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The U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, located in Crane, Ind., is conducting a market survey for “an improved 12.7 mm multipurpose (MP) armor piercing high explosive incendiary (APHEI) ammunition cartridge and a non-dud producing 12.7 mm marking cartridge.”

According to the April 23, 2012 sources sought announcement, the interest comes from United States Special Operations Command, which is seeking to identify “vendors who are currently producing a 12.7 mm MP APHEI cartridge that is more accurate than the current MK  211 MOD 0 DODIC A606 ammunition cartridge used by USSOCOM and a 12.7mm non-dud producing cartridge that matches its trajectory.”

In terms of accuracy criteria, the improved 12.7 mm MP APHEI ammunition must meet a standard deviation of 100 mm or less and an extreme spread of 250 mm or less with a 10 shot group at 550 meters, with the accuracy of the cartridge at 1,000 meters “also of interest.”

Other APHEI criteria include penetration (10.6 mm armor plate RHA BHN 321-375, at an angle of impact of 45 degrees), as well as specific fragmentation and incendiary effects.

Accuracy requirements for the 12.7 mm non-dud producing ammunition cartridge include a standard deviation of 120 mm or less and an extreme spread of 280 mm for a 10 shot group at 550 meters. As with the APHEI, accuracy information at 1,000 meters is also of interest.

According to the announcement, the non-dud producing round “must match the trajectory of the MK 211 MOD 0 DODIC A606 ammunition cartridge, produce a signature flash when hitting the target without possessing the high explosive that can produce duds, without the secondary incendiary that increases fire starting capability, and without the penetration capability and fragmentation pattern that increases the risk of collateral damage.”

The announcement adds that USSOCOM may apply for approval of a Foreign Comparative Testing FCT project to evaluate potential candidates.

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