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By Debbie Gregory.

It appears that the Army’s Interim Combat Service Rifle (ICSR) program has been cancelled as part of a massive review of Army small arms programs.

The program was officially announced on August 4th, and lasted just over a month before its cancellation. The ICSR was proposed as a means of countering the new generation of cheap, highly effective body armors likely to be worn by America’s enemies. Experts both inside and outside the Army believed that the Army’s current issue 5.56-millimeter bullet would not be able to penetrate new armor, and that a larger, heavier bullet that transfers more energy to the target is necessary.

The cancellation was a direct result of the three-month, continuing resolution passed by Congress on Sept. 14, which Secretary of Defense James Mattis warned lawmakers would kill the ICSR effort along with 17 other Army start-up programs.

But that does not does not necessarily mean the end of the Army’s M110A1 Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System (CSASS) program.

Debi Dawson , spokesperson for the Army’s Program Executive Office Soldier (PEO Soldier) office confirmed that the new standard-issue 7.62mm caliber rifle system is currently in the production qualification testing.

Asked if the new sniper rifle program has encountered any political or budgetary problems, Dawson stated that the CSASS “has encountered no such obstacles.”

Army Brig. Gen. Brian Cummings, who is charge of the programs that provide most of a soldier’s gear and weapons — said that the Army was still weighing a short-term stand-in for the M4/M16 rifle platform while a new one is developed.

“Right now, many are focused on the ICSR or SDMR,” Cummings said. “But that’s not the long-term way ahead. The long-term way ahead is a brand new rifle for all of the Department of Defense called the Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW.)”

The NGSW would be “one end-all solution,” he added, with a carbine model replacing the M4 and a rifle version replacing the M249 squad automatic weapon. Both would likely fire a round larger than the current 5.56 mm.

By Debbie Gregory.

To replace its aging fleet of Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM-8) “Mike Boats”, the U.S. Army has awarded a massive contract to Oregon-based shipbuilder Vigor Works.

The Vigor Maneuver Support Vessel (Light) (Vigor MSV [L])  was designed and developed in partnership with BMT following a detailed study of the Army’s unique needs.

The contract represents the largest award in Vigor’s history, with a total value of $979,390,000 over a ten year period. The contract will provide sustained full time employment for roughly 200 skilled artisans.

The draft production schedule would have a prototype built for testing in FY2019,  four will be built during Low Rate Initial Production between FY 21 and FY 22; and, should the program reach full scale production, 32 will be produced during a four-year period between FY23 through FY27.

“This award is the culmination of a five year process of research and development that first began with Kvichak prior to its merger with Vigor,” said Vigor CEO Frank Foti. “We are honored to have been selected to serve the Army in this important project.”

The landing craft’s tribow monohull is an innovative design that provides superior maneuverability and stability in high sea states.

The 100-foot long beach landing boat is capable of hauling one M1A2 Abrams tank, a pair of Stryker armored transports, or four Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, and their trailers.

The new boats boast a top speed of 18 knots and will replace the slower 74-foot long Landing Craft Mechanized 8, which tops out at eight knots — and has been in service since the 1950’s.

The introduction of the MSV(L) into the fleet, says the Army, “will enable the agency to meet its movement, maneuver, and integrated expeditionary sustainment requirements with a more agile, versatile; and capable platform. The MSV(L) will conduct movement and maneuver of tactical force elements as well as traditional Army Watercraft System sustainment operations.”

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.

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.

dump truck

The U.S. Army is shopping around for its next armored dump truck.

The U.S Army has plans to purchase 683 M917A3 armored dump trucks. To that end, try the service branch is inviting industry to compete for chance to build these new armored dump trucks.

The new M917A3 requires a max payload of 27 tons on primary and secondary roads. The crew cab and underbody armor protection should be capable of being changed out separately based on the mission without affecting performance.

According to the May 26 solicitation, page the Army intends to award a Single-Source Award, information pills Firm-Fixed Price, Seven-year Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity commercial contract for the dump truck.

The solicitation states: “The Army requires units with dependable and deployable M917A3s that have reduced operations and support costs and increased operational effectiveness and readiness over existing systems. This is critical to support the Joint Forces as they conduct more operations in areas of the world with austere infrastructures and little or no host nation support. The M917A3 will be capable of supporting mobility, counter mobility, survivability and sustainment operations.”

The Contract Data Requirements packet is 121 pages and is available for downloading at govtribe.com. Responses are due July 25

The last time the Army purchased new dump trucks was in 17 years ago when it awarded a $400 million contract to Freightliner LLC to build almost 3,400 M917A2s, as well as M915A3 line haul tractors and M916A3 light equipment transporters.

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