Defense Media Network

U.S. Army Looks for New Carbine Options

The U.S. Army has begun market research “to obtain information pertaining to the weapon capabilities available to fill the carbine role” for Army warfighters.

A May 27, 2010 “sources sought” announcement, released on behalf of the Program Manager for Soldier Weapons (PM SW), located at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., identified the carbine research effort, together with interest in “the associated production capacity of the small arms industrial base for both domestic and foreign weapon manufacturers for a potential carbine weapon system.”

With the caveat that interest is “not limited to 5.56mm NATO systems” but is limited to ammunition “that will meet International Convention standards,” the announcement requests information on available weapon types, performance improvements, and production capacity estimates.

In terms of weapon types, for example, the announcement calls for industry information on “Potential weapon models that your company has that can fulfill the role of a carbine for both mounted and dismounted soldiers; b) Physical parameters such as weight, length, and control features; and c) Descriptions of proposed weapon systems to include pictures, brochures, etc. that will convey the principles, as well as general and specific capabilities behind the submissions, as well as ease of operator maintenance and clearing of jams.”

Performance improvements data includes the categories of modularity, accuracy and dispersion in 100 meter increments out to maximum range of the proposed weapon, reliability and durability, and terminal performance on a variety of target types.

The announcement adds that “Any claimed weapon performance or terminal performance should be supported by either information on which certified test facility was used and when, or test operating procedures utilized if conducted in-house. Independent evaluations are also acceptable.”

Production capacity estimates are defined as minimum and maximum monthly production rates for potential carbine models, as well as lead times to achieve those rates. The production rates are further defined as those capability rates above current production / sales with the additional caveat that the estimate should consider a U.S.-based production facility by the third year of deliveries.

Interested offerors are required to submit the requested information by June 16, 2010.


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