U.S. Army weapons officials have launched a survey to see what gunmakers can offer for an off-the-shelf 7.62mm Interim Combat Service Rifle.
The May 31 request for information, known in acquisition parlance as an RFI, on behalf of Product Manager Individual Weapons, is an attempt to “identify sources for a combat rifle system” and determine the potential cost and lead time to deliver up to 10,000 weapon systems, according to the document.
The request comes in the wake of Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told lawmakers Congress last week that the M4 Carbine‘s current 5.56mm round can’t penetrate modern enemy body armor plates and that he’s considering arming infantry units with rifles chambered for a more potent 7.62mm cartridge.
“The rifle must be a Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) system readily available for purchase today. Modified or customized systems are not being considered,” according to the document, which specifies that the caliber must be 7.62x51mm.
Milley told Senate Armed Services Committee members May 25 that Army officials at the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning in Georgia, have developed a new 7.62mm round capable of penetrating enemy body armor plates similar to U.S. military-issue rifle plates such as the Enhanced Small Arms Protective Insert, or ESAPI.