Whether it's because of the threat of war in the Middle East or maybe due to modernization efforts via the Pentagon, a new report from Defense Blog indicates that the U.S. Army Contracting Command is requesting two, 5-year fixed contracts for M16A4 assault rifles.
Defense Blog initially found the announcement posted on FedBizOpps, the U.S. government's main contracting website, dated Sept. 27, is asking private industry to fulfill two orders for assault rifles. Each order will include anywhere from 12 to 215,000 standard configuration M16A4 with backup iron sight and adapter rail system.
Selected vendors will be required to sign a license agreement with Colt's Manufacturing Company, LLC. and the U.S. Government before manufacturing begins. Vendors will also be asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement to receive technical data on how to manufacture the M16A4.
The US Marine Corps first adopted the M16A4 assault rifle in 1998. It was the standard-issued weapon of the USMC until 2015, replaced with the M4 carbine ever since.
The M16A4 has been widely exported to U.S. allies, such as Thailand, Tunisia, and Turkey.
The weapon is a gas-operated rifle and chambers a standard NATO 5.56x45 round. It has an effective range of 550 meters.
The weapon isn't fully automatic, has a fire mode selector that the operator can switch to "safe," "semi-auto," and "3-round burst".
It's unclear if the M16A4s are intended for U.S. service members, or will be sold to allies.
Last month, we reported that the Army is closer to deploying a new service weapon that could soon replace the M16, M4, and M249 light machine gun sometime in the early 2020s.
The Army announced in August that it selected three defense companies to deliver prototype weapons for the Next Generation Squad Weapons (NGSW) program. The new weapons must be lighter and able to penetrate the world's most advanced body armor from at least 600 meters away, defense insiders say.
The Army will test AAI/Textron, G.D., and Sig Sauer assault rifles in a 27-month test. The Army is expected to wrap up the test in 1H22 when it's supposed to announce the winning design. By 2H22, the Army could start fielding the new weapons to combat units.
For those that missed the reveal months ago, here's AAI's (@Textron subsidiary) prototypes for the #USArmy's NGSW program. The first pic is the offer for the NGSW-R segment (M4 rifle replacement), the 2nd pic shows the two NGSW-AR prototypes (M249 SAW replacement), both in 6.8mm. pic.twitter.com/SsUIhCgeku— Parthu Potluri (@Parthu_Potluri) June 18, 2019
And with that being said, the new M16A4s are likely for export to allies rather than U.S. service members.