Florida-based Knight's Armament Company last week secured a military contract to supply the U.S. Marine Corps with 5.56 NATO suppressors. 

The Pentagon announced the $25,652,000 firm-fixed-price contract to KAC on behalf of the Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, Virginia. The five-year contract has a completion date of Sept. 20, 2027, for cans to be used on the service's M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle, M4 Carbine, and M4A1 Close Quarter Battle weapon.

The M27 IAR, produced by Heckler & Koch, is based on the company's select-fire HK416 rifle. First fielded in 2011, the platform has proven well-liked by the Devil Dogs and has been increasingly chosen for use to replace not only the M249 SAW light machine gun at the squad level but also planned to supplement the M4/M4A1 itself. 

U.S. Marines with 3rd Battalion 8th Marine Regiment fire the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle during a live-fire weapons exercise at range F-18 on Camp Lejeune, N.C., Dec. 8, 2017. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Michaela R. Gregory)

When it comes to suppressor-use by its warfighters, the Marines have been consistently striving to make them the standard rather than the exception. In 2016, the expeditionary-focused service moved to equip every element of a test battalion, from combat engineers to headquarters units, with suppressed weapons after company-level trials yielded results. 

“What we’ve found so far is it revolutionizes the way we fight,” Marine Maj. Gen. John Love said at the time. “It used to be a squad would be dispersed out over maybe 100 yards, so the squad leader couldn’t really communicate with the members at the far end because of all the noise of the weapons. Now they can actually just communicate, and be able to command and control and effectively direct those fires.”

By late 2017, the Marines were seeking information on the procurement of quantities of suppressors could span anywhere between 18,000 and 194,000 cans-- the latter figure enough for the entire service. 

Among the requirements for the devices and their muzzle device is an upper weight limit of 18-ounces and be capable of full-auto or otherwise sustained fire rates of “6 rounds per minute for 16 minutes, 40 seconds.”
 

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