KUALA LUMPUR: The story below from Defensenews is self explanatory. I would like to say I told you so but I do not feel I had won anything. Malaysian Defence and its readers had since 2006 questioned the decision to adopt the M4/M16A4 as the standard Malaysian Army assault rifle and the story from DefenseNews vindicated our concerns. The US Army is to ditch the M4 soon and perhaps within two years, they will be equipped with new carbines and even rifles. It is most likely the rest of the US forces, Marines and others will follow the Big Green transition to the new weapon and ditch the Black Rifle. The Malaysian Army in the meantime, will be using the M4 and M16A4 for at least another 20 years or so. We already accepted some 14,000 rifles and if not for the economic downturn, we could have ordered another 30,000 or more of the Black Rifles.
By next year, the US will field its last batch of M4s and M16A4s , so we will have the dubious honour of fielding new Black Rifles in the foreseeable future. Of course, thousands of M4s will be available within the next two decades, but it will be funny isnt it if we were to start looking for a new rifle to replace the Black Rifle within the next few years so. At the same time, it will also be funny for the Malaysian Army to continue purchasing new M4s and M16A4s as the primary user had declared it redundant.
Also from the story below, it appears that SMEO had paid Colt LLC for nothing by acquiring the exclusive manufacturing rights in the country as the design rights of the M4 had been taken over by the US Army. Does this mean that SMEO now has to sign a new contract with the US Army and perhaps has to fork out extra payment to manufacture the M4 in-country now? I am not sure about that but when I found out I will report it here.
US Army Will Open Competition for Carbine - As Soon As Congress Passes Budget
Soldiers could have a new carbine by 2012, unless a Congressional budget impasse slows it down. The Army requested $9.9 million for fiscal 2010, money needed to start the solicitation process for a competition that stands to draw dozens of small arms companies waiting for the chance to unseat the M4 as the Army’s primary soldier weapon.
In July, the service took control of the design rights to the M4 carbine from its sole maker, Colt Defense LLC. The transition of ownership of the M4 technical data package marked the end of an era and Colt’s exclusive status as the only manufacturer of the M4 for the U.S. military for the past 15 years. The transfer of the licensing agreement also frees up the Army to give other companies a crack at a carbine contract. Last November, Army senior leadership announced the service’s intent to open a competition for a new carbine this fall. Then Army Secretary Pete Geren directed the Army’s Infantry Center at Fort Benning, Ga., to update the carbine requirement in preparation for a search for a replacement for the M4. At the same time, the Army is slated to finish fielding the last of its 473,000 M4 requirement some time next year.
Small-arms companies waiting for the chance to compete for the Army’s next carbine view Colt’s loss of the M4 TDP as a new beginning for the industry and for soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.