A recent competition hosted in part by the U.S. Army and designed to test core tank crew skills saw European crews take the top honors, while crews from the U.S. Army failed to place. The results raise the question of whether the Army—after more than a decade of focusing on guerrilla warfare—has devoted adequate training to address “big war” skills.
Held from May 10 to 12 and jointly hosted by the U.S. Army and the German Bundeswehr at the Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany, the the Strong Europe Tank Challenge included challengers from six NATO countries: Denmark, Germany, Italy, Poland, and Slovenia—which sent tank platoons of four tanks each to compete— and the United States, which sent two platoons.
The competition involved tank crews conducting both offensive and defensive operations, and both mounted and dismounted activities. Crews fired ten main gun rounds from various positions. In one event, crews had to correctly identify 25 friendly and unfriendly (read: Russian) vehicles while traveling a course. Other events involved operating in the aftermath of a chemical weapons attack, dealing with improvised explosive devices, and medical emergencies.
A German tank crew from Mountain Panzer Battalion 7, Panzer Brigade 12 took top honors, followed by a Danish crew from their country’s 1st Tank Battalion in second. Third place went to a Polish crew from the 34th Armored Cavalry brigade. It’s unknown where the American crews placed, only that they weren’t in the top three.
The service on Friday announced that it awarded a contract to Heckler & Koch to supply a precision rifle to replace the M110 made by Knight’s Armament.
The Army wanted to acquire a shorter, lighter, more accurate, more ergonomic and more reliable gun for marksmen, according to Program Executive Office Soldier’s product portfolio. The new Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System should be easier to carry and use in close quarters than the M110 without sacrificing performance or accuracy, PEO said.
The FedBizOpps.gov award notice said H&K will produce a maximum of 3,643 rifles over 24 months, as well as spare parts and depot support, at a max contract value of $44.5 million. There’s a minimum purchase of 30 rifles for quality assurance testing.
The Army did not immediately respond to requests for comment, nor did Heckler & Koch. It is unclear from the FedBizOpps posting which model rifle won the contract, and whether it’s a commercially available gun, modification of one, or a new weapon.
The gunmaker’s website lists two precision rifles, one of which fits the Army’s desire for a rifle smaller than the M110: the G28. The gas-operated rifle fires the same 7.62mm ammunition (NATO standard) as the M110. Heckler & Koch lists a minimum length of 96.5 cm (about 38 inches) and weight of 5.8 kg (12.7 lbs). That makes it nearly 6 cm (2.5 inches) shorter and 1.3 kg (3 lbs) lighter than the M110 (unloaded and without a suppressor).
A Knight’s Armament spokesman said the company had no comment at this time.
It’s shorter but it doesn’t sacrifice accuracy. Hmmm … or so says the Army. What model? Who knows, except the Army. Available to whom? Probably no one, except the Army. Test results to be made public? Eh, probably not, nothing said about that. No comments from the Army, no comments from H&K, no comments from Knight’s Armament. Except this from the always ubiquitous H&K marketing department.
At HK, we stuck a piston on an AR15, just like a bunch of other companies have done, dating back to about 1969. However ours is better, because we refuse to sell it to civilians. Because you suck, and we hate you.
Our XM8 is the greatest rifle ever developed. It may melt, and it doesn’t fit any accessories known to man, but that is your fault. If you were a real operator, you would love it. Once again, look at Rainbow Six, that G36 sure is cool isn’t it? Yeah, you know you want one.And by the way, check out our new HK45. We decided that humans don’t need to release the magazine with their thumbs. If you were a really manly teutonic operator, you would be able to reach the controls. Plus we’ve fired 100,000,000 rounds through one with zero malfunctions, and that was while it was buried in a lake of molten lava, on the moon. If you don’t believe us, it is because you aren’t a real operator.
