US to Select New Carbine, Next Year or M4 is the New Dodo

KUALA LUMPUR: The story below from Defensenews is self explanatory. I would like to say I told you so but I do not feel I had won anything. Malaysian Defence and its readers had since 2006 questioned the decision to adopt the M4/M16A4 as the standard Malaysian Army assault rifle and the story from DefenseNews vindicated our concerns. The US Army is to ditch the M4 soon and perhaps within two years, they will be equipped with new carbines and even rifles. It is most likely the rest of the US forces, Marines and others will follow the Big Green transition to the new weapon and ditch the Black Rifle. The Malaysian Army in the meantime, will be using the M4 and M16A4 for at least another 20 years or so. We already accepted some 14,000 rifles and if not for the economic downturn, we could have ordered another 30,000 or more of the Black Rifles.
By next year, the US will field its last batch of M4s and M16A4s , so we will have the dubious honour of fielding new Black Rifles in the foreseeable future. Of course, thousands of M4s will be available within the next two decades, but it will be funny isnt it if we were to start looking for a new rifle to replace the Black Rifle within the next few years so. At the same time, it will also be funny for the Malaysian Army to continue purchasing new M4s and M16A4s as the primary user had declared it redundant.
Also from the story below, it appears that SMEO had paid Colt LLC for nothing by acquiring the exclusive manufacturing rights in the country as the design rights of the M4 had been taken over by the US Army. Does this mean that SMEO now has to sign a new contract with the US Army and perhaps has to fork out extra payment to manufacture the M4 in-country now? I am not sure about that but when I found out I will report it here.

US Army Will Open Competition for Carbine – As Soon As Congress Passes Budget

Soldiers could have a new carbine by 2012, unless a Congressional budget impasse slows it down. The Army requested $9.9 million for fiscal 2010, money needed to start the solicitation process for a competition that stands to draw dozens of small arms companies waiting for the chance to unseat the M4 as the Army’s primary soldier weapon.
In July, the service took control of the design rights to the M4 carbine from its sole maker, Colt Defense LLC. The transition of ownership of the M4 technical data package marked 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. The transfer of the licensing agreement also frees up the Army to give other companies a crack at a carbine contract. Last November, Army senior leadership announced the service’s intent to open a competition for a new carbine this fall. Then Army Secretary Pete Geren directed the Army’s Infantry Center at Fort Benning, Ga., to update the carbine requirement in preparation for a search for a replacement for the M4. At the same time, the Army is slated to finish fielding the last of its 473,000 M4 requirement some time next year.
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.

–Malaysian Defence

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40 Comments

  1. It’s too late to regret anything now……. I guess the only thing we can do now is to look for options to upgrade the M4 like replacing it’s direct gas system with short-stroke pistons and adding some X-lubricants from NASA or something……….sheesh I dunno. I have voiced this out for more than 2 years now and I’ll say it again: We bought the M4 at a time when the U.S army was looking at other options to phase it out. Some people messed up somewhere and they’re not gonna admit it.

  2. I mentiioned this a few years back on how the M4 was a dud and the U.S. didn’t want it anymore. Congrats MINDEF you made us a laughing stock again.

  3. No. The USG now has the rights to the M4 TDP but so does SMEO for the territory of Malaysia. Which is the same useless deal they had with Steyr which turned out to be useless because of the very limited quantities we can consume to amortize the high set up costs that SEMO will pass 132% onto the user.
    What is the point in ordering 30K more rifles that offer no practical advantage over the M16A1s we still have in stock?
    There is not enough money to equip all 14K with optics at this time let alone other cool-guy gear. This has to do with the optics central contract that MINDEF is bound by. Marhalim, go korek this travesty of cronyism and you’ll probably end up slapped by ISA.
    Or be feted as a hero and saviour in kementah.
    It is a legacy of the Former Regime Elements.

  4. Buying the M4 is the silliest decision ever made by the government. It is all about making money; not actually fulfilling the needs of the Army. I do not think the police would want to use the M4.
    SMEO having had the experience to manufacture the Steyr assault rifle for more than 20 years should have acquired the know-how to develop an indigenous Malaysian assault rifle. Why have they failed is mind boggling. I am told that the management found it necessary not to indulge in R&D because it cost to much of money. It would be better that they act as mere traders, selling weapons to the government at inflated prices.
    I also blame the government for this. They do not have a strict policy on weapon development to ensure that SMEO comes out with its own weapon design within a specific time frame. SMEO must be forced to undertake R&D; otherwise we will continue to be importing weapons, without any hope of developing our own.
    SMEO’s failure is a national disaster and the victim is the nation as well. Buying has to cease and R&D geared up, if we want to be self reliant in weapons. As at now, we even cannot produce a simple pistol, let alone a rifle.
    Best of luck to Malaysia!

  5. SMEO do have the R&D alright, ‘receive and distribute’. M4 is merely to keep the production line running, after the steyr contract ends. Else they have to lay-off quite a number of workers not forgetting the sub-contractors.

    Marhalim: And now they got to locally manufacture M4. Zahid confirmed it today although he did not want to say how many and how much. The guns will be by 2012 the same time the US picked a new carbine

  6. We the taxpayer will pay for the ‘new’ M4 production line because the old Steyr line was disassembled and is no longer operational.
    ‘New’ because the rotary hammer forge that we paid ‘new’ money for was in fact the old GFM unit that Steyr had. ReCon ler…..
    I gayrontee that the M4 ‘buatan tempatan’ will cost 100% more than the ‘CBU’ model to pay for the SMEO line (where everybody make big money ler).
    Tapi siapa nak tahu….OSA mah. M4 itu super secret tahu. Bukan macam all our neighbours sudah ada……

    marhalim: I just found that its not really a local manufacture but local assembly da,,,,,,

  7. Worse…that rotary hammer forge which would ideal for making barrels..sudah kondem. In fact semua AUG stuff pun dah luput.

  8. jangan terlampau kritik kerajaan..m4 ni dah kire bagus kalau nak banding ngan styer..test la masuk hutan dulu..nak bwk m4 ke styer..geng para ngan komando mesti kate m4…..

    Marhalim: Betul memang askar kita pilih M4 kerana M4 lebih ringan dari Steyr. Kita tak kata M4 tak bagus hanya ianya teknologi yang lama. Perlu ingat kita perlu menggunakannya bukan untuk setahun dua saje tapi sekurangnya 20 tahun lagi. Sekarang sudah ada senjata yang lebih maju dari M4 jadi kenapa kita perlu pakai benda yang lama sedang ada yang baru yang setanding dan lebih mungkin. Perlu juga diingatkan pembelian M4 tanpa tender secara terbuka dan tanpa ujian medan yang teliiti. Kita perlu belajar dari sejarah. Hampir dua puluh tahun lepas Kerajaan memilih untuk membeli steyr kerana ada perjanjian untuk pembuatan dalam negeri walaupun pada masa ujian, kebanyakan askar yang terbabit telah memilih raifal M16A2 dan juga Colt Commando. Kedua2 senjata ini adalah versi terdahulu M4.

  9. Marhalim,

    This thing appeared in the Malay Mail today. First the VAB story and now the M4 story! Your blog is being closely followed by MSM! U better be extra careful now heh 2x.

    Anyway, Minister Zahid has expressed “surprise” and will ask his officers to “look into” the matter. Apa punya jawapan. Officers tak brief ke? Now opposition can capitalize on this matter.

    Anyway, I agree with Figures. The M4 is a pretty good rifle. I highly doubt the US will be able to replace the M4 in 2012. They tried before and failed.

    The problem is not the rifle. Its the round.

    marhalim: yes the new carbine will probably be delayed but remember we will be stuck with the M4 for at least another 10 years or more….

