ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Nov. 25 (UPI) -- General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems and Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. have joined forces in pursuit of a contract to supply a new 9mm handgun to the U.S. Army.
The firearm, for the Army's Modular Handgun System solicitation, will be based on Smith & Wesson's M&P polymer pistol platform, which features a reinforced polymer chassis and ambidextrous controls and which is carried by law enforcement personnel around the world.
"This partnership combines General Dynamics' proven legacy in manufacturing military armaments with Smith & Wesson's extensive experience in designing and manufacturing firearms for commercial applications," said Tim McAuliffe, vice president and general manager of medium caliber ammunition and weapons for General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems. "General Dynamics' extensive background in winning and managing military contracts brings proven leadership to the venture and by joining together, we will use our combined knowledge and expertise to bring this unique capability to the U.S. military to better equip the warfighter."
The Army's draft MHS solicitation identifies design and performance requirements for a new modular handgun that can be adjusted to fit all hand sizes and is optimized for improved gun, ammunition and magazine performance.
The competition to supply the weapon is scheduled to start in January, with delivery of the first new handgun systems in 2017.
The standard U.S. Army sidearm is a 9mm pistol from Beretta, which in 1985 replaced the .45 caliber pistol in use since 1911.
"The strategic partnership between our two companies provides us with a tremendous opportunity to support our military with a state-of-the-art sidearm, namely our M&P pistol," said Smith & Wesson President and Chief Executive Officer James Deb. "General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems brings us a wealth of experience and resource in federal government contracting and that capability is an ideal match with our knowledge in handgun manufacturing technology. "