As of July 1, the Army has taken control of the design rights to the M4 carbine from its sole maker, Colt Defense LLC. Translation: With an uncertain budget looming, the service is free to give other gun companies a crack at a carbine contract.
The transition of ownership of the M4 technical data package marks 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.
In late November, Army senior leadership announced the service’s intent to open a competition for a new carbine this fall in preparation for the June 30 expiration date of Colt’s hold on the M4 licensing agreement.
The Army is slated to finish fielding the last of its 473,000 M4 requirement some time next year.
Army weapons officials maintain that it’s good to have the option of inviting other gun companies to compete to make the M4 as it is now, if the need arises, said Col. Doug Tamilio, project manager for soldier weapons.
“We probably won’t do anything with it right now. ... We have what we need,” Tamilio said. “The good news is we will own it now; that gives us the flexibility to do what we need it to do.”
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.
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Interesting Tidbit on Colt
From the Army Times: