The US Army’s Sub Compact Weapon (SCW) programme closely was initially announced at the beginning of May, quickly followed by the news that weapons submitted by no less than 13 companies would be evaluated. At that point the programme’s contracts had an estimated worth of almost U$260,000. Then in the first week of July it was announced that the programme was to be cancelled, pending a review of the army’s requirements, which many thought would be the end of the programme.
However, on 26 July, a new Prototype Opportunity Notice (PON) was posted by the US Army Contracting Command, NJ/USA, on behalf of Project Manager Soldier Weapons. The PON read: "Project Manager Soldier Weapons, is seeking proposals in regards to a PON for SCW Systems. The ultimate objective of this program is to acquire a highly concealable SCW system capable of engaging threat personnel with a high volume of lethal force while accurately firing at close range with minimal collateral damage."
The aim of the PON is to select a 9x19mm compact weapon system that meets the Army’s requirements. These include accessory attachament abilites, optimal performance with a 147 grain 9x19mm NATO spec round, select fire capability, ambidextrous controls, feed from 20 and 30 round magazines, bottom, vertical feed magazines, black exterior finish, have an overall length of, “less than 15in overall in collapsed position” and weigh less than 7 pounds. The barrel will be no longer than 5.5in and the stock must collapse telescopically." Depending on interpretation some of these criteria may prevent some of the previous entries from submitting such as the B&T MP9 and Beretta PMX.
The PON has a section explaining the background to the need for the new Sub Compact Weapon: "US military operations take place worldwide and in all types of terrains as well as under every environmental condition. The Secretary of the Army and/or the Chief of Staff approves senior commanders and key personnel as High Risk Personnel (HRP). HRPs are authorised a Personal Security Detail (PSD), which are assigned to guard against outlined threats. To address this operational need, PSD military personnel require weapons with greater lethality than pistols that are more concealable than rifles. The ultimate objective of this program is to acquire a highly concealable Sub Compact Weapon (SCW) system capable of engaging threat personnel with a high volume of lethal force while accurately firing at close range with minimal collateral damage."
An initial order for 350 weapons and accompanying tools, spares, accessories and equipment will be made. From the award of the contract the vendor will be scheduled to provide the first 10 SCW systems within 30 days of the contract award. This will then be followed by the remaining 340 weapons over a 5-7 month period after the award of a follow on production award. The period of the contract’s fulfilment will not exceed twelve months from the date of award.
The army is looking to award up to six Prototype Other Transaction Agreements (OTAs). Vendors will have to complete submission forms detailing price and other information and submit a 2.5 minute video pitching and demonstrating their weapon. These OTA’s will require 15 weapons from each vendor for testing along with: “Slings & Manuals, 40 – 20 round magazines and 80 – 30 round magazines, 5 cleaning kits, 3 suppressors, 2 specialized tool kits (if required for assembly/disassembly), and spare parts.” These will need to be delivered within 30 days of the awarding of the OTA.
Testing will include drop testing from 5ft from six orientations with the safety both engaged and disengaged. Accuracy testing will require that the weapon put four out of five consecutive shots within a four inch diameter circle at 35 metres. The weapon must fire 60 rounds per minute without cook off and must not suffer more than 1 stoppage per 1,000 rounds.
The PON outlines how the contract award will be phased with two phases. The second phase, following the award of the OTAs will require vendors to submit a schedule, an updated Price (with cheaper prces only accepted), an outline of their delivery capabilities, their quality assurance programme and their warranty. The PON has a deadline of the 9 August, giving interested vendors two weeks to submit their proposed systems for evaluation.
Soldier Systems Daily announced today that late last week, the army notified six companies that they were selected to participate in the SCW Prototype Opportunity. Those companies are:
- Angstadt Arms
- B&T USA
- Global Ordnance, LLC
- Shield Arms
- SIG SAUER
- Trident Rifles, LLC
It is important to note that the companies have been notified they were selected and it is still up to them to accept the Army’s offer to participate. Trident Rifles will also offer a weapon from Swiss manufacturer Brugger & Thomet along with B&T USA.
The PON calls for delivery of 15 weapons within 30 days, with the purchase of 350 weapons at a time (if a solution is selected) up to 1,000 total weapons. Beyond the delivery of the initial prototypes there is no hard schedule.