By the way, our cheap, mass-produced, stamped sheet metal guns like the G3 and MP5 are the bestest things ever, and totally worth asinine scalpers prices, but note that cheap, mass-produced, stamped sheet metal guns from other countries are commie garbage. Not that it matters, because you’re civilians, so we won’t sell them to you anyway. Because you suck, and we hate you, but we know you’ll be back. We can beat you down like a trailer park wife, but you’ll come back, you always do.
Buy our stuff.
HK Marketing Department. Because you suck. And we hate you.
Since 2002, military police, like many specialties across the Army, had to adapt to serve the mission on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Investigations and community relations took a backseat to foot patrols and base security. The wide-range of abilities military police are capable of narrowed so they could face the challenges at hand.
Soldiers and Airmen from Joint Base Lewis-McChord had an opportunity to get back to basics during civil disturbance training on the installation Jan. 25 to Feb. 4 to face those shifting challenges.
“Our MPs could be called out on a variety of situations,” said Sgt. 1st Class Steven Ketchum, an instructor with the 14th Military Police Brigade, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. “National Guard MPs got called out in Ferguson (Missouri) and during other civil disturbances. Units don’t train civil-stability operations as much as they could.”
The Missouri National Guard mobilized 2,200 Guardsmen to keep the peace during rioting in Ferguson in the fall of 2014. Likewise, 3,000 Guardsmen were mobilized to assist Baltimore police last spring.
[ … ]
For a long time, Soldiers were trained to see the battlefield in stark terms — friendlies and enemies. Recent civil disturbances have exposed the limitations of that philosophy.
While preparing for Ferguson, National Guard briefings referred to citizens on the ground as “enemy forces” and “adversaries.” The Missouri National Guard corrected course, but they struggled to overcome the perception of being hostile occupiers as opposed to peacekeepers.
“We are helping to keep everyone safe, whether they’re rioting or not,” Loxsom said.
MPs learned many lessons from deployments around the world. Staying strong in the face of adversity, operating in difficult environments, and remaining flexible to meet the mission are hard-won traits that have become part of their DNA.
As the Army’s focus adapts to a changing security environment, MPs are changing with it. They are finding their future by getting back to basics.
Be sure to hear the nuance in the article. “Enemy forces.” Not good. Need better PR. Call them “everyone,” and tell them you want what’s good for them. Call us “peacekeepers.” The “future” of Army MPs is getting back to the “basics,” by which they mean stability operations. Not breaking up fights between drunken Soldiers, but stability on the streets of America.
The Army granted a West Point-educated officer a rare religious accommodation that will allow him to wear a beard and turban, requirements of his Sikh faith.
Capt. Simratpal Singh, 27, was granted the appearance waiver last week that will allow him to grow his beard and hair and wear a turban through at least Jan. 8, Debra S. Wada, the assistant secretary of the Army for manpower and reserve affairs, wrote in a Dec. 9 letter. Singh is the fourth Sikh soldier in recent years to be granted such uniform exemptions.
Not to be outdone, the Marine Corps caved on females in combat after the pathetic Ashton Carter made it clear that the conclusion was done before the studies and bitching was ever started, and Commandant Robert Neller joined the chorus.
The top officer of the Marine Corps sent an unequivocal message to troops: It’s time to get behind the mandate to integrate women into combat units.
Gen. Robert Neller released a sternly worded video late Friday, a day after Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that all military jobs — including infantry and special forces positions — would be open to female troops by the start of next year.
The commandant tried to feign toughness when he said they are in danger of becoming Gucci gear people.
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller is proving to be quite the quotable general.
His way with words was on display last week at the I/ITSEC (Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference) in Orlando, Florida, when he reportedly said, “We’ve allowed ourselves to become Gucci gear people.”
That was his way of saying that military gear has become overly complicated, according to Jen Judson, a reporter for Defense News who attended the show.
Blah, blah, blah, yawn, blah, blah blah. Yea, that’s the problem and that’s the answer. Gear. And take it away and make them use second rate gear. Good grief. I’m unimpressed.
