Jump to content
High Exposure

Beyond the M4A1.....

Recommended Posts

Looks like the fate of the M-4 FRAK has been decided.

 

https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=op...5ce72cdc9be45c907fcd

 

Added: Mar 13, 2015 11:24 am

The U.S. Army, Army Contracting Command-New Jersey (ACC-NJ) in support of Project Manager Individual Weapons, is conducting a market survey to identify sources/vendors with experience in small arms manufacturing and associated technologies (corporate knowledge, technical expertise, facilities, manufacturing equipment, and product acceptance test hardware) capable of the production of the criteria noted below. The Government is seeking to procure M4A1-Plus (abbreviated as M4A1+) components as Non-Development Items (NDI), for improvements to the M4A1 Carbine. It is anticipated that the M4A1+ components will be evaluated as a system. The system must then install on/interface with stock M4A1 Carbines. The M4A1+ complies with U.S. Army guidance and the capability improvement strategy to field evolutionary capabilities to maintain threat overmatch, battlespace dominance, and mitigate capability gaps.

 

The M4A1+ components will seamlessly integrate with the current M4A1 Carbine (to include but not limited to the barrel, gas tube, upper receiver, bolt and bolt carrier) without negatively impacting or affecting the performance or operation of the M4A1 weapon. The M4A1+ components shall be compatible with current M4A1 ancillary equipment without modification to the ancillary equipment and/or the equipment's mounting brackets. This ancillary equipment includes but is not limited to optics/sights, aiming/pointing devices, training devices, slings, and rail covers.

 

REQUIREMENTS

 

The M4A1+ components shall provide a synergistic effect to enhance Soldier and weapon system lethality, survivability, and operational effectiveness. Specific M4A1+ attributes/capabilities are as follows:

a. Accuracy/Dispersion (Precision): The system accuracy for the M4A1+ shall be 5" mean radius at 300 meters throughout barrel life (required) and shall be 5" extreme spread at 300 meters throughout barrel life with .9 probability (desired) and shall be 10" extreme spread at 600 meters throughout barrel life with.9 probability (desired). Note: The precision measurements are ammunition and M4A1+ specific, without attached under-barrel weapons. Extreme spread measurements will be both vertical and horizontal.

 

b. Improved extended forward rails: The improved extended forward rails shall provide for a MIL-STD-1913 compatible rail that is fixed at the 12 o'clock position, with numbered attachment points. The rail must also provide for the attachment of modular, MIL-STD-1913 enabler(s) attaching capability on the hand guard. The improved extended forward rails shall provide for a hand guard allowing for a free-floated barrel, and for a design/redesign of the under-barrel weapon systems/module interface to use the MIL-STD-1913 compatible rail surface on the hand guard as the attachment point(s), instead of the barrel.

 

i. Length: The length of the improved extended forward rails shall be twelve (+/- .5" ) inches.

 

ii. Mounting surfaces: The improved extended forward rails shall have sufficient removable mounting surfaces of varying lengths (e.g. 3", 5", 7") to allow selective, simultaneous mounting of standard U.S. military accessories (e.g., lasers, illuminators, slings, bipods, vertical grips/grip-pods, etc.).

 

iii. Zero Retention: The improved extended forward rails mounting surfaces will allow for zeroed accessories/enablers to retain zero with 90% confidence (excluding optic/enabler malfunctions) no more than 1 Minute of Angle (MOA).

 

iv. Color: The improved extended forward rails shall provide for reduced visual detection via a neutral (non-black) color and shall be of a rough, dull, non-reflective, coating/finish that retains paint. The color range will be Coyote 498 not lighter than Light Coyote 481, IAW FED-STD-595 #20150 not lighter than #20220; flat dull finish.

 

v. Protective Materials (coatings): The improved extended forward rails shall be corrosion, abrasion, impact, as well as nuclear, biological, chemical (NBC) contaminants and decontaminants resistant. The improved extended forward rails shall be protected from corrosion in all environments and weather conditions, including marine, high humidity, rain, and desert conditions.

 

vi. Low Profile Gas Block: The extended forward rails shall include a low profile gas block. The gas block will be compatible with current M4A1 heavy barrel and gas tube.

 

vii. Forward Sling Mount: The extended forward rail shall include a forward sling mount compatible with 1" sling.

 

c. Improved back-up sights: The M4A1+ shall include a removable back-up sight(s) to be used in the event of damage to the primary sight. These back-up sights (front and rear) shall stow down/away to reduce interference with the mounted primary sights and flip up to enable Soldiers to engage targets out to 300 meters. The sight aperture(s) shall provide for both near threat (to 200 m) and for longer (to 300m) engagements and shall allow for windage and elevation adjustments; 600 meters w/o degrading threshold capabilities.

