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Retired Marine two-star leaves Colt Defense

Jan. 3, 2013 - 04:11PM   |   Last Updated: Jan. 3, 2013 - 04:11PM  |  
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A retired Marine general has left his executive post at a major gun maker to join a defense firm best known for developing nonlethal ammunition.

Retired Maj. Gen. James Battaglini left Colt Defense, of Hartford, Conn., to become director of military and international sales at Ultimate Training Munitions/Phoenix RBT Solutions, of North Branch, N.J. He'll lead the company's international and military sales, it announced Thursday in a news release.

Steve Didier, co-CEO of Phoenix RBT Solutions, said Battaglini "will play an instrumental role in the adoption and distribution of our product around the globe.

"His wide-ranging experience, coupled with his military background, make him the ideal candidate to oversee the sale of our non-lethal training ammunition system for the U.S. military and international customers," Didier said.

Battaglini, a retired infantry officer, served as the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Colt Defense. No reason was given for him leaving the company. The company makes a variety of weapons used by the military, including the M4 carbine, the M16A4 rifle and the M45 Close Quarter Battle Pistol.

Battaglini was a fierce defender of Colt's M4 when the weapon came under scrutiny in 2007 and 2008 after finishing last in reliability testing conducted by the Army. The service stayed with the carbine, but adopted several upgrades including ambidextrous controls and improvements to the bolt, bolt carrier and forward rail to increase effectiveness and accuracy.

Last year, the Army awarded a contract for M4 and M4A1 carbines worth up to $180 million to Remington Arms, drawing a protest from Colt, whose exclusive technical data rights on the weapon expired in 2009.

The Army announced details of a three-year, $30 million competition to decide on its next service weapon in 2011.

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