I shared with the readers of our sister site Defense Tech the formal contract announcement from the Army for Remington to rebuild its M24 sniper rifles into a new standard shooting the .300 WinMag.
We already discussed this move here a couple weeks ago, but one of the things the Army said in its statement was that it had changed the weapon name from M24E1 to the XM2010.
I asked PEO and my SOF contacts for Soldier Weapons why the XM designation if the rifle contract is technically a "rebuild." I wasn't the only one to wonder about this, and our friends at the Firearms Blog and Soldier Systems Daily filled in some of the pieces of the puzzle.
But I got a response from PEO Soldier Weapons and I thought I'd share it with you:
Although the XM2010 utilizes the same Remington 700 long action receiver as the M24, it is a complete reconfiguration of the original M24SWS. The XM2010 fires a different cartridge and provides benefits that are well beyond form, fit, and function changes. It is practically a new rifle and needs to be treated from an acquisition perspective like a new system, tested and verified before we send it out into the field.Fair enough...But this raises yet another question: If the XM2010 should "be treated from an acquisition perspective like a new system," then why was there not a full and open competition for a .300 WinMag (or another caliber entirely) sniper weapon system? I might have missed something (and please correct me if I'm wrong), but I don't remember a competition for a new sniper rifle in the Army. I just remember an announcement that PEO had decided to rebuild the M24 in .300 WinMag with a few new techs thrown in.
Authorization to spend production funding is another reason why we need to type classify. Type Classification (TC) in some form (TC Limited Procurement or TC Standard) satisfies the Army acquisition management process to determine that materiel is "accepted for Army use" prior to spending procurement funds.
I threw that question back at PEO Soldier Weapons and we'll see what they respond with...Stay tuned.
UPDATE: PEO responded that the "upgrade" was a full and open competition.
But again, it just seems weird that if all that's left of the original rifle is a receiver and you've fundamentally changed the system so much that you need to give it a new type class and treat it "like a new system" that the service wouldn't compete the whole rifle. Would Remington have offered its convertable sniper weapon system if there had been? Would others have thrown their hat in the ring?