 

d. Improved flash suppressor: The M4A1+ shall incorporate a barrel flash suppressor / muzzle brake designed to reduce the day and night firing signature and night vision device blooming effect of the weapon to be less than the current carbine without loss in system performance. The improved flash suppressor will have a blank firing adapter (BFA) compatible with M200 blank ammunition. The BFA shall minimize injury if a live round is accidentally fired with the BFA attached.

 

e. Improved charging handle: The improved charging handle shall provide for an enhanced (enlarged) grasping surface area that also allows for gas, lubricant, and debris deflection. The charging handle design shall include an extended latch capability for improved hand/finger grasping access and enhanced operating leverage/operation for both left- and right-handed shooters. The improved charging handle must be compatible with current standard optics, electro-optics and the improved BU sights (required). .

 

f. Weapon Weight: The M4A1+ will weigh less than 8.0 pounds un-loaded without accessories/enablers.

 

g. Reliability: The reliability of the M4A1+ shall be equal to or greater than the current capability when both systems are fired under the same conditions.

 

h. Enhanced trigger module: The enhanced trigger module shall provide for a single-stage trigger, free of creep, with consistent trigger pull weight within the range of 4.0 to 5.0 pounds. The enhanced trigger shall allow for operator selected semi-automatic and full automatic fire. The trigger shall be capable of installation/replacement by the field level maintainer. (Note: Creep shall be interpreted to mean any perceptible rough movement between the time the trigger slack is taken up and the hammer is released). NOTE: The enhanced trigger module is intended to be procured separately from all other M4A1+ components.

 

Production capacity estimates.

 

i. Request information on minimum and maximum monthly production rates for potential M4A1+ components, and the lead times to achieve these production rates. This capacity should be above and beyond any of the vendor's current production orders or current sales. If additional equipment is required to achieve maximum monthly production rates, so state.

 

VENDOR QUESTIONNAIRE

 

The purpose of this questionnaire is to obtain information from industry to assist in market research. Firms/companies are invited to indicate their interest and capability to satisfy the above requirements by identifying the following items:

 

1. Company Name

 

2. Company Address

 

3. Company point of contact, phone number and email address

 

4. Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code

 

5. Major partners or Suppliers

 

6. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code. Identify if the business is considered a small or large business, based on the NAICS Code.

 

7. Include pricing information for the requirements noted above as a system utilizing sub-paragraphs a - g. Also it is requested to price each subparagraph, a -h, by separate components Pricing information for the enhanced trigger module (requirement i, above) should be provided as a separate component and not included in the quote mark system quote mark pricing requested earlier.

 

8. For each requirement identified indicate whether production is in house or out sourced.

 

9. Include monthly production rate for the proposed system, as well as the maximum monthly production rate.

 

10. Identify manufacturing, managing and engineering experience of like items of equal or greater complexity.

 

11. Identify existing facilities, equipment and workforce (identify what percentage would be supporting this new effort and what additional resources would be required).

 

12. Please provide any additional comments.

 

RESPONSE INSTRUCTIONS

Firms/companies are invited to indicate their capabilities by providing specifications, brochures, manuals, reports, demonstration video and other technical data as well as identification of current customers and a rough indication of pricing. Any pricing data should be sent, if available, and at no cost to the U.S. Government. In addition, if any firms/companies would like to submit sample hardware they may do so but there is no requirement to be responsive to this Market Survey request. If any firms/companies do submit sample hardware it will be at NO COST to the U.S. Government. Any samples provided in response to this Market Survey will be retained by the U.S. Government.

 

This Market Survey is a Request for Information (RFI) ONLY and should NOT be construed as a Request for Proposal (RFP) or a commitment by the U.S. Government.

 

The Government reserves the right to reject, in whole or in part, any private sector input as a result of this market survey.

 

If a company has an existing commercially available or non-developmental item that meets these requirements, please provide brochures or other information relative to the performance, maintenance, and physical characteristics (e.g., size, weight, etc.) of the product.

 

Respondents are advised that the U.S. Government will not pay for any information, sample hardware or administrative costs incurred in the response to this RFI. All costs associated with responding to this RFI will be solely at the interested party's expense. Not responding to this RFI does not preclude participation in any future RFP or other solicitation (if any are issued).

 

This is a market survey, not a pre-solicitation notice. There is no formal solicitation available at this time. No award will be made as a result of this market survey. If a formal solicitation is generated at a later date, a pre-solicitation notice will be published. Respondents will not be notified of the results of this survey or results of information submitted. Should the decision be made to proceed with the M4A1+ Program, vendors will be afforded an opportunity to participate in a compatibility check. The compatibility check will provide vendors with access to the M4A1 weapon as well as ancillary equipment.

 

Interested companies are requested to submit capabilities by providing specifications, brochures, manuals, reports, demonstration video and other technical data, identification of current customers and a rough indication of pricing. Documentation should be submitted via e-mail to Sergio Moraga at [email protected] and John Hynes at [email protected] No phone calls will be accepted at this time. Sample hardware may be sent to:

 

Vincent F. Escalona

US Army ARDEC

RDAR-WSW-F, BLDG 2

Picatinny Arsenal, NJ 07806-5000

 

 

Looks an awful lot like the M4 SOPMOD Block II package.

 

I find it interesting that the improved trigger will be procured seperate from the rest of the components.

 

I also find it ironic that this is all based out of NJ.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Think of all the money they could have saved if they didn't field ACU's or wasted time and money on previous weapon trials that led to no where. Did I mention they are already testing new uniforms......again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They almost lost me at synergistic but really what they want is a 12" free float modualr handguard with a top rail and removal bits over a low pro gas block, with folding sights, a modern flash suppressor, and brownish color?

 

 

So .. they browsed ARFCOM and picked the average gun then?

 

Mind you, I like the spec, but it is basically what everyone and their mother has been building in the basement for like 5-10 years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They almost lost me at synergistic but really what they want is a 12" free float modualr handguard with a top rail and removal bits over a low pro gas block, with folding sights, a modern flash suppressor, and brownish color?

 

 

So .. they browsed ARFCOM and picked the average gun then?

 

Mind you, I like the spec, but it is basically what everyone and their mother has been building in the basement for like 5-10 years.

 

*like*

 

lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They almost lost me at synergistic but really what they want is a 12" free float modualr handguard with a top rail and removal bits over a low pro gas block, with folding sights, a modern flash suppressor, and brownish color?

 

 

So .. they browsed ARFCOM and picked the average gun then?

 

Mind you, I like the spec, but it is basically what everyone and their mother has been building in the basement for like 5-10 years.

Agreed. But I am happy they are doing it.

 

I actually thought it read like a setup for KAC :D

Absolutely. I think KAC will get the upper contract and Geisselle will get the trigger contract.

 

We shall see

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why do you say that? You have to consider what is entailed in being a govt contractor supplying weapons to DoD. A facility tasked to do so has to meet a LOT of requirements. Knight's is already configured that way as the military is their focus market, not civilians. So their faculties are already DOD approved. Most anyone else wanting to play in that market would have a lot of catching up to do with a significant capitol expenditure to go with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

KAC already provides all of the drop in rail systems already in use by big green now. It shouldnt be much of a stretch to switch the set up over to build these kits quickly and in quantity.

 

Could they turn over a half million FRAKs tomorrow, no. Could they build 50k every 6 months or so after being awarded the contract? Probably.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At $2k?  It might be a good rifle, but I'm not sure it is worth that money. Hell, I'm not sure any AR15 is worth more then $1500 before optics and unobtanium specialized components. 

 

I am however accepting of position disagreeing with mine, I don't have an issue with capitalism.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My point is there are plenty of high end AR's at the 2k mark and up. So from that perspective, its in line with the market. Considering that you get a FF rail, quality BUIS, hammer forged chrome lined barrel, ambi lower, tuned gas system, and a bolt system unique to KAC that truly makes a difference in reliability and longevity, I at least think a case can be made there is even a value there. The market seems to bare it (to your point on capitalism :) )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Again, Im not sure I would agree. The SR15 is, in my opinion, is one of if not the best AR15 out there and considering all you get, the price is well within line of the market.

 

 

what makes the SR15 upper any better than the rest of the high quality uppers out there besides the proprietary bolt?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The gas system and the proprietary bolt.  From what I understand not a single one in civy hands has broken to date. Travis Haley put over 90k rounds on his. I believe Costa did as well. Ive been following a guy on another forum that has put 15k on his with no cleanings! I have had 2. I have not put volume through any of them but they have been superb. A number of friends followed suit and bought them. Not a problem with any of them. That's a sampling of about 7 rifles FWIW. In addition, I very much like the BUIS. They are what I would put on any AR.

 

Shane

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Because its magic!!

