XM-8 Rifle (Heckler & Koch)
Type of Equipment:
Flexible, heavy-duty weapons platform accommodates rifle and grenade launcher
Polymer "shell" can be replaced with shells of different colors, to blend in with
All weapon attachments, barrels, butts, and optics can be switched out by operator, without special tools or maintenance
Improved "pusher" gas piston cuts down on weapon jamming
Base configuration fires Remington .223 (a.k.a. the 5.56mm NATO) bullets; 20 mm grenades
Attachments include XM320 40mm single shot grenade launcher, and LSS (lightweight stand-off shotgun) 12-gauge shotgun that fires 2.75" and 3" 12
[edit on 26-8-2004 by Minime]
The development of the XM8 Lightweight Assault Rifle was initiated by US Army in the 2002, when contract was issued to the Alliant Techsystems Co of
USA to study possibilities of development of kinetic energy part of the XM29 OICW weapon into separate lightweight assault rifle, which could, in the
case of success, replace the aging M16A2 rifles and M4A1 carbines in US military service. XM8 is being developed by the Heckler-Koch USA, a subsidiary
of famous German Heckler-Koch company. According to the present plans, the XM8 should enter full production circa 2005, if not earlier, several years
before the XM29 OICW. The XM8 (M8 after its official adoption) should become a standard next generation US forces assault rifle. It will fire all
standard 5.56mm NATO ammunition, and, to further decrease the load on the future infantrymen, a new type of 5.56mm ammunition is now being developed.
This new ammunition will have composite cases, with brass bases and polymer walls, which will reduce weight of the complete ammunition, while
maintaining compatibility with all 5.56mm NATO weapons. Along with 20% weight reduction in the XM8 (compared to the current issue M4A1 carbine), this
will be a welcome move for any infantryman, already overloaded by protective, communications and other battle equipment.
The XM8 will be almost similar to the "KE" (kinetic energy) part of the XM29 OICW system, being different mostly in having a telescoped plastic
buttstock of adjustable length, and a detachable carrying handle with the sight rail.
As of mid-2004, XM8 now is undergoing wide-scale testing in several units of US Army, and is receiving a positive feedback.
The XM8 is a derivative of the Heckler-Koch G36 assault rifle, and thus it is almost similar to that rifle in design and functioning. XM8 features a
short piston stroke, gas operated action, with rotating bolt locking. Barrels are quick detachable, and planned to be available in several sizes,
ranging from 229 mm (9.5 inch) for Compact/PDW version, 318mm (12.5 inch) in Basic version, and two 508mm (20in) barrels, one for Sharpshooter/Sniper
version, and heavier one (along with bipod) for Squad Automatic Rifle role. The entire construction is modular and built around the polymer receiver
with bolt group; Magazine housings could be easily swapped for compatibility with various types of magazines; various buttstocks could be installed in
a second for various roles (standard buttstock is a telescoped 5 position adjustable one). Top of the receiver is fitted with proprietary sight rail,
which can accept illuminated red-dot (collimator) sight, or any other type of sighting equipment. Detachable forend will be available in various
sizes, and could be replaced with XM320 40mm grenade launcher (the improved HK AG36).
Ambidextrous fire controls are mounted on the trigger unit, integral with pistol grip and triggerguard, and in basic configuration are planned to
deliver single shots and full auto fire. The G36-type ambidextrous charging handle is located at the top of the receiver, below the removable carrying
[edit on 26-8-2004 by Minime]