Joint Services Small Arms Program (JSSAP)
The Joint Services Small Arms Program (JSSAP) is the joint service office responsible for small arms research and development across the US military. All JSSAP efforts are based upon the Joint Service Small Arms Master Plan (JSSAMP), Mission Needs Statements, and Operational Requirements Documents of the Services. The US Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (RDECOM) at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey, primarily manages this effort, but ransition paths were eventually established in coordination with the relevant entities within the US Army, US Marine Corps, and the US Special Operations Command.
The Joint Services Small Arms Program (JSSAP) was established in December 1978. JSSAP was quickly involved in Joint Service Rifle Product Improvement Program for the M16 rifle, which resulted in the M16A2 rifle. During the early 1980s, JSSAP also worked on armor-piercing ammunition (including saboted lightweight armor penetrators) and a Future Rifle Program, which includes development work on a rail accessory system, which would eventually lead to the M16A4 and the Modular Weapon System. The Future Rifle Program itself morphed into the Advanced Combat Rifle program, run by the US Army.
In 1986 the US Army Infantry School at Fort Benning published the "Small Arms System 2000" (SAS-2000). Despite the trends towards caseless and fleschette ammunition, researched and developed under the Advanced Combat Rifle (ACR) program, this paper stated that conventional small arms had already reached its technological peak. It argued that the only way to increase hit probability in small arms was to introduce a weapon that would fire explosive and fragmentation warheads, combined with smart fusing and sighting / aiming technologies. While most small arms research during the late 1980s in the USA was conducted under the Advanced Combat Rifle program, the ideas developed in the SAS-2000 were supported by the US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC).
In 1989, TRADOC published the Small Arms Master Plan (SAMP), which eventually morphed into a Joint Services Small Arms Master Plan (JSSAMP), and called for a family of infantry "Objective" weapons, namely the Objective Individual Combat Weapon (OICW), Objective Personal Defense Weapon (OPDW), and the Objective Crew Served Weapon (OCSW). The SAMP stated that such weapons had to utilize the latest developments in computers and visual technologies. They would combine both high explosive warheads and traditional bullets fired by a single weapon, that would be fielded by the year 2000. The timelines and most of the weight and cost requirements set in this paper looked unrealistic from the start, but the development of the Objective weapons began in the early 1990s. What became titled the Objective Family of Small Arms (OFSA) remained the primary focus of the JSSAP throughout the 1990s.
In FY00, the JSSAP funded several the OICW Advanced Technology Demonstration (ATD), the OCSW ATD, controlled penetration ammunition, intended to minimize collateral damage in confined operational environments, and a new joint service combat shotgun meeting the requirements of all the Services, increasing versatility, and reducing logistics burden.
In FY01, JSSAP funded efforts included component technologies for the OCSW, the OICW system enhancements, Light Fighter Lethality, and Advanced Medium Machine Gun Technology. The technology enhancement efforts were to assure that the OFSA, the planned next generation of weapons systems, continued to overmatch the evolving threat and address the needs of the Objective Force. JSSAP efforts were based upon the JSSAMP, Mission Needs Statements, and Operational Requirements Documents of the Services. The cited work was consistent with the Army Science and Technology Master Plan (ASTMP), the Army Modernization Plan, and Project Reliance.
Between 2003 and 2004, the JSSAP transitioned the OICW and what had become the Advanced Crew Served Weapon (ASCW; formerly known as the OCSW) to other activities with the US Army and had begun to focus more heavily on lightweight weapons and ammunition technologies with the goal of developing a lightweight replacement for the 5.56mm M855 cartridge for use in existing conventional weapons and the XM8 lightweight carbine.
In FY06, JSSAP funded component technologies for the Lightweight Machine Gun and Ammunition (LMGA) and Lightweight 5.56mm Ammunition (LWA), which was to compliment the OICW and OCSW efforts. JSSAP efforts were based upon the JSSAMP, the Joint Capabilities Integration Development System’s Small Arms Analyses, and the resulting Capabilities Development Documents of the Services. The cited work was consistent with the Strategic Planning Guidance, the Army Science and Technology Master Plan (ASTMP) and the Defense Technology Area Plan (DTAP).
In FY07, the JSSAP continued focused on the design and evaluation of component technologies for the Lightweight Machine Gun and Ammunition (LMGA) effort. JSSAP efforts were based upon the JSSAMP, the Joint Capabilities Integration Development System's Small Arms Analyses, and the resulting Capabilities Development Documents of the Services. The cited work was consistent with the Strategic Planning Guidance, the ASTMP, and the DTAP.
In FY08, the main JSSAP effort was the Lightweight Small Arms Technologies (LSAT) program, previously known as the LGMA program. These efforts followed the Joint Service Small Arms Master Plan (JSSAMP), the Joint Capabilities Integration Development System (JCIDS) Small Arms Analysis, and the resulting Capabilities Development Documents. The cited work was consistent with the Strategic Planning Guidance, the ASTMP, and the DTAP.
LSAT remained the primary effort in FY09, where the cited work was consistent with the Department of Defense Research and Engineering Strategic Plan, the Army Science and Technology Master Plan, the Army Modernization Strategy, and the Army Posture Statement. Other JSSAP funds in FY09 were allocated for the development of technologies to improve small arms lethality, utility, and technical fire control via new projectile designs, warheads and target locating, and aiming devices. Joint user requirements for small arms evolved with an emphasis on increased lethality and range accuracy on moving targets.
In FY11, JSSAP worked on efforts relating to Advanced Lethal Armament Technology for Small Arms and Advanced Fire Control Technology for Small Arms. The first effort addressed terminal effects and launch aspects of small arms weapon systems. The second effort addressed advanced fire control technologies to reduce miss distance of small arms weapon systems. JSSAP also continued to support the maturation and demonstration of the LSAT program. All efforts are based upon the JSSAMP, the Joint Capabilities Integration Development System's Small Arms Analysis, and the resulting Capabilities Development Documents for the Services. The cited work was consistent with the Director, Defense Research and Engineering Strategic Plan, the Army Modernization Strategy, and the ASTMP.
The FY13 JSSAP budget proposal including requests for continued funding of the Lightweight Small Arms Systems program (LSAS; previously known as the LSAT program), Small Arms Technology Assessment and Effectiveness Modeling, Small Arms Weapons and Fire Control Integration, and Small Arms Grenade Munitions Integration and Evaluation.
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