 

The question will remain if magic can be reproduced in bulk or if someone else will eat their lunch on price. Plus the way I read the requirement, the solution must integrate with existing components, including gas tube/carrier/bolt/etc. That requirement right there is a bit silly as it basically makes a no-go of anything but carbine gas length which meh. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The gas system and the proprietary bolt.  From what I understand not a single one in civy hands has broken to date. Travis Haley put over 90k rounds on his. I believe Costa did as well. Ive been following a guy on another forum that has put 15k on his with no cleanings! I have had 2. I have not put volume through any of them but they have been superb. A number of friends followed suit and bought them. Not a problem with any of them. That's a sampling of about 7 rifles FWIW. In addition, I very much like the BUIS. They are what I would put on any AR.

 

Shane

 

Hmm. I can't find a pic of their bolt, but they sell the spares. It looks like the LMT enahcned bolt with two extractor springs. In which case, I've run into a couple people with failures of such a system when researching my last build. Failure mode was the same for both. Single spring failed creating a binding situation that lead to FTE/FTF issues. Both were high volume competitive shooters. Those were  both LMT purchased directly form LMT though. Are there any other changed on the KAC one?  (okay, found pics and description)

 

AS for the rounded lugs. I have a bolt that implements that. It needs a barrel specifically head spaced to it regardless of the manufacturers claims otherwise. It dealt witht he cam pin area by making it as thick as the raised ring on a normal mil-spec bolt rather than altering the cam pin dimensions. 

 

given that they specified the carbine length operating system, I doubt there will be much tuning of anything. To me it sounds like they want a bag of armorer installable parts without inventory hassles. That may mean spares interchangeability, which would mean no fancy bolt or special gas system. just rail, gas blocks, and sights in one bag, trigger group in another bag form someone else. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Because its magic!!

 

The question will remain if magic can be reproduced in bulk or if someone else will eat their lunch on price. Plus the way I read the requirement, the solution must integrate with existing components, including gas tube/carrier/bolt/etc. That requirement right there is a bit silly as it basically makes a no-go of anything but carbine gas length which meh. 

This actually is what confused me as well. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable can explain it to me, but this requirement seems to crazy.

 

So they want all new components that will work better and last longer--but they basically have to be engineered to fit into existing rifles, and be compatible with a majority of the current parts. I would imagine this would greatly constrain the ability of a manufacturer to actually come up with a better system, AND maintain compatibility. Sure, I guess they could make some minor modifications to shape or layout, but for the most part I'd think they'd be limited to using different metallurgy to get the desired results. 

 

Actually, re-reading this, I realized that they didn't really ask for any improvements to the "Guts" (BCG, hammer, etc.) of the rifle besides the trigger. So it seems, that apart from the trigger, they're basically just asking for a new rail system, flash supressor, and "paint job" for the gun. Might explain why they're willing to go with a trigger from a separate vendor-- since that makes it seem like the M4A1+ is really two projects.

 

I sort of question the point of some of these modifications, if they really justify the expense for a marginal (at most) difference in the current platform. 

 

I sometimes wonder if we've sort of reached a plateau in small-arms development with our current technology. I mean, from 1840-1890 we went from percussion caps to early semi-auto and machine guns. But from 1960-2015 we've pretty much only made modifications to the same design. (Granted the M16 family of rifles is a good design), but it doesn't really seem like we've had any "small arms revolutions" that shake anything up since the STG44. (Basically, I'm trying to say that I'm wondering if we're sort of in a corner with designs, and that we won't really see any groundbreaking gun design until we have laser guns or some crap.)

 

I'm probably missing something, either with respect to this project, or small arms design, in which case I would like someone to educate me on it. I just don't see the point in such a minor revision.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that this is mostly  request for improvement of a few accessories, not of the rifle core. The trigger bit makes sense to everyone. 

 

The rest of it seems to be about getting a better way to attach crap to the rifle. The short 9" handguard full of crap glued to it is horrible to me. What they would get from this is a free floated handguard  which is a biggie, less weight (or they should), a modular attachment system, a folding front sight, a better muzzle device and a better charging handle. 

 

Basically they are fixing exactly what every AR owner fixes on their factory guns. 

 

I view this as a realistic set of goals. However, if they do follow through, it may nix any future change to piston uppers because if the hand-guard is not sized for it it won't fit. To me this is fine, there is nothing wrong with DI from my point of view. 

 

I do agree that firearm technology is getting very mature. Short of moving to laser beams (which are a bad idea for many reason btw) we can only pack so much energy into a package so small. Most of improvements now are in accessories, optics, ergonomics, etc.  This is not a bad thing, people are actually focusing on polishing the small things and there is a HUGE other issue from a 2A standpoint, post Heller. If we had a technological revolution in weapons, say 40MW plasma rifles, they wouldn't be in common use, would they? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...