U.S. Army’s Small Arms Struggles Continue

by: Matthew Potter
April 2, 2009

Category: Acquisitions, Business Line, Colt Defense, Companies, Congress, development program, Events, Federal Budget Process, logistics, production program, Services, U.S. Army | RSS 2.0

Over at CNET: Military Tech Mark Rutherford writes about how the Army has just put on hold its program to develop a new crew personal weapon to replace the M4 carbine and 9 mm pistols they currently use. The goal had been to develop a subcompact, lighter weapon. Interestingly the M4 “short” version of the M16 was developed for crew use and then became adopted military wide due to the need to have a shorter weapon to use from vehicles and in rapid response situations due to the threat in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Army had moved out on the XM8 system that would have had a rifle version and a support weapon firing 25mm rounds. This ultimately was canceled for a variety of reasons some political and some technical. The small arms situation with the U.S. is at such a state that the Special Operations Command (SOCCOM) went out and bought their own weapon, the SCAR. Attempts to get the whole military to adopt this were stymied as well. Much of these problems have to do with Colt and the U.S. desire to maintain and American designed and made small arms. The U.S. needs to move out and buy a new system to replace the M16/M4 family especially as there are issues with them in dusty environments. Really this has been one of the worst recent failures in U.S. acquisition history.

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