans, the program offers financial incentive for veterans to launch a franchise.
In addition to lending resources, don’t discount the value of networking resources. Who better to share advice than those who have walked the path before you?
• American Corporate Partners links veteran entrepreneurs with successful businesspeople for training and mentorship.
• National Veteran-Owned Business Association presents you with a great networking opportunity and the chance to learn much more about running a business.
• SCORE Foundation Veteran Fast Launch Initiative offers advertising, marketing and business mentoring, all at no cost.

• Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families provides entrepreneurial training. Their Entrepreneurial Bootcamp for Veterans program is free for post-9/11 veterans.
• Veterans Business Resource Center provides business consulting and mentoring.
• Veterans Business Services can assist in obtaining capital for your business.


By Debbie Gregory.

Due to a potential gap in the capability of ground forces and infantry to penetrate body armor using existing ammunition, the U.S. Army is looking for an Interim Combat Service Rifle (ICSR) to address this need.

The competition for a new 7.62mm Interim Service Combat Rifle will result in up to eight contracts, procuring seven types of weapons from each gunmaker for evaluating and testing.

At the end of the testing, the Army “may award a single follow-on Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) based contract for the production of up to 50,000 weapons,” according to a solicitation on FedBizOpps.gov.

The service’s present plan is to evaluate the submissions against a three main factors, which are, in order of importance, the features of the “bid sample” itself, the production capability of the vendor or vendors, and the price.

The Interim Combat Service Rifle should have either 16-inch or 20-inch barrels, a collapsible buttstock, an extended forward rail and weigh less than 12 pounds unloaded and without an optic.

There is definitely a need for this sort of weapon. For years, critics have complained that insurgents and terrorists with Soviet-era weapons had better range and terminal ballistics than their American counterparts armed mainly with 5.56mm weapons.

Multiple proposals may be submitted by the same organization; however, each proposal must consist of the weapons, proposal, and System Safety Assessment Report. All proposals are due by 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Wednesday, September 6, 2017.

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