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.