US ARMY SEEKS IMPROVEMENTS TO THE M4A1 CARBINE

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The U.S. Army has released a Sources Sought Notice, (W15QKN-15-X-7820) seeking a single vendor to bundle a laundry list of COTS aftermarket enhancements to its M4A1 carbine. The resulting product will be designated as the M4A1+

If I understood the Army’s SSN correctly it appears that they are looking for a single source supplier to perform the forklift upgrade to the existing M4A1 inventory.

I thought it was interesting that the Army’s request came right after the U.S.M.C. announcement that the Corps was considering aftermarket enhancements to the M16A4 and M4 rifles.

These are the detailed requirements as specified in the Army’s SSN

a.Accuracy/Dispersion (Precision): The system accuracy for the M4A1+ shall be 5 quote mark mean radius at 300 meters throughout barrel life (required) and shall be 5 quote mark extreme spread at 300 meters throughout barrel life with .9 probability (desired) and shall be 10 quote mark 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 quote mark ) inches.
ii. Mounting surfaces: The improved extended forward rails shall have sufficient removable mounting surfaces of varying lengths (e.g. 3 quote mark , 5 quote mark , 7 quote mark ) 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 quote mark 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.

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