Many of the current conflicts are essentially infantry battles, which makes firepower overmatch a critical goal. Whether fired singly from an M203 rifle mount, used in a remote-control vehicle system like CROWS, or as an infantry platoon’s crew-served heavy weapon, the 40mm grenade brings considerable firepower to the infantry fight. It’s also lethal against unarmored or lightly armored vehicles. Some companies are even offering shotgun-style repeating launchers, like Milkor’s MG-32 – or even weapons that can be fired around corners!
As FY 2008 ticked down to a close, the US military issued over $120 million worth of contracts for its staple 40mm weapon – the Mk19 grenade machine gun. It also got set to begin testing an interesting addition to infantry firepower – a programmable 25mm air bust weapon that offers comparable lethality, but can be carried by a single soldier…
October 1st is the first day of the US military’s new fiscal year, which means its TRICARE medical contracts come into effect on that day. As one might image, quite a few TRICARE contracts were announced recently – over $900 million worth for FY 2009, and up to $4.66 billion from FY 2009 through FY 2013.
The Uniformed Services Family Health Plan (USFHP) contracts provide health care coverage to active duty military family members, plus all military retirees and their eligible family members – including those 65 years of age and over. There are 6 providers designated to provide the TRICARE Prime benefit to eligible beneficiaries under the USFHP, and all awards have been funded by Fiscal Year 2009 Defense Health Program funds. The US Department of Defense TRICARE Management Activity manages these contracts.
TRICARE is becoming a lot more expensive for the US Department of Defense, in part because of greater usage, and in part because of benefits increases with long-term cost implications. Military health care costs, which have doubled since 2001, could double again by 2015. See “TRICARE Trials and Tribulations” and “US DoD Trying to Slow Ballooning Prescription Drug Costs” for more background. TRICARE Prime Benefit contracts awarded to begin FY 2009 include: