The Marine Corps just selected Trijicon Inc. to make the new Squad Common Optic the service plans to start fielding in fiscal 2021.
The Feb. 21 contract, worth up to $64 million, will pay Trijicon to manufacture up to 19,000 Squad Common Optic (SCO) devices, a variable-powered optic that will allow Marines to engage targets at greater distances than the service's current 4X fixed-power Rifle Combat Optic (RCO), which is also made by Trijicon, according to a recent news release from Marine Corps Systems Command.
"The Squad Common Optic provides greater lethality compared to the existing system, the Rifle Combat Optic," Lt. Col. Tim Hough, Marine Corps Systems Command's Program Manager for Infantry Weapons, said in the release.
In 2018, the Marine Corps began looking for a new optic that could be used with the M4 carbine and the M27 infantry automatic rifle that features an illuminated central aiming point visible in daylight conditions, as well as no point of aim shift when adjusting through the optic's magnification range.
The SCO is a magnified day optic that improves target acquisition and probability-of-hit with infantry rifles, the release states. The system's non-caliber-specific reticle incorporates both an illuminated and non-illuminated aim point, it adds.
"The SCO supplements the attrition and replacement of the RCO Family of Optics and the Squad Day Optic for the M27, M4 and M4A1 weapon platforms for close-combat Marines," Tom Dever, interim team lead for Combat Optics at Marine Corps Systems Command, said in the release.
The Marine Corps was able to save approximately $8 million across the life of the program by awarding the contract through a full and open competition, Hough said in the release.
Fielding of the new SCO is scheduled to be complete by fiscal 2023, according to the release.
Hough and Dever emphasized that the contract award is only one step in Program Manager for Infantry Weapon's large-scale project to overhaul the Corps' close-combat forces and improve their lethality.
"While the contract award is great, we're not done yet," said Dever.
"Success is not found in contracts awarded, but rather it's measured in confirmed kills. By awarding this contract faster, it expedites our ability to get this system in the hands of Marines to accomplish this end goal," he said.
-- Matthew Cox can be reached at email@example.com.