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SOCOM Seeks Next Generation Laser Aiming Modules

The U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Crane Division recently released a “sources sought” announcement requesting information from industry “pertaining to Technological Advances in Small Arms Weapon mounted Laser Aiming and Illuminating Modules compatible with the small arms weapons employed by Special Operations Forces (SOF).”

NSWC Crane representatives identified a broad range of potential “rifles/carbines, grenade launchers, lightweight machine guns, medium machine guns, heavyweight machine guns, indirect fire munitions, and precision weapons employed by SOF“ for any future module, including but not limited to the M4/M4A1, M16 series, H&K416, M27, MK17 MOD 0, M110, M110K, H&K417, MK13 EGLM, M203, M320, M79, M249 series, MK46 MOD 0/1, M240 series, MK48 MOD 0/1, M2/M2A1, MK13 MOD 5/6/7/8, Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR) [nomenclature to be determined], and handheld 60mm mortar system.

Released on behalf of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Visual Augmentation System Weapons Accessories (VASWA)/Special Operations Peculiar Modification Kit (SOPMOD) Program, the notice adds that the early investigation effort “is underway to gauge potential interest and assist in requirement development of the Next Generation of Family of Small Arms Laser Aiming Modules.”

Laser Aiming Modules SOC

Special Forces operators give a close-quarter drill demonstration to participants of the 2012 U.S. Army Special Operations Command Capabilities Exercise, April 26. SOCOM, through NSWC Crane, is seeking information on new laser aiming module technologies. USASFC(A) photo by Staff Sgt. Marcus Butler

The sources sought request follows last year’s request for information from NSWC Crane for industry information on a universal pistol aiming light module.

According to the latest Aug. 5, 2013 announcement, NSWC Crane representatives identified a broad range of potential “rifles/carbines, grenade launchers, lightweight machine guns, medium machine guns, heavyweight machine guns, indirect fire munitions, and precision weapons employed by SOF“ for any future module, including but not limited to the M4/M4A1, M16 series, H&K416, M27, MK17 MOD 0, M110, M110K, H&K417, MK13 EGLM, M203, M320, M79, M249 series, MK46 MOD 0/1, M240 series, MK48 MOD 0/1, M2/M2A1, MK13 MOD 5/6/7/8, Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR) [nomenclature to be determined], and handheld 60mm mortar system.

The USSOCOM VASWA/SOPMOD Program “is interested in receiving product information from industry in support of the next generation family of small arms laser aiming modules mission area,” the notice states, adding that the industry responses “may be in the form of commercial product literature, operating instructions, and/or supplemental technical documentation that define the item and associated hardware.”

Specifically identified areas of NSWC Crane interest for advanced technology include but are not limited to:

  • Advancements in materials and designs;
  • Reduction in size and weight;
  • Improved methods of attachment and integration to the weapon;
  • Improvements in tactical/operational suitability and effectiveness;
  • Improved sustainability for life cycle cost reduction;
  • Improvements in system accuracy, interoperability and reliability, and;
  • Improvements in battery life.

The announcement notes that interested industry responses should begin with white papers that should be submitted electronically by the afternoon of August 15. It further cautions that, at the current time, no funding is available for any follow-on contractual efforts.

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