FN Manufacturing has outbid Remington Arms Company and Colt Defense LLC., to win a contract worth just under $77 million to make M4A1s for the U.S. Army, according to an industry source. The award notice was posted on Federal Business Opportunities on Feb. 22 with an initial value of $9,370,615.
This is the latest round in what has become a hard-fought battle to equip soldiers with a better carbine.
The drama all began when the Army chose Remington over Colt, the original maker of the M4, last April to make 120,000 M4s and M4A1 carbines. That award meant that more soldiers would go into combat with the M4A1, a SOF version of the carbine that features a more durable barrel and a full-auto trigger. The Army’s decision to dump the three-round burst setting will give soldiers a more consistent trigger and better accuracy.
The GAO did rule in favor of Colt’s first protest over the Army’s miscalculation of royalties it would receive for contract awards on its M4 design. The July 24 ruling forced the Army to rework the original solicitation so the vendors that fell into the competitive range could submit new price bids. All gun makers involved were forced to reveal their previous price bids for the original $84 million contract to keep things fair.
Colt officials then filed an Oct. 9 protest with the GAO three weeks after the Connecticut-based gun maker received the Army’s amended Sept. 21 solicitation. The GAO denied Colt's second protest in a Nov. 16 decision.
This latest decision makes FN the only maker of both M16A4s and M4 carbine variants for the U.S. Military (I think.) The majority of the contract will supply M4A1s to the Army as part of its ongoing effort to upgrade its fleet of M4s.