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Upgrade kits for M4 coming

New M4A1 features a heavy barrel and is fully automatic

Col. Douglas Tamilio, program manager for soldier weapons, said fielding of the new sniper rifle, called the XM2010 - the name is a departure from the Army’s formally two- or three- digit weapon naming scheme - has come quickly. /C. Todd Lopez

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WASHINGTON (Army News Service) - The Army expects to field the new sniper rifle, the XM2010, by January. And conversion kits for the M4 rifle will come next year.

A panel of program managers from Program Executive Office Soldier met Oct. 14 at the Pentagon to discuss the status of several programs in the PEO's portfolio. Included in the discussion was the status of the new sniper rifle, development of the Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern uniform for use in Afghanistan, Mounted Soldier System development and the improvement program for the M4 carbine.

Col. Douglas Tamilio, program manager for Soldier Weapons, said the Army will do a request for proposal in the next three or four months to complete the Army's acquisition objective for M4 rifles. That RFP will include more than 14,000 M4A1 rifles - an improvement over the M4 soldiers currently use.

"What the M4A1 gives our soldiers is a heavy barrel and fully automatic - that's what the field is asking for," Tamilio said. The M4A1 also features ambidextrous controls.

The Army already has a contract with Colt to produce the rifles. The second contract, in the next fiscal quarter, will help the Army complete its AAO and will include additional rifles for both foreign military sales and to meet other Army requirements. Tamilio also said the Army will work a contract to procure some 65,000 kits in FY 2011 to convert M4s already in the field to the M4A1.

Other phases of M4 improvement involve a better bolt and rail.

"I think we can get significant increases in reliability by looking at some new enhancements to bolts," Tamilio said. "Because a lot of companies have shown some bolts over the last year or so that have got, we think, improvement. We're going to ask industry to give us their best."

The XM2010 is an improvement on the M24 sniper rifle system. A contract for production of the system was recently awarded to manufacturer Remington. Tamilio said it's expected fielding will happen in January.

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