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30 Nov 17. US Army cancels short-term rifle replacement program. A short-lived program to find an interim replacement for the M4/M16 rifle for front line soldiers is officially dead. The Army’s Interim Combat Service Rifle program’s funds have been reallocated to its longer-term goal to create the Next Generation Squad Weapon, according to an Army posting on the federal business opportunities website this week.
“The NGSW will be a long term solution to meet the identified capability gap instead of the ICSR, which was an interim solution,” according to the website post.
The program, launched in August, originally sought up to 50,000 commercially available, 7.62mm rifles to bridge the reported small arms overmatch and new 5.56mm-resistant body armor being fielded by adversaries. Army Times and other media outlets reported that the program had been canceled in September, but Brig. Gen. Brian Cummings, head of Program Executive Office Soldier, told Military.com at the time that “the decision has not been made” to cancel the program.
The rifles were not intended to replace the entire rifle inventory but instead would have been fielded to front line, rapid response soldiers most likely to face combat in the near term.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and developers at the Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence have called the Next Generation Squad Weapon an “evolution” in small arms that will apply new fire control systems, design changes, and likely a new caliber of ammunition in an intermediate range between 5.56mm and 7.62mm.
Cummings told Army Times in October that the new weapon could be fielded as early as 2022, with additional enhancements, specifically in fire control, added by 2025. (Source: Army Times)
30 Nov 17. As Tomahawk production ends, Raytheon targets upgrades. With the Tomahawk cruise missile production run scheduled to end in the coming year, Raytheon is looking to improve the missile and control systems to make the weapon relevant and attractive for US Navy (USN) and other potential customers through the next decade, Chris Sprinkle, the company’s senior manager for the missile programme, told Jane’s. The proposed improvements include upgrades that already exist as a programme of record – such as a new multimode seeker incorporated in the Tomahawk Block 4 now in production – as well as a software-designed weapons control system for surface ships similar to the one used on USN submarines, Sprinkle said. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
30 Nov 17. France’s defence procurement agency, the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA), has accepted the delivery to the French Armed Forces of the first batch of 50 missiles and 20 firing posts from the new MMP system. The deliveries were conducted between 15 and 23 November. The new system will gradually replace the Milan, the HOT missiles mounted on VAB Armoured Fighting Vehicles and the ERYX for some of these missiles. It will be issued to French Army infantry and cavalry units, and to Special Forces of the Army, Navy and Air Force. The MMP programme will see the delivery of 400 firing posts and 1,750 missiles across all of the French Armed Forces by 2025. The first deliveries will be used to train future users. The weapon system will be deployed in operations in the course of 2018.
The DGA, which awarded MBDA the MMP contract in 2013, qualified the system last July, clearing the way for serial production. The government-run techno-operational trials at the DGA’s test centre in Bourges from August to October 2017, with the assistance of operational experts from the Section Technique de l’Armée de Terre (STAT), underlined the excellent performances of the system and confirmed that it met the requirement of the armed forces.
Thanks to input from army experts since the early stages of development and through to qualificatio