This ain’t your grandfather’s or father’s army or marines. They’re a shell of what they once were, and destined to become worse. And the Air Force is focused on how to stop their football team from praying before games. If you had as your intent to destroy the armed forces of the U.S., what would you have done any differently?
The drill Sergeant and his discipline has no place any more.
Surveys find that men in U.S. special operations forces do not believe women can meet the physical and mental demands of their commando jobs, and they fear the Pentagon will lower standards to integrate women into their elite units, according to interviews and documents.
Studies that surveyed personnel found “major misconceptions” within special operations about whether women should be brought into the male-only jobs. They also revealed concerns that department leaders would “capitulate to political pressure, allowing erosion of training standards,” according to one document.
Some of those concerns were not limited to men, researchers found, but were found among women in special operations jobs.
Dan Bland, force management director for U.S. Special Operations Command, said the survey results have “already driven us to do some different things in terms of educating the force.”
Well, there you go. If the force believes that women can’t do the job, the only recourse is to educate them differently, because surely, surely, surely they must be wrong. Otherwise the advocates of gender homogeneity would be wrong, and that couldn’t be the case because command says so because the administration and God-hating, elitist, Marxist liberal arts colleges around the nation say so.
Dan Bland responded the way he did because he has lost his soul and joined the dark side.
The Army on Wednesday formally pushed back release of a final solicitation to produce its new handgun.
Originally projected for a Jan. 2 release, the Army decided to delay the Request for Proposals beyond January “to allow for improvements to the RFP as a result of feedback received from Industry,” according to a notice posted on the government solicitation website FedBizOpps.
No date for future action was proposed, other than to say it would not occur in January. Despite the delay, the notice also reiterated commitment to the pending competition to produce the Modular Handgun System, which will include ammo and a holster as well as a pistol.
“The Army remains committed to the MHS program and ensuring that it is executed using full and open competition,” the notice said.
Uh oh. What political machinations underlie this delay? Is Smith & Wesson not the frontrunner as they thought? To all firearms manufacturers – the military is a fickle mistress. She will break your heart.
As for polymer frame pistols, I won’t buy any more. I like the balance and slender (single stack) profile of the 1911 too much (here we all pause in respect to John Moses Browning). Furthermore, when I think about my plastic pistols I think about machines, utilitarian pieces of equipment that rattle too much and have that crappy, cheap feel but usually perform their intended function.
When I think about 1911s I think about works of art. Even more than 1911s, revolvers (finely made) are works of art, pieces of craftsmanship, something I would be proud to turn over to my children as a heritage. I’ve searched in vain, but I cannot find a picture of anyone actually carrying a wheel gun in either the Iraq or Afghanistan theaters. Kudos to anyone who can find such a treasure. Please send it our way.
And if you carried a revolver in any theater of war, you are a man among men. I want to know you.
The Army has cancelled their competition to see which firearm will replace the Colt M4 series of rifles. The Army has said that it was cancelled because all of the rifles failed the reliability standard of 3,592 mean rounds without malfunctioning.
After correction of the ammunition and other problems associated with the M-16 as it was initially deployed in Vietnam, this series of rifles has been effective and reliable. To be sure, there are still detractors, the most recent problems concerning overheating of the barrel and failures associated with discharging a high number of rounds in a short time frame.
During the Battle of Wanat several M4’s had failures to feed (or failures to eject). But the real problem with this battle wasn’t that several rifles experienced failures. It was that the unit was placed in such a far-flung outpost without force protection or adequate troops to establish security and effect their mission. No rifle can ameliorate bad strategy, and our war fought by the social planners and COIN experts was bad strategy.
Afghanistan has been called the war of the infantry half kilometer, as it involved longer distances than the urban warfare and CQB in Iraq. Bob Owens mentions the cancellation of the carbine competition, and then launches into advocacy for a larger caliber, specifically the 6.5 Grendel. This is old hat for Bob, as he has been advocating for a while now that the Army replace the 5.56 mm round, but continue to use the AR-15 platform.
But it should be remembered that with proper training, the AR-15 platform and 5.56 mm round are effective at long distances. My son Daniel, a former Marine, routinely scored at the top of his Battalion, and they all had to qualify at 500 yards (using iron sights). Travis Haley reminds us all how effective this gun and round can be.
Haley was shooting 5.56 mm ammunition from a Bushmaster (specifications can be found here, here and here – Haley was using a 20″ barrel, which is the major difference between the rifle he was using and the M4). The comments to the video indicate that the targets may have been closer than 800 meters (perhaps 600 meters), but this is far enough away to need high powered glass.
Even though the 5.56 yaws in flight (even with boat tail ammunition), it is a highly effective long distance round, while also being ideal for CQB (albeit designated marksmen and snipers may choose to carry different weapons and different calibers). But Colt lost the contract to supply the M4, and sometimes manufacturers become complacent after so many years of sole sourcing. In fact, my biggest problem with the competition isn’t that it’s over. Rather, it’s that the best never participated.
And the winner of the U.S. Army competition to replace the M4 carbine is … the Army’s new and improved M4 carbine.
At least that’s the outcome gun makers attending Shot Show 2012 predict for the completion of the service’s improved carbine competition.
The Army is nearing the end of the first phase of the competition, now referred to as the IC. The service will soon announce which companies can advance to the second phase, when Army testers will start shooting hundreds of thousands of rounds through the prototype weapons.
Phase one has had nothing to do with evaluating test prototypes, but instead has focused on weeding out companies that may not have the production capacity to make thousands of weapons per month. This has become a bitter point of contention that has driven away some companies with credible names in the gun business.
“I’m not going to dump half a million to a million dollars for them never to review my rifle,” said Steve Mayer of Rock River Arms, standing amid his racks of M4-style carbines at Shot Show, the massive small-arms show here that draws gun makers from all over the world.
I have no dog in Bob’s fight over caliber, but my opinion is that the current platform and caliber are fine. What’s needed is better training (even if not everyone can be Travis Haley), drills on shooting uphill (for those Marines and Soldiers who will deploy to terrain similar to what we saw in N2K), and lack of politics so that our men can get the best and most reliable rifles in their hands. I have one. It’s not so much to ask that Soldiers and Marines have them too.
If the Army chooses some other system than direct impingement, then so be it. But it should be remembered that for everything you gain, you loose something. I’ve held rifles that cycle ammunition from piston drive, and the front end is heavy. It would affect CQB, and my son doesn’t even like the weight added from the quad rail on the front end of mine if it is used for CQB (my rifle is DI, not piston).
In the end, nothing can do everything, and the genius of Eugene Stoner is still with us today.
The commander of U.S. special operations said Tuesday he expects to see women in the elite commando forces now that the Pentagon is allowing them to serve in combat.
Adm. William McRaven, head of the US special operations command, said he was “fully supportive” of the decision to lift the ban on women in combat.
I’ll tell you what. Obama has himself some lackeys doesn’t he? Adm. McRaven is remarkable. But no more so than the current Commandant of the Marine Corps.
In his first interview since the Pentagon opened ground combat jobs to women, the commandant of the Marine Corps said some occupations may ultimately remain closed if only a small number qualify.
The Marines will not lower physical standards for certain specialties, Gen. James Amos told USA TODAY. “We can’t afford to lower standards,” he said. “We can’t make adjustments on what’s required on the battlefield.
“That’s not why America has a Marine Corps,” he said.
Sounds like he isn’t so much of a lackey, huh? But wait.
The Pentagon last week ordered that the services provide the opportunity for women to enter all fields, including infantry, tanks, artillery and other combat arms.
