Airtronic USA

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Airtronic USA, Inc., is an engineering design and manufacturing company, was founded in 1990 and incorporated in 1993. Its first initiative was an investigation of fully non-magnetic electronic headsets that could be used within Functional Echo-Planner Magnetic Resonnance systems (FMRI).[1]

History[edit]

In the course of early initiatives Airtronic USA developed relationships with medical and educational institutions and was a design consultant and prototype manufacturing facility to several Fortune 1000 firms.

In the late 1990s, Airtronic USA undertook a number of R&D and manufacturing projects for the U.S. Army, and today it works exclusively for the Department of Defense. It is a member of the National Small Arms Technology Consortium (NSATC) and the largest woman-owned small arms manufacturing company in the United States.[2]

Products[edit]

In 2003, Airtronic USA turned its attention sharply towards Department of Defense Initiatives. In 2004, it won an award to manufacture 9mm magazines using a fifteen-stage progressive die. It later developed a new design for a one-piece 30-round steel magazine, a product it also patented. Airtronic owns the tooling for both of these cartridge magazines.

Airtronic USA became a specialist in the 40mm small arms weapons space in 2006 when it won all three 40mm grenade launcher contracts – for the M203, the M203A1, and the M203A2 (TACOM Awards page: W52H0906D0200, W52H0906D0224, W52H0907D0173). Airtronic also developed a proprietary design for an M203 that can attach to an AK assault rifle.[3]

It holds the current five-year contract on the M203/M203A2 40mm Grenade Launchers (W52H0910D0173), and over the past six years Airtronic has produced over 50,000 units. There are more Airtronic M203s on battlefields around the world than any other brand. In 2012, Airtronic developed a proprietary Picatinny mounting bracket and extended receiver M203 40mm Grenade Launcher (M203EXPIC) which has a patent pending on it (Patent Office Application: 61601840, Patent Office Receipt: 12135406). The extended receiver permits operators to use longer rounds, including the Star Parachute round. An M203 made to the US Government Technical Data Package can fire these rounds, but it does not always cleanly eject the case.

With the guidance of the Joint Nonlethal Weapons Directorate at Quantico and working with two consortium partners, Metal Storm Australia and the Department of Science and Technology of the Australian Ministry of Defence, Airtronic USA is working to integrate a cost efficient managed lethality capability into the M203 40mm grenade launcher system. The consortium has reached TRL 7 and has demonstrated the system at the 2011 North American Technology Demonstration in Ottawa and at Camp Roberts in Paso Robles.[4] By managing the kinetic energy the system can deliver managed nonlethal force to a target 15, 50, and 120 meters using the same round. Films of this weapon in action and a fuller explanation can be viewed at Airtronic USA.

At the request of ARDEC Airtronic USA, Inc. recently developed a new version of the RPG-7 rocket launcher whose tube is machined not built from a casting and meets the USG standard of “safe, suitable, and effective.”.[5] This is a ubiquitous weapon in conflict zones from the Pacific to Africa, and TACOM named Airtronic sole source for this weapon[6] Airtronic has a patent pending on improvements made to the design of the RPG-7 (Patent Application: 61607751,Patent Office Confirmation: 5264).

Military users are always looking for lighter weight weapons, and Airtronic together with ATK teamed to reduce the weight of the RPG-7 rocket launcher. A launcher made from 4140/4150 steel weighs approximately 16.9 lbs. By overwrapping a steel liner with a carbon composite wrap the weight of the weapon has been reduced by approximately ten pounds to 7.77 lbs.[7] The teaming agreement with ATK has been terminated, but Airtronic has continued working on the initiative and expects to have weapons ready for shoulder-firing by the fourth quarter of 2012 with assistance from scientists at Benet Labs and Battelle. The MK 777 shares the same trigger group as the RPG-7, fires all standard RPG-7 rockets, and is guaranteed for 250 shots.

