FREDERICKSBURG, VA — A slew of new weapons that will increase the lethality of troops is coming down the pipeline, according to Army officials. “The systems — which include everything from the next-generation squad weapon to machine guns — are within sight,” said Lt. Col. Steven Power, the Army’s product manager for individual weapons.
Speaking during a panel discussion at the National Defense Industrial Association’s Armament Systems Forum in Fredericksburg, VA, on the eve of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, Power said the significance of soldier weapon systems cannot be overstated. “The importance of individual soldiers as they made their way onto Omaha Beach and the importance of the individual equipment that they carried is as true today as we face near peer adversaries … as it was then,” he said.
“Over the past year, the program office has reached numerous milestones across several portfolios,” Power said. “One of the biggest was fielding more than 200,000 M4A1 rifles. The next-gen [squad weapon] is going to be awesome when it comes out. But in the meantime, the fact that we have put a quarter of a million M4A1s in the hands of soldiers in a year is something I’m extremely proud of,” he said.
The service has also completed nearly 64,000 M4 to M4A1 product improvement program upgrades to existing systems over the last 12 months, according to Power’s presentation slides. “It is pursuing the Army acquisition objective of more than 850,000 systems by fiscal year 2022, and is 70 percent there now,” he added.