XM8 in trouble?

XM8 Rifle Program in Trouble? ‘Sources Sought’ Notice Issued.

Defense Review notes that the Army has put out a request to suppliers for a

Non-Developmental multi- configurable 5.56mm modular weapon system. The system shall consist of four variants to include: Special Compact (SC), Carbine, Designated Marksman (DM), and Light Machine Gun (LMG) (or Auto Rifle). All variants need to function in both semi-automatic and automatic firing modes, with the LMG primary firing mode being full auto. The SC variant will provide Soldiers an enhanced close quarter battle capability providing effective lethality through 150m. The Carbine is slated to be the standard issue individual combat weapon with an effective range through 500m. The DM variant will provide accurate fire at longer ranges as well as offering an automatic rifle capability. The LMG variant will offer the role of suppressive fire through 600m.

That sounds suspiciously like the XM8. If the military is looking for another weapon of that type, it may signal the end of the XM8.

Defense Review has heard unconfirmed reports that the XM8 suffered mechanical failures during some recent testing.

I’ll keep an eye out for additional info. And if anyone out there has some, feel free to, you know, TELL ME. (via ACE)

UPDATE: I also note that ACE has posted a picture of Col. John “Hannibal” Smith of the A-Team on his masthead.

Is it just me, or is ripping off A-Team characters on your web site completely *cheesy*? I mean, COME ON.

Show some class.

Head over to ACE, check it out, and if you agree with me flood him with protest emails and comments. This sort of offensive behavior cannot go unchecked.

Comments

  1. Very funny, Murdoc. Keep it up and I’m gonna sic the big guy with the chains on ya! Re. the XM8 program, I thought just occurred to me: Perhaps somebody skipped a few procedural steps in the government procurement process, and all they are doing in catching up on the paperwork, with every intention of continuing the program and giving the contract to HK, which has already built a plant near Ft. Benning in Columbus, GA (as you know). Just a thought.

  2. [innocent look] What’s ‘very funny’? I’m just trying to keep order around here. [/innocent look] And yes, I wondered about the possibility of paperwork/approvals being behind this. I have to deal with that sort of thing all the time where I work. In fact, I just had to deal with it this morning. It seems weird that they’d do it without saying anything else, though. I’m just waiting to hear more.

  3. I always found it funny that the XM-8 and all it’s variants popped out of nowhere. I always assumed that it was an evolution of the SABR program, but that was never intended to replace all the US service rifles. In fact the US Army never asked for any sollicitations (spelling), it just……….happened!

  4. Murdoc, If the XM8 program was broken, then they would be starting from scratch and wouldn’t have requested a ‘NON-developmental’ system [emphasis mine]. I don’t know if you read the whole request, but IMHO it reads like beaurocratic cover-you-ass. They want to buy XM8 but are required to bid-out the contract in case anyone else out there (i.e. American arms manufacturers) can meet the same criteria. The request is specific about weight, reliability and modularity. Basically, they are saying ‘if you can give us what H&K can and its either cheaper or otherwise better, we’ll listen’. However, everyone knows that there is no non-developmental weapon system out there that that does everything listed (regardless of what all the AR fanbois are saying).

  5. The ‘non-developmental’ phrase raaise a red flag in my mind also. Daniel E. Watters, who is extremely knowledgeable about firearms, offered this in a comment to my ACE post: ‘I suspect that some SCAR candidates are going to get dusted off and resubmitted for this one. The SCAR candidates already have three of the four models covered, and not even the XM8 can meet all of the requirements for the LMG variant. Also note the part in the announcement concerning production rights. This is a big ‘Screw you!’ to Colt over the infamous ‘M4 Addendum’ to the Licensing Agreement for the M16/M4 Technical Data Package (TDP). Colt has exclusive rights to M4 production until 2009-10, and will require royalties until 2050 on any second-source production. You might be wondering ‘Why did the Army agree to this?’ It turns out that someone at Rock Island Arsenal inadvertantly released the M4’s TDP to someone at at NSWC-Crane. Crane turned around and released the TDP to 20 firms in a solicitation related to the SOPMOD program. One of the firms in question was FNMI. Colt threatened to sue to the tune of $43.5 and 70 million, and to terminate the government’s rights to use the TDP for second-sourcing M16 production and contracting for other parts and accessories.’ I’m not sure I understand all that, except that things are more complicated than we know. We might see another manufacturer trying to step up and take the contract, and suing if it doesn’t get it.

  6. Chuck and ACE: Thanks big-time for the comments. I, too, was scratching my head over the ‘Non-developmental’ tag and the specs called for are why I wrote ‘That sounds suspiciously like the XM8’. I couldn’t figure out what could be so wrong with the XM8 that the program might have to be ditched but wasn’t so bad as to torpedo the entire concept. That’s why I wrote I’d keep an eye out for additional info and didn’t really go into Murdoc-esque droning about little details and the 5.56 round and so on. I knew there had to be a lot more to the story than I was seeing or understanding. Thanks for posting your thoughts. As I’ve said before, I’m not a gun expert AT ALL. I just accidentally ended up being one of the collection points for XM8 news, I think. And the comments from much-more-informed readers has really got good discussions going on some of my XM8 posts. Keep those cards and letters coming, folks!

  7. Working with the other family members of the XM-8 family (spcifically the xm308 OCSW), it is obvious that some faction of the Army wants more lethality out of its weapon systems. The Army also knows that with NATO using the 5.56, they are not going to get away with changing ammunition without changing the weapon system. They started with the ATK/HK dual gun (25 mm grenade and 5.56) – it just got too heavy. The Army is trying to get a lighter weapon that is more effective – not realizing the laws of physics make lighter less effective (recoil can make a soldier flinch and reduce his probability of a hit – less weight on the gun means more recoil energy into the soldier). As to the LMG role, there is a M16 varient upper that will accept belt fed ammo or magazine feed, and do it far better than the SAW (Shrike?). As an interesting note – Just before the U.S. went into Afganistan, the Government pulled all of the National Match M-14 rifles from the State Rifle Competition teams – and they started showing up as Sniper rifles and Sniper Support weapons. Seams the M-16 and 5.56 does not have what it takes for the long range role (which means the xm-8 will not cut it either). …and the 6.8 Remington SPC (possible 5.56 replacement) is good at close combat, but it looses on the long range also. Maybe its time for the Grendel (6.5 PPC Varient) that seems to be almost the 7.62 in the M14, but fits into the M16/M4 varient. for what its worth…….

  8. Of course Lighter is what the Army wants to be more mobile. That is one of the reasons why the Styker is so popular with the Army Brass. Of course the Styker works for the troops too, so that is why they like it. Have you seen the Styker MCS yet? It has the M1 Abrahms cannon on the Styker Chassis.

  9. Hey Garfield, I also saw that along with the MCS, There is an FCS (future combat vehicle), that is supposively going to replace the M1 Abrams in the near future. truth or myth?

  10. Remember an item in SOF a couple of months back about how the Connecticut congressional delegation was trying to strong-arm the Army into giving Colt the XM8 contract? Hmmm.

  11. The SOC is going with the FN SCAR, per an Army Times article. More at the other A-Team blog. The days of a standard service rifle across the services seem to be over.

  12. I dont think they would skip the XM8 program because a couple of flaws, by all means, It has been a succesful project since 2002. By the way, I know there is a piccatiny rail for the XM8 compact Carbine. But will there be one for the other versions?

  13. I’m lead to believe that since all parts are interchangeable, all versions would have the rail. It is a modular system with a common base

  14. I really not to sure of the failures with the xm8, but was wondering if someone could email me telling me what was wrong with the testing, and why they stoped productions. Thanks, Matt

  15. Developed just for special forces? Sounds like a waste of resources. IMHO, it ought to be the JSF of small arms.

  16. The XM8 is *not* just for Special Forces. In fact, SOCOM is going with a different weapon altogether. The XM8 is intended as the replacement for the M16/M4 system for the entire regular Army.

  17. is it possible that the military as a whole may be looking at something along the lines of the proposed SCAR instead of the XM8?

