Industry News: Volume 3, Number 1

U.S. Export Control Reform
On December 9, President Obama announced that, as part of the Administration’s effort to reform the export control system, the Departments of Commerce and State had each published a proposed regulation and a request for comments.

The first proposed regulation would create a new license exception that would authorize the unlicensed export, with conditions, to (a) a group of 37 allied and partner countries of most items on the Commerce Control List and (b) a larger group of countries of less sensitive, “basic list” items for civil end uses.  The proposed exception would impose new requirements to provide safeguards against possible unauthorized re-exports, including notification, destination control statement and consignee certifications.

The second proposed regulation requests public comment on (a) ways to make the list of items controlled more clear and “positive” and (b) the availability of said controlled items outside of the United States and the group of 37 other countries.

Freedom Group Closing Bushmaster Factory in Windham, Maine
Effective March 31, 2011, Bushmaster Firearms International’s manufacturing facilities in Windham, Maine will be closed and manufacturing of all Bushmaster products moved to other Freedom Group facilities.  Freedom Group’s Chairman John Blystone said, “We are continuing to adjust our operations in order to remain competitive and continue to grow.  Given increasing costs and pricing pressures affecting the entire firearms industry, this action is clearly necessary and responsible.”  Bushmaster, one of the hard-charging companies during last year’s boom in “black rifles” seems to be another smaller facility being phased out by Freedom Group’s unrelenting drive to achieve manufacturing and distribution efficiencies.

Thompson/Center New Hampshire Facility Closing
Smith & Wesson has announced that the Thompson/Center manufacturing facilities in Rochester, New Hampshire will also be closing.  Smith & Wesson CEO Michael Golden described the Thompson/Center closure as a move to, “streamline our firearms manufacturing processes and improve our margins.”  Some Thompson employees are being offered relocation packages to Smith and Wesson’s headquarters in Springfield, Massachusetts; the remainder will be given severance packages.

CamelBak Products, LLC, announced that its Chem Bio Reservoir X (CBR X), the next-generation of hydration safety equipment, meets the U.S. Army’s stringent requirements for a Multi-Purpose Personal Hydration System and is able to withstand 6 hours of chemical challenge after the rigors of 30 days of use, making it easier and safer to stay hydrated in a CBRN threat environment.  The product is safe for everyday use and suitable for hydrating with military gas mask during a chemical or biological incident.  “We design, test and manufacture our hydration systems to perform in the most challenging and lethal environments in the world,” said Sally McCoy, CEO of CamelBak.  CamelBak first introduced its first chemical and biological resistant reservoir in 2000 to ensure safe, hands-free hydration while wearing protective masks and related clothing.

Smith and Wesson
Smith & Wesson announced today that the Springfield, MA Police Department has chosen to equip all of its officers with primary duty side arms from the company’s Military & Police (M&P) Pistol Series.  The M&P40 will be issued to each officer to replace pistols that had previously been in service at the department.  Springfield PD has received a total of 580 M&P40 pistols and is currently in the process of transitioning officers over to the new firearms.

Aimpoint, the originator and worldwide leader in electronic red dot sighting technology, announced that the company’s shipments of M68 Close Combat Optics under contract to the U.S. Army recently passed a total of one million sights.  Contracts for the M68CCO have been issued to Aimpoint by the U.S. Military since 1997, and continue with shipments as part of the latest contract for 565,000 sights awarded to the company in August, 2009.

“The continuous use of Aimpoint sights by the United States Army for the past 14 years is a great honor for our company, and passing the one million sight mark is indeed a momentous achievement.” said Lennart Ljungfelt, President of Aimpoint AB.  “The M68 Close Combat Optic has continued to evolve and improve over the years with feedback from our experience during use with the U.S. Army, and we look forward to continuing to meet future requirements as they arise.”

ATK received additional orders for small-caliber ammunition under an Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contract with the U.S. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island Contracting Center.  These orders total more than $213 million for a mix of 5.56mm, 7.62mm, and .50 caliber ammunition to be produced by ATK at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant (LCAAP) in Independence, Mo.

ATK Small Caliber Systems is a global leader in affordable high-volume, high-quality manufacturing of small-caliber ammunition.  Since 2000 when it began operating the Lake City plant, ATK has produced more than 10 billion rounds, while successfully executing the modernization of the facility.