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BREAKING: USMC Begins Process To Issue M27 IAR to Every Rifleman; Issues RFI To Industry - Soldier Systems Daily

Earlier today MARCORSYSCOM issued “Request for Information (RFI) M67854-17-I-1218 For Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM), Quantico, VA Infantry Automatic Rifle (IAR)”. They are very clear at this point that is solely an initiation of market research under Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 10 and is NOT a Request for Proposal (RFP). To be clear, issuing an RFI is a natural step in the acquisition process.

This action comes after a short duration experiment last Fall during which, an entire Marine Infantry Battalion was equipped with the IAR instead of their issue M4s. The experiment was obviously a success. At the time there was still no requirement but apparently, they’ve worked that out and lined up funding to make this happen.
As the RFI only calls for the production of an additional 11,000 rifles, this means that only additional select Infantrymen will be issued the M27. Conversely, the Marines purchased over 45,000 M4 carbines. When the M27 IAR was initially selected, the Marines had undertaken a study to determine what it would cost and how quickly the manufacturer H&K, could build the rifles in order to pure fleet the service. At the time, H&K did not have the production capacity to meet the Marine Corps’ fielding timeline so the plan was scrapped. This new move may very well be incremental in nature, with further fielding taking a longer timeline and encompassing a larger portion of the Marines.

The 5.56mm M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle is manufactured by Heckler & Koch. It is based on their HK416 carbine and was fielded to the Marines to supplant beltfed the M249 SAW in the Rifle Squad. This RFI will assuredly be used by SYSCOM to create a a sole-source “Justification and Approval” in order to purchase the rifles directly from manufacturer H&K without going for an open solicitation. While the RFI describes the M27’s salient characteristics to a “T”, what may throw a monkey wrench in this plan is if another manufacturer or two claim they can build the weapons as well with a model based on a 416 clone.

We will watch this procurement closely and keep you updated on its progress. Offerers have until March 17th at 3:00 PM to respond.
 

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I'll be damned.... Go Devil Dogs
 

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Some of my contacts on active duty say all riflemen & grenadiers get the M27 while SNCOs, officers, and other infantrymen (machine gunners, mortars etc) keep the M4
 

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I hope they get the Georgia plant tooled up quickly, so they can support this push by the Corps on the front end.
 

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Now that I've used my MR556 upper I have to say this is a great infantry rifle. I never liked the issued M16A2 when I was in - the DI action is just a bad idea on a infantry rifle, where you will be out in the field for weeks without a break. I've used a lot of piston AR and other rifles over the years and this HK solution is great. It's built like a tank and the ability to take out one big, hard to lose screw and remove the hanguard to get to the piston and gas block is a great solution perfect for an infantryman. Glad I bought this it's my new sport utility rifle! Semper Fi! Now replace all the M4s with Hk416s, and develop a new round that performs like a .260 or a 7mm08 and fits in the AR15 package.
 

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Now that I've used my MR556 upper I have to say this is a great infantry rifle. I never liked the issued M16A2 when I was in - the DI action is just a bad idea on a infantry rifle, where you will be out in the field for weeks without a break. I've used a lot of piston AR and other rifles over the years and this HK solution is great. It's built like a tank and the ability to take out one big, hard to lose screw and remove the hanguard to get to the piston and gas block is a great solution perfect for an infantryman. Glad I bought this it's my new sport utility rifle! Semper Fi! Now replace all the M4s with Hk416s, and develop a new round that performs like a .260 or a 7mm08 and fits in the AR15 package.
Consider yourself touched by the HK Gods.

It really is a great platform.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Posted yesterday on Kit Up.
Of special note are these sentences directly below. It could be a M27 made by someone other than HK (low bidder/best value) but they will have to perform. Many remember that HK was to many the surprise winner of the USMC IAR competition.

“It is the best infantry rifle in the world, hands down,” Chief Warrant Officer 5 Christian Wade, the gunner, or infantry weapons officer, for 2nd Marine Division said of the IAR in November. “Better than anything Russia has, it’s better than anything we have, it’s better than anything China has. It’s world-class.”

Manning said the timeline for contracting for and fielding the new infantry service rifles is difficult to estimate because of the variables involved and the possibility of competition.

“We’ll do some sort of testing and a downselect, and then as we finalize, we will actually put a request for proposal out on the street, letting industry know that we are actually going to buy these, we have the money and the finalized requirements for them to come back with an offer to to the Marine Corps,” he said."

“We’ll do some sort of testing and a downselect, and then as we finalize, we will actually put a request for proposal out on the street, letting industry know that we are actually going to buy these, we have the money and the finalized requirements for them to come back with an offer to to the Marine Corps,” he said."

Posted: 17 Feb 2017 11:50 AM PST


The Marine Corps is eyeing a purchase of 11,000 new infantry automatic rifles and their accessories as it moves closer to making the IAR the new service rifle for grunts.

The service published a detailed request for information earlier this week asking companies to signal their interest in producing a future IAR. The current IAR is the M27, based on the Heckler & Koch HK416.

Military.com broke the news in November that the Marine Corps’ experimental battalion, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, was testing out broader use of the M27 throughout the battalion as Marine leadership considered using it to replace the current infantry service rifle, the M4 carbine.

The service has been considering fielding the IAR more broadly within the infantry since it introduced the M27 to replace the M249 squad automatic weapon in 2010, Col. Michael Manning, program manager for Infantry Weapons Systems at Marine Corps Systems Command, told Military.com.

Still under consideration is how the weapon might be fielded. At roughly $3,000 apiece, the M27 is a pricier investment than the M4, which costs less than $1,000. Manning said officials are working to determine which jobs within the unit truly needed the enhanced firepower.

“Not every 03XX would get an M27,” he said, using the generic Marine Corps military occupational specialty code for infantry. “There are select billets that would not get it because we don’t believe, based on our requirements, that they need it. But that is something we’ll continue to work with the [infantry] advocate and Marine Corps leadership on what the final mix will be like in an infantry unit. Everything is on the table.”

The 11,000 figure, he said, represents an estimate of how many rifles the Corps needs to purchase to equip the infantry.

Even though the M27 is the current IAR, the request for information is competitive, due to contracting rules and practices. If the Marine Corps gets interest from other manufacturers who can meet existing IAR criteria and produce a rifle that works compatibly with the existing platform, Manning said Systems Command would complete testing and a downselect process to determine a winner.

Among the criteria: The system should accept all Defense Department 5.56mm ammunition, weigh less than 12.5 pounds, and be capable of a rate of fire of 36 rounds per minute.

Unlike the standard M4, the M27 has a fully automatic firing option. It also features a slightly longer effective range and a free-floating barrel design that contributes to accuracy.

“It is the best infantry rifle in the world, hands down,” Chief Warrant Officer 5 Christian Wade, the gunner, or infantry weapons officer, for 2nd Marine Division said of the IAR in November. “Better than anything Russia has, it’s better than anything we have, it’s better than anything China has. It’s world-class.”

Manning said the timeline for contracting for and fielding the new infantry service rifles is difficult to estimate because of the variables involved and the possibility of competition.

“We’ll do some sort of testing and a downselect, and then as we finalize, we will actually put a request for proposal out on the street, letting industry know that we are actually going to buy these, we have the money and the finalized requirements for them to come back with an offer to to the Marine Corps,” he said.

Responses to the Corps’ request for information are due March 17.
 

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Wouldn't there be patent issues with another company making a clone of the M27? Perhaps the USMC purchased the rights to the M27 itself?
 

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Wouldn't there be patent issues with another company making a clone of the M27? Perhaps the USMC purchased the rights to the M27 itself?
It's not a question of patent rights ABNAK.
The USMC will be req'd to "compete" it. Everyone who can make a rifle that can meet the USMC M27 Performance Specs (PS's) will have an opportunity to submit a proposal (price quote, tech proposal, delivery schedule, bid samples). The lowest cost proposal that meets all the PS's and the required delivery time (known as "Best Value") takes the cake. They will not ask for an "H&K416 M27 Variant" therefore no patent rights comes into play. This is how H&K did not win the follow on contract for the M320 GLM - they were underbid by a best value offer from a company (Capco) that never made a 40mm GL to my knowledge but meet the PS's and passed the Lot Acceptance and First Article Tests. It is well know that the Marines are well pleased with the HK M27, both in the IAR role but also as a DMR to which many of these 11K riles will be assigned. Whether HK can win this RFP will depend on many factors, those listed above and the "intangibles".
G3Kurz
 

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Comparing the RFI to the M27 spec sheet seems like almost a copy/paste job. I guess if they really want a specific gun but are required to offer a competition for it they can just make the requirements so stringent and particular that only one existing gun fits. And since the RFI response cutoff time is March 17th, they're shutting the door early enough that if a potential competitor doesn't already have a gun on market that fits the exact needs they're SOL.

It doesn't seem like FN or anyone else can just pretty up an existing M4 with an upgrade package to compete for this tender either.

 

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Comparing the RFI to the M27 spec sheet seems like almost a copy/paste job. I guess if they really want a specific gun but are required to offer a competition for it they can just make the requirements so stringent and particular that only one existing gun fits. And since the RFI response cutoff time is March 17th, they're shutting the door early enough that if a potential competitor doesn't already have a gun on market that fits the exact needs they're SOL.

It doesn't seem like FN or anyone else can just pretty up an existing M4 with an upgrade package to compete for this tender either.
Several companies competed for the original solicitation, it wouldn't take much to dust off them off and make some tweaks to compete again.

~Augee
 

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Haven't the armed forces (or HK for that matter) gotten the memo on quad rails and how unnecessary they are? Pretty much every recent HK submission has been porky.
 

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Several companies competed for the original solicitation, it wouldn't take much to dust off them off and make some tweaks to compete again.
This time around though it seems very specific to the M27 directly.

The weight spec rules out the Colt IAR offering with that heat sink idea they had, along with the Ultimax (which has failed so many times I wonder why they keep pushing it) and FN's SCAR IAR, and others probably since it's so tuned to the M27. The accuracy spec doesn't bode well for the open bolt options that were out there, which seems to cover a good chunk of the competition, never mind the reliability/safety specs when it comes to open bolt function. The SCAR also has issues with accessories interfering with the reciprocating charging handle, and many don't have the rate of fire to compete either. Overall I don't believe there's any existing competition that ticks all the boxes and the window is IMO too short for an option to come to fruition complete with the "highly encouraged" test data and manufacturing capability that's required.
 

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Haven't the armed forces (or HK for that matter) gotten the memo on quad rails and how unnecessary they are? Pretty much every recent HK submission has been porky.
The quad rail is still the best option for a gun issued out to soldiers/marines from an armory. Remember, unless deployed, troops don't keep their specific gun with them for the most part, there are exceptions. with a quad rail, all the guns are the same, and capable of the same (regarding accessory mounting) at the time they are issued out.
 

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Comparing the RFI to the M27 spec sheet seems like almost a copy/paste job. I guess if they really want a specific gun but are required to offer a competition for it they can just make the requirements so stringent and particular that only one existing gun fits. And since the RFI response cutoff time is March 17th, they're shutting the door early enough that if a potential competitor doesn't already have a gun on market that fits the exact needs they're SOL.

It doesn't seem like FN or anyone else can just pretty up an existing M4 with an upgrade package to compete for this tender either.

That is normally how one "specs out" other competitors. HK's best chance of the competition not making the grade is still the Sustained Fire spec which in great part got them selected for the first contract award. 36 rounds per minute does not sound like a lot but over 16 minutes without a break in can be problematic for anyone with average barrel technology. The HK416 exceeded that spec (to 50+ rds per minute). Accuracy retention also over 15K+ rounds can be difficult for some. M27 IAR's have fired 20K+ rounds and still fired under 1MOA groups with SOST ammo. Reliability has been a hallmark of the HK416/IAR so that is a plus. Having said all this there are other competitors that can do this (maybe), like FN that won the technical tests in the French Army trials over the HK416. One also wonders if the M855A1 EPR round will be introduced into the tests - The Marines are being pressured by the Army to adopt that flawed round. That would make a big difference in SFR, accuracy and reliability testing, and parts service life for that matter.

As for the 4 quad rail, shame the Marines did not spec the M-LOK rail - they could save 1+ lb on the weight of the weapon in the important front end but then one wonders how much the quad rail brings to the party in regards to the sustained fire rate/heat sink factor. Would be an interesting comparison test.

This will be an interesting one to watch.

G3Kurz
 

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So the SCAR did beat out the HK416 in terms of technical performance?

I wonder how the new HK433 compares to the SCAR.
The most likely scenario is that the HK M27 suited the USMC's needs best. The SCAR IAR is an extensively modified weapon. It switches from firing from closed bolt to open bolt automatically when the gun becomes too hot. I think that FN just went too far over the specified the USMC's requirements and got too expensive. Remember: Not the best item wins the competition but the cheapest item that fulfills the requirments.
 
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