The U.S. military awarded FN America a five-year contract on Feb. 13 worth $119,216,309 for M4 and M4A1 carbines chambered in 5.56 NATO. Terms of the agreement run through 2024, with five, one-year ordering periods specified in the terms. Approximately 167,195 firearms are included in the deal, and all firearms “…must be manufactured exclusively within the United State or its Territories.”
The news comes less than six months after the military selected three finalists for the Next Generation Squad Weapons (NGSW) contract, an indication the U.S. Armed Forces change to new firearms and ammunition may take much longer than expected. The NGSW competition is limited exclusively to firearms that chamber a hybrid 6.8 mm cartridge with its design at the discretion of the submitting company.
SIG Sauer’s NGSW submission is one of the trio still in the running, but while government engineers were busy evaluating entries, the company unveiled a radical new .277 SIG Fury cartridge—which happens to have that 6.8 mm bore diameter—to enthusiasts during the SHOT Show. The other finalists in the competition, Textron and General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, have been characteristically quiet. True Velocity ammunition did, however, confirm its composite-cased cartridge was part of the latter company’s submission.
FN America is experienced at producing reliable firearms for our armed forces. The company received its first U.S. military contract for M4s in February of 2013. The order for 120,000 M4A1s was valued at $77 million, each produced in its Columbia, SC, facility—a likely location for fulfilling the “made in the U.S. requirement.” Prior to that date Remington and Colt produced the 5.56 NATO carbines.
FN America is part of FN (Fabrique Nationale) Herstal, S.A., the famed gun manufacturer based in Herstal, Belgium. The company’s South Carolina plant also produces Mk19 grenade launchers and Mk46, Mk48 and M240 machine guns for the U.S. military.