The year ahead is rife with plans to develop and introduce new gear including mortar rounds, sniper rifles, uniforms and improvised explosive device detectors.
On the munitions front, developers will push forward with the 81mm Non-Lethal InDirect Fire Munition. The mortar, able to deliver 14 flash-bang rounds on a target, is fired like a standard mortar and provides Marines a long-range, non-lethal option to suppress enemy forces and deny territory even when around civilians. The round, recently tested in December, will be presented to Marine Corps Systems Command in 2015 in an effort to make it a standard munition.
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Additionally, a live-fire test in 2015 will bring the 120mm Precision Extended Range Munition a step closer to the battlefield. PERM — designed for the service's towable Expeditionary Fire Support System — would provide Marines with a guided mortar that can reach up to about 12 miles.
Also, 2015 will likely see a contract award to produce an improved targeting system for the Shoulder-launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon. The system will use an integrated thermal weapon sight and laser range finder to make the launcher lighter, more accurate and easier to maintain.
Marine snipers will begin seeing an improved version of the tried and true M40, designated the M40A6. In early November, the service awarded Remington Defense a contract to provide up to 2,000 modular stocks, spares and magazines, according to the company's website.
On the uniform front, the development of a tropical lightweight uniform remains an ongoing effort. Marine officials also want to purchase up to 35,000 updated Inclement Weather Combat Shirts this year. Mostly in woodland pattern, they should use lighter fabrics that are more comfortable, durable and flexible.