LONDON (Agencies): The UK Ministry of Defence, in collaboration with its Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) division, has officially announced a significant contract award for the Alternative Individual Weapon (AIW) system, designated as the L403A1 within the UK military. On September 7, DE&S finalized an initial contract valued at GBP 15 million (USD 18.7 million) for 1,620 AIW systems, with provisions for an additional 10,000 systems, bringing the potential total contract value to GBP 90 million.
These AIW systems are slated to become standard equipment for the British Army and the Royal Marines, with initial deployment scheduled for the Army Special Operations Brigade. The Ranger Regiment within this brigade is expected to receive the AIW later in 2023.
The UK-based prime contractor, Edgar Brothers, has been entrusted with the task of sourcing and assembling AIW subsystems. The AIW system itself, known as the Knight’s Stoner 1 (KS-1) 5.56mm rifle, is manufactured by Knights Armament Company, and it features an optical sight with magnification supplied by Vortex Optics, both reputable US companies.