Small arms has always been the focus at Airtronic. Over the past half decade, Airtronic has supplied nearly a thousand M203 40mm Grenade Launchers to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and in May 2012, shipped them fully automatic M4A1 assault carbines (TACOM Awards Page: W56HZV11C0437). The Philippines Armed Forces have chosen to request M203s with extended receivers in current requirements documents to permit them to use the M203 in low light situations and to fire many of the new longer rounds. Their requirements documents also specify the Airtronic RPG-7 rocket launcher because a machined tube meets the US Government standard of “safe, suitable, and effective.” Thirty-two other countries manufacture RPG-7 rocket launchers, but only the Airtronic RPG-7 has a machined tube, every one of which is either magnetic particle inspected or dye penetrant inspected for voids.[8]

Product List[9][edit]

Airtronic RPG-7 USA[edit]

Features[edit]
  • Mil-Std-1913 Quad Rail System for mounting combat opics (optical sights), flip-up BUIS (Back Up Iron Sights), aiming lasers/illuminators, tactical white lights, and vertical foregrips
  • AR-15 Carbine-type Vertical Foregrip
  • AR-15/M16 Pistol Grip
  • M4/M4A1 Carbine Collapsible/Telescoping Buttstock

MK777 Lightweight Shoulder-Fired Recoilless Launcher[edit]

M9 Magazine[edit]

30-round One-Piece Magazine (Patented)[edit]

M203 40MM Grenade Launcher[edit]

M203A1 40MM Grenade Launcher[edit]

M203A2 40MM Grenade Launcher[edit]

M203AK 40MM Grenade Launcher[edit]

M203EXPIC 40MM Grenade Launcher (Picatinny Rail Mount System)[edit]

MLGLS (M203 Managed Lethality Grenade Launcher System)[edit]

Fully Automatic M4A1 Carbines[edit]

Finances[edit]

On March 13, 2012, Airtronic was placed into involuntary bankruptcy by five of its unsecured creditors: AFCO Products, Total Solutions Central, Fox Machine & Tool, Triple Edge Manufacturing, and Concise National Components. On May 16, 2012, Airtronic converted the Chapter 7 bankruptcy case to a Chapter 11 reorganization. On April 28, 2014 Airtronic exited the Chapter 11 bankruptcy after receiving a significant capital investment from two Texas investors.

Facility[edit]

Airtronic USA's high security place of performance is located at 116 North Lively Boulevard in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, the country's largest industrial park, approximately ninety miles from Rock Island Arsenal and just northwest of Chicago's O'Hare Airport. Its engineering and executive offices are located at 1860 Jarvis Avenue in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, approximately three quarters of a mile from the Lively Boulevard location.

Airtronic USA, Inc. also leases 65 acres (260,000 m2) approximately a half mile from the main facility for weapons performance testing.

Foreign sales[edit]

In 2012, Airtronic announced they were ready to take orders for their RPG-7. At the 2013 Great Military Parade of Peru, Peruvian Army Special Forces were seen with an Airtronic RPG-7 with an EOTech Holographic sight.[10] In January 2014, the Philippine Army ordered 400 Airtronic RPG-7s to replace their obsolete M18 and M67 recoilless rifles, with deliveries to be completed by the end of the year.[11]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Airtronic USA History". Airtronic USA. 
  2. ^ "Airtronic USA History". Airtronic USA. 
  3. ^ "M203AK". Airtronic USA. 
  4. ^ "SOCOM Report". SOCOM Report. 
  5. ^ "Airtronic RPG-7". Airtronic USA RPG-7. 
  6. ^ "FBO". FBO.gov. 
  7. ^ "MK777". MK777. 
  8. ^ "VIF2NE". Vif2nu.ru. 
  9. ^ "Airtronic USA Products". Airtronic USA. 
  10. ^ USA Now An Exporter Of The RPG-7 - Thefirearmblog.com, 1 August 2013
  11. ^ Philippines acquires RPG-7 (USA) for anti-armour operations - Janes.com, 13 January 2014