  10. Syarikat yang membekal M4 pasangan tempatan adalah syarikat yang telah membekal senapang Steyr. Senapang-senapang ini telah dibekalkan dengan harga yang sangat tinggi (USD 3,000) untuk membayar kos menubuhkan satu kilang untuk membuat senapang Steyr. Ini sepatutnya menjadi satu aset strategik pertahanan negara tetapi aset ini sekarang bukan sahaja terbengkalai tetapi sudah tiada lagi.
    Tapak kilang ini di Sungaii Buloh sudah digunakan untuk tujuan lain yang tidak megena dengan industri persenjataan.
    Aset ini yang dibiayai oleh wang rakyat sudah hancur pada tangan syarikat tersebut.
    Senapang M4 telah dipilih untuk gantikan Steyr sebab syarikat tersebut dan Steyr-Mannlincher GmbH telah bertelagah selepas mengisytiharkan syarikat JV Steyr-Mannlincher Malaysia di DSA 2004. Pertelagahan ini telah menjejaskan kontrak bekalan Steyr AUGA1 kepada ATM.
    Syarikat tempatan ini terpaksa mencari satu alternatif kepada Steyr dan itulah M4.
    Projek ini bukan demi kepentingan negara tapi untuk kepentingan syarikat penswsataan ini.

    Perlulah faham situasi sebenar sebelum buta membodek….

  11. Is it really a matter of โ€œwhenโ€ and not โ€œifโ€ the Indonesians invade Malaysia? With what?
    – with 2 million refugees crossing the Straits of Melaka and the Kalimantan border. That would be a nightmare scenario, worse than any military threat posed by the TNI. During the troubles in 1998, we were we worried about such a scenario and rushed an order for South Korean mines to be placed along the Kalimantan border.
    As for the M4 deal, no one in the press, no backbenchers or local military magazines bothered to ask the 2 golden questions- ‘besides being lighter than the AUG if not fitted with accessories, what advantage does the M4 offer over the AUG, which despite the introduction of the M4 for certain units in Iraq and Afghanistan, continues to be the main rifle for Kiwi and Aussie troops. If the upgraded AUG is good enough for them why is it not good enough for Malaysian troops?

    Marhalim: In my defence, I did asked the then PTD, who later took over as PAT. His answer was classic Inilah Keputusan kerajaan. What can you say more?

  12. Let’s put it straight to the face. Most of our arm purchases were done through third party and National Interest were not their priorities but more of personal interest. Unless we have an Army man heading the ministry, it will go on and there’s nothing you or me can do.

    The government has failed miserably and 52 years after independence, there’s still no sight of a ‘National Rifle Program’ but check out Berapi which got the guts to at least come out with some ideas. Let’s not fret so much over the M4 procurement. Fit them with optics and see how it do wonder in battlefield.

    In the meantime, let’s hope some senses will prevail soon

    Marhalim: Which Army man are you talking about?

  13. Marhalim, I was not implying it was your fault. Perhaps we should bombard the PMs blog with questions relating to our defence and see what he says. As citizens we have a right to question our elected representatives.So sorry ‘figure’s… we have a right to ‘terlampau kritik kerajaan’.

    Yesterdays, Sun reported that Indonesian civilians pelted RMAF planes with stones at Padang’s airport. This was after an earlier incident when airport workers refused to unload a C-130H because we refused to pay taxes for relief aid meant for displaced Indonesians! Not to be left out, the Indonesian press ran some articles saying the relief aid provided by Malaysia had expired! This is not the first time nor the last that RMAF planes have brought relief to our neighbour. Yet where is the gratitude? Despite our governments efforts to bend over backwards to ease relations, the Indonesian continues with its feeble efforts to explain things to its rakyat and mend ties.

    Marhalim: No need to apologise Azlan, I just wanted to say that I had always try to ask the right questions to the right people whenever the opportunity arises and not hide behind the computer and make noises. Indonesians have been the nationalistic people in the region and they will be continue to do so, even if we do not bother with them….

  14. IMHO, we should recover fast by changing the production line after completing the first batch(if already setup) to HK416 . It is an upgraded version of the M4 to improve reliability. At least we can re-use some of the existing tools.
    No point complaining, just start to take action to reduce the “loss”.
    IIRC, UTK is already using them.

    Marhalim: Point taken but it will mean that will be continuing rewarding the ,,,,,,,,

  15. So, say after 10 years of M4, then they’ll decide to get another rifle. Any ideas? Maybe enough time to get my company up and running to sell this replacement for M4.. hahaha. you guys can join as investors what..

    Seriously, we should put those asshats screwing up with Steyr on stakes. WTH, string up those decision-makers too..

  16. kubai…HK416 is from…HK. Not from Colt. So we have to go get a new license and throw another license in the bin. What existing tools? SMEO isn’t going to buy diddly squat until the gomen gives them more of our money.
    You also realise that the 416 has a higher rail than the M4 and so you cannot employ sights/mounts from one to the other. Not that we have any optics…

    BigFoot….Berapi was a scam. Anyone with half a brain could work out their **** was defective but in Malaysia we are so damned ignorant we fall for charlatans like that. And the Arab tech incubator scam…etc.
    Why would we want more ‘bodek’ in the leadership? kementah is already overrun with Bodekkers.

    We don’t need a ‘National Rifle Program’. many countries do just fine without one. We need transparency and accountability in MINDEF, not thievery behind OSA.

    You know that there is NO depot level maintenance for the AUGs since oh….2005. Steyr-mannlincher told the Army that SMEO was not an approved OEM and Army said….OK ler.

  17. we’re living in a world where politicians have the final say. At the end of the days, the so called “rakyat” have to pay for the decision.

    There are few defence procurement/programme did not achieve it’s intended objectives. But none of the policies maker dares to step forward and admit the failure. Instead they blame others, and worse create an lousy excuses.

    BTW, KD Sri Inderapura “terbakar” lagi. Nak Duitlah tuu…..

    Marhalim: Yes, Inderapura caught fire again…..I declined to post it as I found it too depressing,….

  18. The problem with the M4 is not the round but the rifle. When they shortened the M16 the gas operation is compromised. Something very technical and fundamental I can’t really explain. Something about the bolt.

    When used in peacetime it’s ok, but when used in battle (heavy usage) it jams a lot.

  19. MaesterT, I forgot about the licensing issue. Thanks for highlighting.

    My take is, MINDEF (if they really are not interested in it) do something while it is still early and the impact is not “much”; i.e. before it gets to 80K units and change again. The powers that be in ATM must sit down, do the necessary decisions for local licensed production, if practical, and make sure the contracts, terms and other related matters are airtight.

    The earlier accepted M4 units can be passed down to the smaller branches of ATM or PDRM, APMM etc.

    I wish that the power to approve major ATM purchases really belongs to ATM’s Field Marshall with minimal political or people other than ATM’s involvement. There must be reasons for the letters “DR” to be put in the service’s name.

    Sorry for going out of topic a bit…Just replace the Inderapura. The 1970s wiring system AND the rewiring done (after the first fire) must be too messy to take care. Why can’t we do what Singapore & Indonesia did and get/build medium sized LPDs at reasonable prices? Rumours about getting an LHD is a joke. We can’t even buy helicopters and yet we want to buy LHD.
    Nak buat apa dengan LHD, helicopter pun tak cukup. Nak buat pelantar pertandingan wau atas laut ka? Don’t be like RTN, glamour without practicality. Their mini “CV” was purchased without much thought…

    Marhalim: Technically, the Agong, as the Supreme Commander of the MAF is the de-facto Field Marshall. He has to take the advice of the Government in power I believe. I dont think the constitution give him the power to intervene in defence procurement. Moreover being a democratic country, our soldiers like their colleagues have to accept the decisions of the politicians. However, one can always resign if one does not believe in the mission or order or the means given to him to accomplish his task at hand. I guess our military leaders believe that they could accomplished with the arms and other means given by the government. An LST like the Endurance class would suffice although I believe the Rotterdam/Galicia class type LHDs are the preferred RMN choice for their MPSS or MPSV. They like the Dokyo alright but its way above our head in terms of annual running costs….

  20. Well, they got a booth and got something to show us, which means they had taken a bold step forward. If our ancestors produced world famous self defence weapon in the form of the Kris, we could with technology transfers and knowledge in hand, should have a Malaysian designed and Malaysian Made Assault Rifle. SIN and INDO has done it and their rifles worked well. Even the Pashtuns at Peshawar produced copied armaments. Then again, some people up there got different agenda.

    ‘Army man’ means credible individual who has served the Armed Forces or at least possesses some knowledge and understanding of what the service does and sensitive to its’ needs.

    In the mean time, I’ll stick pick the Black Rifle up and do what I’m best at!

    Marhalim: I guess when you meant a booth, it was the Berapi booth in DSA 2006. They were not around in DSA 2008 and no one seemed to know whether the company was operating or not. Yes, the Berapi had an un-licensed copy of the M4 on show their booth. But as we adhered to the international copyright laws, I guess that Berapi also need a license before they can selling the guns to our government.

  21. I wonder if the govt will replace the aging LST fleets since the KD Sri inderapura has already caught on fire for the third time this morning.

    The M4 riffle shouldn’t be any problem as the possible successor of the current US m4 is the hk416 which share the same design but with a shotter barrel. No major problem here.

    So what’s the govt on defense in this 10th MP? I wonder if there’ll be another squadron of fighter aircraft or we’ll have a regiment of mid-sam and a theater ballistic missile as it is a much cheaper way to upgrade our current air-defense network.

    Marhalim: I will post an update on the RM10 plans as I had agreed to keep it first before it is published in print as I wasnt able to attend the interview. Furthermore some things were not answered or questioned so I have to dig around on my own before I present the RM10 plans.

  22. Errr..yes, they got a booth. If you consider that a bold step forward, then I have a scratch and win card that you can win fabulous prizes with…how gullible are you?
    Umm…are the that insecure as a people that we HAVE to keep up with SING and INDON? What does making an over priced and uncompetitive rifle prove? As for the keris, the Indons will be hopping mad we’re stealing the historical weapons now…..

    The Army in particular needs a big kick in the butt to get their noses out of the politicos’ asses. They demean themsleves when they give away green/maroon/purple etc. berets to politicians who have done nothing to earn them.
    That is just bodek.

    You don’t need a black rifle to bodek.

    Err…..that M4 knock off was not made here.

  23. What Indonesia did was to get a South Korean shipyard who delivered an LPD cheaper and faster than any European shipyard. With the RMN’s ex-USN LSTs now retired, lift capabilities are reduced to just 2 Indera Sakthi class ships. Given the present threat level, it would be more prudent to allocate funds for a pair of LPD instead of Batch 2 Lekiu frigates. The treasury will probably get a major ulcers as once the RMN get its new LPD, it will be pressing for funds for a medium sized helicopter. To ‘bigfoot’, I’ve been attending DSA since it was in the Putra World Trade Center’ in the 80’s, – having a booth to display locally assembled products by a Malaysian company may look nice but has no practical value.

  24. Mohd Syameer… You can put an HK416 upper onto an M4 lower receiver but NOTHING in the upper receiver is common with an M4. When I say NOTHING….I mean NOTHING. Not one part from the barrel assembly, bolt carrier assembly, charging handle or even the forward assist is retro compatible with the M4. Even the carry handle is no go due to the extra height of the rail.
    Years ago, proposals were put to kementah to rebuild the M16A1 fleet into M4 clones. Why tak jadi? No big payoff available…after all the justifications was to keep costs down.

    The Inderpura looks like a CTL. This fire is much worse than the previous ones. mana nak cari wang for a new LST? I propose we ask Singapore to buy a couple of Endurance class LSTs at ‘husband-wife’ prices….LOL. Or pay for it with KTM land…..

    Marhalim: The Thais bought theirs for US182 million….

  25. The interesting question is whether the RTN’s Endurance LSTs will have the same level of protection as the RSN’s, plus the ESM system. Im my opinion, theres no point investing cash in procuring any high value asset like a frigate or LST if cash is not available to equip with a credible self-defence system. What I like about the idea of getting an LST/LPD is that it will give the RMN more leverage to press treasury for funds for a medium helicopter. Then again, the RMN might end up with ex-RMAF S-61As. So many pressing requirements yets so little cash…. made worse by a government that continues to gamble with our security and squander our funds.

  26. TO my opinions, if the armed forces to get less fund for next year so we shouldn’t expect of any procurement of new assets for a year or two even with the armed forces now is very keen in procurement of their dream-8×8 apc and recently maybe to replace the kd sri inderapura. how about the emerging nuri replacement program? this should be the main priority after all even higher than the replacement of the condor or sibmas as the nuri is too old to serve even so the armed forces won’t say so.

