Capco to supply M320 and M320A1 40mm grenade launchers to U.S. Army
Capco LLC, Grand Junction, Colorado, was awarded a $33,600,571 firm-fixed-price contract for 40 mm M320 and 40 mm M320A1 grenade launchers. Bids were solicited via the internet with one received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of April 26, 2025. U.S. Army Contracting Command, New Jersey, is the contracting activity.
U.S. soldier fires an M320 grenade launcher at Bemowo Piskie, Poland, Jan. 28, 2020 (Picture source: U.S. Army)
In 2004, the U.S. Army announced a requirement for a commercial off-the-shelf 40 mm grenade launcher. It had to be more reliable, ergonomic, accurate, and safer than the M203. It had to be able to fire all 40 mm low-velocity grenades, but be loaded from the breech to accept future longer projectiles. Heckler & Koch's submission was selected in May 2005.
After the U.S. Army at Picatinny Arsenal conducted a competitive bidding process for a new 40 mm grenade launching system, Heckler & Koch was awarded a contract to provide the XM320 beginning in 2006. The M320 was developed from but is not identical to the Heckler & Koch AG36 (a key distinguishing feature being the addition of a folding foregrip ahead of the trigger for use when the weapon is in a stand-alone configuration, a feature the AG36 lacks). The M320 entered production in November 2008.
Fielding of the M320 was planned to begin in February 2009, with 71,600 GLMs planned to phase out the M203 by 2015. The weapon was officially fielded in July 2009 at Fort Bragg by the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. In June 2017, Bravo Company, 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion became the first U.S. Marine Corps unit to be issued the M320. Following initial experiments, the Marines expect to issue 7,000 launchers between 2019 and 2022.
The M320 has three major parts: a grenade launcher with a rifled barrel, Day/Night Sight (DNS) produced by Insight Technology, Inc and a handheld Laser Range Finder (LRF). The M320 can be used in two ways: it can be attached to the M16 assault rifle, M4 carbine, CAR-15 carbine, or other rifles, attaching under the barrel forward of the magazine, or it can be used dismounted with a stock attached as a stand-alone model. The M320 is one of two 40 mm grenade launchers capable of firing Pike Missile (developed by Raytheon) without modification—the other being the FN EGLM (Enhanced Grenade Launching Module) developed for the FN SCAR.