USMC Rifles, IARs, to Get More Integrated: Australian Company Kord Defense Wins Development Contract for Rifle Accessory Control Unit

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Australian technology company Kord Defense has been awarded an 18-month, $2.25 million United States Marine Corps developmental contract for development and production of a Rifle Accessory Control Unit (RACU), which would attach to existing M4 Carbines and M27 IARs and allow control the rifle’s accessories from one grip. ZDNet reports:

Australian defence technology company Kord Defence has been awarded a $2.25 million contract by the United States Marine Corps, Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne announced on Wednesday.

The 18-month contract is for the design, programming, production, and trial of a Rifle Accessory Control Unit (RACU), which will be fitted onto the M27 and M4 rifles, as well as the infantry assault weapons used by US marines.

The RACU will allow marines to control all electronic devices from one location without detracting their attention from the target in the field.

“This contract reflects the innovative technologies emerging from Australian defence industry being embedded into partner countries,” Pyne said. “We are seeing increased attention on what Australia has to offer.”

As part of the contract, up to four staff members — including two engineers — will be employed under the United States Foreign Comparative Testing (FCT) program.

The Rifle Accessory Control Unit would likely be related to Kord Defence’s previous SmartGrip accessory, which attaches to a Picatinny rail and allows control of all the rifle’s electronic accessories from one grip location. It is, however, also fairly bulky, and adds an addition 7 ounces to the rifle’s weight. Likely, reduced weight and bulk will be goals of the new RACU program.

The infantryman’s rifle is a tool that must be simple, yet effective. It is his first defense as well as his last resort, and it must accordingly be simple, foolproof, and easy to use. However, modern performance-enhancing additions to the rifle have made it a substantially more complex weapon today than even those weapons carried into battle 20 years ago. These attachments – lights, lasers optics, etc – all serve some important battlefield purpose, which makes discarding them not an option for simplifying the infantryman’s fighting weapon.

Integration, then, is the¬†alternative: Rethinking the human interfaces of the rifle’s accessories as part of a whole to better enable the infantryman to fully utilize them to complete his mission. That’s the theory, anyway.





Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Hopefully they figure out a more streamlined way to mount it, because that looks like a poor way to grip a rifle.

    • LCON

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7c0a36616a0f054a2d74e2c94a246feff44f0693228acd2f938dac37f887b161.jpg
      Would probably look like this
      I think the reason it looks the way it does in the above photo more has to do with the Rail system on the ARX 160.

      • Joshua

        I’ll take grip that deduces shootability and recoil control for $1,000.

        • valorius

          Brilliant, isn’t it?

      • Ed C

        That certainly looks far more comfortable and ergonomic than the above picture but wouldn’t it make a bit more sense to perhaps integrate the RACU into the rail system itself(unless that that’s still beyond our technological grasp). It wouldn’t look as clunky as adding a big plastic block underneath the rifle and I would think it would weight less. Of course, I could be wrong.

        • Joshua

          Or just use a dual tape switch.

  • EC

    Probably not as neat as attaching an actual Kord under each M27.

    Then again if we gave our soldiers real machineguns, why would they need an M27? ūüėõ

    • noob

      The thing that can’t be overemphasized is that the kord is like a guitar – you press buttons in combination like a chord.

      That means you have 5 buttons but 2^5 possible commands.

      To try a chording keyboard try the GKOS online tester website. I used the GKOS chording keyboard app for android and it is faster than swype.

      You could send text messages without talking if there was a sixth button for a “shift” key.

  • Don Ward

    Clearly the sign of more government waste when we already have a company producing Gunticles which can be designed to do the same thing!

  • Major Tom

    So yet another toy for LCpl Smuckatelli to lose or break. Whee.

    • Brett

      Another very EXPENSIVE toy to lose or break….or try to eat.

  • CommonSense23

    I’m still trying to figure out who is driving this mall ninja idea of intergrating everything.

    • dsn

      I think the same.

    • jono102

      Most likely by someone who want a job once they get out of the service.
      A soldier will need to look down at his rifle anyway as he attempts to “Crack the Safe” pushing what ever combination of buttons required to activate different ancillary kit.
      If this is also for integration with comm’s I hate to think how many guys will be “Hot Mike’ing” on the net when they are trying to activate their torch or laser.

  • Gary Kirk

    K, so a VFG withering 4 push momentary, click constant pads.. With ports for existing control cables..

    Problem solved..

    • CommonSense23

      While definitely cheaper and more effective what problem exactly are we trying to solve again? About the only two things you should be needing to turn on and off quickly is your laser/flood and a flashlight. Which both can easily be set up so you don’t have to even break your grip with today’s accessories.

      • snmp

        You need to add Day night Thermal sight, telemeter, network camera, sensor => Warfare and Digitization

    • Stan Darsh

      Give this man his $2.25 Million NOW!

  • FWIW: Wilcox Industries has had its Universal Control Grip on the market and in the field with certain SMU for several years now.

  • FormFactor

    7ounces at the worst possible spot for a …few buttons… wow

  • valorius

    By the time the Jarheads are done they’ll be issuing $10,000 unit cost rifles to every swinging D in the field.

    It is fortunate for them that they are blessed with so much excess budgeting to afford such luxuries.

  • Risto Kantonen

    Seems like a bad idea to me. Some arguments as to why i think that it is a bad idea:

    It goes against the KISS principle – Keep It Simple Stupid. Size and weight constraints; soldiers are carrying a large amount of weight as it is, we should try find ways to reduce combat weight load, not add to it.

    It adds another failure point to a weapon system that already has a relatively large number of components due to which there is already a relatively high overall mechanical and electronic complexity. When it fails – and it will – you’ll have to manipulate the equipment on a component level anyway.

    You went tacticool, never go tacticool.

  • Nigel Tegg
  • jonp

    Where did that front grip come from??

  • jono102

    It reminds me of the wireless controller for the Silynx comms set up. A big block supposed to rail on to the weapon. It was more of a pain in the butt especially when you could accidentally sync them to someone else’s radio and making theirs transmit instead of yours.
    If this is a one stop shop for both weapon accessories and comms, it looks like an expensive waste of time.

  • FactChecker90803

    The Kord Rifle Accessory Control Unit (RACU), violates the KISS RULE, big time. Overtly complex, bulky and it’s a horizontal grip th at does not seem ergonomic and instinctive.

  • Corey

    While great in theory, this is all balls.. Who the hell would want to attach that that thing?, it’s huge, expensive, and it looks heavy. We already have rail mounted switches that take up 1/20th the space.