Army Futures Command testing new rifle scopes

By Jaspreet Gill / November 8, 2019 at 12:27 PM

The Army Futures Command Maneuver Battle Lab is testing four new rifle scopes for the service's M4A1 Carbine.

The effort is a part of the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment, a months-long annual assessment where soldiers at Ft. Benning, GA test out "60 to 70" new technologies from industry, according to lab Director Ed Davis.

"In the next few days, we're looking at optics for some of our weapons that have been around for a while [that] we need to upgrade," Davis told Inside Defense in a Nov. 7 interview. "This gives us a way of looking at what industry nominates to us and see what's possible. . . . We can figure out how to go forward."

Talon Expeditionary Services, FN America, LLC and Smart Shooter Inc. were chosen to produce four prototypes for soldiers to test during AEWE, according to an Army press release. Soldiers currently use the M68 close combat scope and M50 rifle combat scope.

Staff Sergeant Michael Kennett, who tested the new optics, told Inside Defense that an extended shooting range is one of the biggest improvements with the new prototypes.

The Army is looking for scopes that will allow soldiers to shoot up to 600 meters, according to Davis. Current optics allow for engagements under 300 meters. He added the service is in the process of collecting data from soldiers who have tested out the prototypes.

Lt. Col. Chris Kennedy, lethality branch chief of the Maneuver Center of Excellence's Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate soldier division, said in an email the information gathered during the assessment will inform the Army's weapon enabler requirements.

"There is no single requirements document this effort is linked to, but it will inform the entire [Small Arms Strategy]," Kennedy said. "We can learn things about rail space, shock profile, zero retention and increased accuracy. All this knowledge is blended into our strategy and into future requirements."