The entire process could take years as the services develop and validate “gender neutral” standards. The secretary of Defense would have to approve any fields that remain closed to women.
“If the numbers are so small with regards to qualification, then there very may well be (job fields) that remain closed,” Amos said. “Those will be few and far between.”
Deploying only one or two female servicemembers in a unit, for example, would make it difficult for the women to succeed. “You want to have assimilation … so our females can mentor one another,” Amos said.
“Difficult for women to succeed.” We wouldn’t want that. After all, that’s what the military is there for – to allow women to succeed.
America has been creeping closer and closer to allowing women in combat, so Wednesday’s news that the decision has now been made is not a surprise. It appears that female soldiers will be allowed on the battlefield but not in the infantry. Yet it is a distinction without much difference: Infantry units serve side-by-side in combat with artillery, engineers, drivers, medics and others who will likely now include women. The Pentagon would do well to consider realities of life in combat as it pushes to mix men and women on the battlefield.
Many articles have been written regarding the relative strength of women and the possible effects on morale of introducing women into all-male units. Less attention has been paid to another aspect: the absolutely dreadful conditions under which grunts live during war.
Most people seem to believe that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have merely involved driving out of a forward operating base, patrolling the streets, maybe getting in a quick firefight, and then returning to the forward operating base and its separate shower facilities and chow hall. The reality of modern infantry combat, at least the portion I saw, bore little resemblance to this sanitized view.I served in the 2003 invasion of Iraq as a Marine infantry squad leader. We rode into war crammed in the back of amphibious assault vehicles. They are designed to hold roughly 15 Marines snugly; due to maintenance issues, by the end of the invasion we had as many as 25 men stuffed into the back. Marines were forced to sit, in full gear, on each other’s laps and in contorted positions for hours on end. That was the least of our problems.
The invasion was a blitzkrieg. The goal was to move as fast to Baghdad as possible. The column would not stop for a lance corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, or even a company commander to go to the restroom. Sometimes we spent over 48 hours on the move without exiting the vehicles. We were forced to urinate in empty water bottles inches from our comrades.
Many Marines developed dysentery from the complete lack of sanitary conditions. When an uncontrollable urge hit a Marine, he would be forced to stand, as best he could, hold an MRE bag up to his rear, and defecate inches from his seated comrade’s face.
During the invasion, we wore chemical protective suits because of the fear of chemical or biological weapon attack. These are equivalent to a ski jumpsuit and hold in the heat. We also had to wear black rubber boots over our desert boots. On the occasions the column did stop, we would quickly peel off our rubber boots, desert boots and socks to let our feet air out.
Due to the heat and sweat, layers of our skin would peel off our feet. However, we rarely had time to remove our suits or perform even the most basic hygiene. We quickly developed sores on our bodies.
When we did reach Baghdad, we were in shambles. We had not showered in well over a month and our chemical protective suits were covered in a mixture of filth and dried blood. We were told to strip and place our suits in pits to be burned immediately. My unit stood there in a walled-in compound in Baghdad, naked, sores dotted all over our bodies, feet peeling, watching our suits burn. Later, they lined us up naked and washed us off with pressure washers.
And what sensible women wouldn’t want something like that? So that women can experience the ultimate thrill of being shot at, going a month without a bath, getting their limbs blown off, and defecating near the faces of their colleagues, the evisceration of the U.S. military continues unabated so that the social engineers can have a legacy.
Long-time suppliers tend to lose control over QA. I don’t know if this has affected Colt’s proposals for the new M4s, but I do know that even though my former Marine son, Daniel, was a SAW gunner, of course he had to shoot and qualify on the M16 and M4. After shooting my Rock River Arms rifle, he was very impressed at its quality. I believe he had some complaints about the rifles with which he qualified.
Colt recently filed another complaint with the Government Accountability Office in further attempts to block competing vendors from supplying the US Army with new rifles. They do not want to lose their position as the primary M4 supplier to the Army, and they’re pulling out all the stops to prevent being undercut by the competition.
Shortly after signing Remington to the US Army’s $84 million M4 contract, Colt filed a complaint with the GAO, claiming that the contract did not properly calculate the royalties owed to Colt for each rifle. The GAO agreed, and the Army re-opened the bidding for the contract to supply them with much-needed M4A1 carbines.
Vendors will continue on with the current bidding schedule, and hopefully get back on track to supplying the military with the M4A1s they need to replace their aging M4s and M16s still in service starting in 2013. In order to keep things fair, all vendors have had to make their first bids public, acknowledging the fact that Remington’s bid was revealed by the GAO inquiry.
The plan to roll out new rifles dates back to 2008 when the Army started looking into ways to improve or possibly replace the M4. That could have been Colt’s intent all along, in order to be able to come in for less than all of the competing vendors.
The M4 Product Improvement Plan eventually settled on updating the M4A1 and fielding it to all troops. Although the M4A1 is more than a few years old it’s also extremely well-established in the military, and replacing existing rifles with it means no additional training requirements nor any teething issues rolling out a new main infantry small arm. Also, it’s very cost-effective. The cost per rifle Remington originally contracted for was just $673.
[ … ]
The main advantage of the M4A1 is that it fires in full-auto rather than in a three-round burst. On AR-type firearms, the way the three-round burst mode works is with a ratchet that, on ever third shot, engages with the disconnector halting continued fire. This effectively gives the trigger two different pulls, one when the disconnector is in the stop notch and one when it isn’t. Even though a mil-spec trigger isn’t the best in the world, it’s still better than two different mil-spec trigger pulls.
Absurd. The Marines are dumping the M249 in favor of the ridiculous IAR, about which my son said this.
This is sad. The reason we went with the SAW was because the BAR and its associated concept were inadequate. At times in combat in Iraq, we had all nine SAW gunners firing during engagements, and I’m glad that we did. We needed the fire power. In the thousands of rounds I put down range stateside and Iraq, I never had a single problem … never … had … a … single … problem, with my SAW. I kept it clean. This change to the IAR is a testimony to laziness. What do Marines want to do – take someone out on a date? What else do they have to do when they’re deployed? What’s the problem with cleaning weapons? Mine worked because I maintained it right. All this has done is make the Marines weaker. It may be that this IAR could be used for select circumstances like room clearing, but the death of the SAW will bring nothing good.
So we’re dumping our only true stand-off area suppression fire system for the fire team and squad, adding full auto machine guns back to the fire team, and essentially returning to the days of Vietnam where everyone has a machine gun, the fire team is homogenous and the members don’t have different functions, and they waste ammunition. Great.
And the complaint that Colt filed? It rested on this charge.
The issue? Colt has a five percent royalty agreement with the Army for its rights to the M-4 rifle model. A royalty is a payment to the owner of the “intellectual property,” White said.
Colt argued in May its royalty wasn’t factored into the other manufacturers’ total prices and questioned the Army’s assessment of Remington’s past performance and production capability, according to a July decision issued by the Government Accountability Office.
While the decision dismissed the challenge of the assessment to Remington’s past performance and production capability, it was agreed the instructions on how the royalty was determined were not clear because the Army didn’t notify Colt or the competing manufacturers the royalty would be subject only to parts of the product.
And so Colt protested again in August, arguing this was inconsistent with the agreement, but in mid-November that was dismissed, and the accountability office determined it would not resolve a dispute involving the specifics of the agreement.
This is something that must be settled between the Army and Colt.
Seriously? Royalty? To Colt? For the M4 design? Seriously? How about this. Ditch royalties to Colt, find the surviving members of the Eugene Stoner family, and give the money to them. Eugene Stoner was a genius. Colt is being a bunch of snots. And if the Army isn’t getting a Rock River Arms rifle, they aren’t getting the best. Sorry. Story over.