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Finally an RFP for XM17 Modular Handgun System?

After a series of preliminary delays, the U.S. Army’s “on again/off again” Modular Handgun System appears to be moving toward release of a formal request for proposals. Recent announcements note that the program, which is now designated as the “XM17 Modular Handgun System,” anticipates RFP release on or about July 31, 2015.

As outlined in early requests for industry feedback, the Army envisions that the XM17 “will replace the existing family of handguns in Army inventory, leverage commercial technology to mitigate gaps and shortcomings in presently fielded weapons, and counter current and emerging threats.”

A draft solicitation for the new system was released in late September of last year, with industry input further supported through multiple industry day events.

In projecting the formal RFP release on July 31, the most recent announcement describes the planned XM17 procurement as “a Full & Open Competition (F&OC) acquisition seeking a system solution that will provide Warfighters with a best-value system that features increased lethality, increased accuracy, improved ergonomics, and a higher degree of reliability/durability over legacy handgun systems.”

The result was an estimated release date for the formal proposal on or about Jan. 2, 2015, with the expectation that “MHS” would be highlighted in several industry exhibits during the January 2015 “SHOT Show” in Las Vegas. And, while SHOT did spotlight a few interesting military handgun designs – including systems like the Beretta M9A3 – the Army clearly missed their planned solicitation release.

m9a3

Beretta’s attempt to sell the Army the M9A3 update of the venerable M9 was rejected in favor of holding the new and open competition for a new service pistol. Beretta image

The Army clarified their planning calendar during the second day of SHOT (Jan. 21) with an announcement that the RFP release “would not occur in January 2015” after all and that “Release of the RFP is hereby delayed until further notice in order to allow for improvements to the RFP as a result of feedback received from Industry.”

The spring saw the release of more responses to industry day questions, with another industry day event (the fourth) slated for early July. In addition, in early June the Army released a “Draft RFP #2” that reflects “requirement and source selection updates inclusive of, but not limited to industry feedback.”

In projecting the formal RFP release on July 31, the most recent announcement describes the planned XM17 procurement as “a Full & Open Competition (F&OC) acquisition seeking a system solution that will provide Warfighters with a best-value system that features increased lethality, increased accuracy, improved ergonomics, and a higher degree of reliability/durability over legacy handgun systems.”

Current program plans project up to three Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract awards “in 2nd quarter of fiscal year 2017.”

It adds, “Each contract awarded will receive the minimum contract guarantee of one (1) weapon component package, which consist of all of the test samples and supporting components as described in the statement of work to conduct the down-select test and evaluation as described in section H of the RFP resulting in a down-selection to one (1) awardee to go into full-rate production which is anticipated for 2nd quarter of fiscal year 2018.”

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Scott Gourley is a former U.S. Army officer and the author of more than 1,500...