Mr. Curtis over at Gear Scout broke the news that Remington will be manufacturing M4 Carbines for the US Army.
According to the Department of the Army’s Chief of Legislative Liaison, the Army today executed a delivery order on an existing contract to buy 24,000 M4/M4A1s worth $16,163,252.07. The order comes as line 001 on an IDIQ contract for up to 120,000 carbines worth $83,924,089.00, though U.S. Army Contracting Command lists the “Max Potential Contract Value $180,000,000.00.” The rifles will be made at Remington’s factory in Ilion, N.Y., from the Colt technical data package and, by my math, will cost about $673 a copy. That’s a hell of a group buy price.
This comes as no surprise. In 2009 the US Army took control of the M4 TDP (Technical Data Package), allowing the Army to second source production. The DoD likes to spread production around in order to maintain a “manufacturing and industrial base”.
Colt will still receive royalties from the DoD for any guns derived from the M16 until 2050! I doubt anybody at the time thought the M16 would still be in service today, nearly 50 years later (the previous service rifle, the M14, only lasted 11 years).
It is a bit of an exaggeration to say the Army has control of the TDP. As of July 1, the Army merely gained limited license rights to use the M4 TDP to second source production, as an extension of the 1967 licensing agreement for the M16. Until the end of calender year 2050, the Army will have to pay 5% in royalties to Colt for every M4 procured from second sources. The TDP will remain Colt proprietary data, and any second source M4 contractor will no doubt be required to sign non-disclosure agreements
just as they do for the M16.
This is not the end of Colt’s current .mil contract for the M4. The current contract allows new delivery orders to be placed to the end of calender year 2010. As it now stands, the current delivery orders stretch production out to Spring 2011.
[ Many thanks everyone who sent this in. ]