  27. azlan…I completely disagree. You don’t need to gold plate a LST. We are not going to be using them to launch amphibious assaults on Changi beach. They need to be reliable, cheap to operate and carry enough stuff.

    They need only force protection capabilities rather than the ability to weather massed anti-shipping attacks. To me that means maybe a medium caliber gun (your choice…Bofors or OTO) and a couple of light cannon. Enough to surprise the hell out of a Somali pirate skiff.
    Just leave space to add bling for later…..

    I would not have any real problem the vessel having only nav radar to begin with if it means we can get her on the slips faster.

    My real desire would be to see a class of at least 2 vessels and not a solitary one.

    I can’t see any downside to getting an Endurance. It will give RISIK plenty of practice to look for bugs on board after commissioning.

  28. Let’s walk the talk..we shall wait for the scratch & win Booth at the next DSA and see what comes out..LOL

  29. Mr.T, if you’re going to fork out tons of cash for an LST, you’d better also have the cash to equip it for self-defence because its a high value asset and the RMN doesn’t have tons of frigates to provide escort, nor in time of a real shooting war breaking out, will it operate under a strong air umbrella. I’m not talking about equipping it to withstand multiple supersonic anti-ship missiles, just a basic self-defence capability consisting of SHORADs, complemented by a 20mm or 30mm gun to deal with Somali skiffs. The ‘fitted for’ instead of ‘fitted with’ term is a nice term intended to sooth the fears of the pen pushers at treasury. Apart from the Endurance, the Terrex would also be perfect for the army.

  30. Shhh…please don’t spread heresy like that.
    RISIK would have no time to predict by election results.

  31. I say..Did you say KTM owned Singapore land?

    Goodie, you can have a brand new Endurance class LPd free if you sell back the land. It`s simply an eyesore with horrible upkeep. It`s like a piece of twilight zone in the middle of nice piece of real estate. It`s just out of place in 21st century “Sim city” Singapore. I mean the least they can do is trim the grasses. And I can go on… ๐Ÿ™‚

    Marhalim: I am not sure how much money is the KTM land in Singapore is worth, it could be more than one Endurance…

  32. RTN`s Endurance lpd will come with thier own specially selected systems. Singapore wont sell key internal systems(either domestically made or heavily modified) in used on thier ships, planes and automobiles.

  33. Marharlim, you are probably right. It could be worth 2 or more endurances. Remember a grain of sand in Singapore is worth $100 USD(sic). So, there you are. Let the Sgreans terraform the strip of jungle in the middle of a bustling city and you can have a nice fleet of shiny brand new lpds. What`s that word? New package deal? I think they are talking about it right now between the two foreign ministries. Put it in the memo.

    Marhalim: Personally I have no problem of buying the Endurance and other equipment from Singapore. The deal could even exorcise all the mistrust and suspicions that had endured since the separation of the Malaya and Singapore. However, domestic realities meant that this will never happen although the Malaysian defence minister had stated that he wanted the Asean countries to join hands to produce arms for the world market. I dont think its domestically feasible for the Malaysian armed forces to be running around in Singapore made defence equipment. Think of the scandal it would bring. If you think the Scorpene saga is bad enough, Singapore Tech equipment in Ulu Tiram will bring down the house, literally….

  34. I doubt that the US Army will replace the M4 anytime soon. They have been testing the other “new” weapons like HK416, Scar, XCR etc for a few years and none was proven to be a major improvement over the M4.

    However as Colt’s patent rights have expired, the M4 will probably be manufactured by other manufacturers like FN, Sabre or LWRC.

    The decision to use the M4 was good as it is a good gun. Our decision to buy the rights for the M4 however was dumb because the rights were due to expire. Now anyone can make a clone of the M4 , the patent has expired and no longer matters.

    With the manufacturing expertise in our country, there are many manufacturers who could make parts for the M4. If SCOPE could make a centrifuge, they can certainly make barrels and receivers. In fact there are probably hundreds of companies that can do this. As long as the parts are made to specs, anyone can assemble them together.

    As for the HK416. Norwegian troops (the only army to adopt the 416 as their standard issue rifle) complain about their reliability in afghanistan and at home. Their special forces chose to use the M4.

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