The companies who had entered rifles into the Improved Carbine Competition have been notified that the program has been canceled. The Army never wanted to run the competition in the first place, and has tried many times to cancel it, but congress kept intervening. Last week the House Armed Services Committee passed a budget amendment to prevent the Army canceling the program, but to become law it would have needed to pass in the Senate, which would take a few months. Seeing their window of opportunity, the Army moved quickly and cancelled the program. I have no doubt that the Army is dismantling everything to do with the program, salting the earth if you will, making sure that this program cannot be resurrected. Given the recent DoD budget cuts, I cannot see how congress are going to justify starting this program up again. Military.com reports …
“Based upon Army analysis, test results may have been affected by interaction between the ammunition, the magazine and the weapon,” the release states. “The Army’s existing carbine requirement assumed use of the M855 ammunition; the weapons tested in the IC competition all fired the next generation M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round (EPR) currently in fielding. The use of the M855A1 round likely resulted in lower than expected reliability performance. These effects are unique to testing conditions and are not known to affect the reliability of any weapon in the operational environment.”
Army officials, however, decided “not to pursue a new carbine competition … following careful consideration of the Army’s operational requirements in the context of the available small arms technology, the constrained fiscal environment, and the capability of our current carbines,” the release states.
The Army’s announcement occurred despite a recent House Armed Services Committee budget amendment aimed at preventing the Army from canceling its improved carbine competition without conducting Phase III of the effort.
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