Marine Corps Systems Command announced That they have awarded a fiuve year indefinite-delivery/indefinite quantity contract with a maximum ceiling of $29.4 million dollars for the purchcase of up to 15,000 M27 IAR (infantry automatic rifles) from Heckler and Koch. Cost per rifle is $1,300 per M27 IAR rifle. The M27 IAR’s will replace some of the current M4 carbine semi-automatic rifles.
Per the Marine Corps System Command
In 2008, the Marine Corps selected H&K to procure 6,500 rifles, following a full and open competition. Fielding of these rifles occurred between 2010 and 2013.
To expand the capability, in February 2017 the Marine Corps released an open Request for Information to determine whether industry could supply comparable IAR capabilities for the entire infantry rifle squad. Having received industry price estimates for potential rifles and associated components, the Marine Corps determined that a competition to purchase M27 IARs from a new commercial vendor, whether international or domestic, would cause substantial and unavoidable cost duplications and unacceptable delays in fulfilling the agency’s needs.
These cost duplications and time delays are itemized and depicted in a Justification and Approval document signed by Marine Corps Systems Command’s Executive Director in July 2017. The J&A was based on unit price estimates, the costs associated with repeated test events, and the number of interested vendors.
Federal laws and regulations enable agencies to forgo open competitions on these basis, therefore, program officials from Marine Corps Systems Command determined the Corps would continue to purchase the M27 IAR from H&K.
Unlike the M4, the M27 IAR is fully automatic to provide a higher volume of fire. It also features a free-floating barrel design for better accuracy.
“Since the M27 has been fielded, it has proven to be extremely reliable, durable, and accurate,” said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Joel Schwendinger, Combat Development and Integration Gunner.
“The Marine Corps Operating Concept describes a future where units will be operating with greater dispersion and experiments such as the [Sea Dragon 2025 Exercise] identified the need for increased lethality in Marine rifle platoons and squads,” he said. “The M27 provides the Corps with the necessary increase in lethality. Unlike other infantry specialties that primarily fight with crew-served weapons such as mortars and machine guns, rifle platoons primarily fight with rifles, and the M27 has proven to be the best overall fighting rifle.”
Positive data and feedback from Marines using the M27s in experiments over the last year influenced the Marine Corps’ decision to expand fielding, Schwendinger said.
The Marine Corps will field the additional M27 rifles to active and reserve infantry platoons beginning in early 2019.
“The fielding of additional M27s will provide an immediate increase in overall combat capability for both current and future operating environments,” said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Mark Salmons, Plans, Policies and Operations Gunner.