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FN Gets New Army M4A1 Contract

At the end of last month the U.S. Army awarded FN Manufacturing, the U.S. owned company of FN Herstal, of Belgium a contract to upgrade M4 rifles to the new M4A1 standard. . FN Manfuacturing will do the work at their plant in South Carolina. The contract has a value of about $77 million if all options are executed.

UP to this contract all M4 production and other work had been done by Colt Defense. Over the last several years the Army has gone back and forth with this company on contracts and costs. The Army has also tried several times to purchase a weapon to replace the M16 and M4, which is basically a shortened version of that venerable rifle.

FN has already has had contracts with the U.S. military to make the M16 and recently M240 machine guns. They were also the initial producer of the M249 SAW.

The problem for Colt is that it may see one of its largest product lines move to other producers as time continues. This contract will just upgrade existing M4 rifles. The next contract may be for production moving to FN or another supplier. It may be a whole different system from Colt, FN or some other small arms company.

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