  18. A few regular army guys I know have pointed out that standard mounting rails have been omitted on the XM8 for a completely new modular modification system designed by H&K. Instead of the ridges mounting rails on the top,sides, and bottom, simple holes have been placed in the plastic cover. It would be easy to assume that H&K will be making the new modular additions for the system (long range scopes, flashlight/IR mounts, vertical foregrips, etc.) and plans to corner the market for them… Don’t forget the new M320 grenade launcher forcibly replacing the M204. It may be better, but it’s still cornering the market, and possibly making the personal investments of tens of thousands of our servicemen and women potentially outdated and worthless. These servicemen may just be simply uninformed, but who better to listen to than the people who’ll be carrying it and trusting their lives to it on the other side of the world.

  19. I have heard that the reason the XM 8 has been put on hold is because Robinson Arms has put out a MUCH better system called the XCR capable of changing calibers between 5.56, 6.8, 7.62×39 and 7.62.51 within 5 minutes!!! It is also has a much stronger design then the German gun to suit these more powerful calibers. Their web site is at http://www.robarm.com/xcrtm_modular_weapon_system.htm Its ergonomics, features, and performance shame the XM 8 and the best part is … ITS AMERICAN!!! The XM 8 is just a German G 38 rifle with a different plastic cover. It’s shameful that a country as great as America would even consider buying a weapon from this country of sniveling French loving cowards. Supporting the equipping of our troops with the XM 8 is the equivalent of spitting on every Jew who was a victim of the holocaust and every American soldier who died defending our country from these filthy Germans. WE SHOULD NEVER, EVER, BUY OUR GUNS FROM THE HUNS!!!! It is a moral outrage when there is a superior gun right here in the USA. I would encourage everybody who reads this to write their congress people and let them know that the Army wants to buy our guns from the same country that refuses to stand up with us against Islamic terror but had no problem murdering millions of unarmed Jews and their children. DONT ALLOW THIS NATION TO BE DEFENDED BY THE GUNS DESIGNED AND SOLD BY THESE GERMAN MONSTERS!!! German guns have always been designed to kill women and children, not defend Democracy. I sincerely hope you feel the outrage I feel and hope even more that you will join me in fighting it! This really is something the euro loving Liberals have come up with and it is un-American to support it.

  20. I have heard that the reason the XM 8 has been put on hold is because Robinson Arms has put out a MUCH better system called the XCR capable of changing calibers between 5.56, 6.8, 7.62×39 and 7.62.51 within 5 minutes!!! It is also has a much stronger design then the German gun to suit these more powerful calibers. Their web site is at http://www.robarm.com/xcrtm_modular_weapon_system.htm Its ergonomics, features, and performance shame the XM 8 and the best part is … ITS AMERICAN!!! The XM 8 is just a German G 38 rifle with a different plastic cover. It’s shameful that a country as great as America would even consider buying a weapon from this country. WE SHOULD NEVER, EVER, BUY OUR GUNS FROM THE HUNS!!!! It is a moral outrage when there is a superior gun right here in the USA. I would encourage everybody who reads this to write their congress people and let them know that the Army wants to buy our guns from the same country that refuses to stand up with us against Islamic terror. I sincerely hope you feel the outrage I feel and hope even more that you will join me in fighting it! This really is something the euro loving Liberals have come up with and it is un-American to support it.

  21. as a german citizen I was pretty shocked, when I read the comment by allamerican. we germans carry a heavy burden with our past. the things that have been done by german people before and during the second world war shurely have been some of the most evil crimes the world has ever seen and there is and there will never be any excuse for that. But it is a shame to see that even today germans get blamed for crimes that some of our ancestors have commited in a time, when most of us haven’t even been born, in order to divert the world’s eyes from crimes against humanity commited by americans and others in the past (hiroshima, nagasaki, agent orange, segregation, kkk etc.) as well. and when i read phrases like ‘it is un-American to support this’ i see myself faced not by american patriotism, but the worst form of arrogance i’ve ever seen. i can only hope that the majority of the american population is more like the people i remember from my last visit in the us. and if you believe it righteous to attack a country under the excuse of the possibility that this country has biological or chemical weapons, that till today haven’t been found, and to create a mess of destruction and anarchy and if you expect us to support you in this then think again!

  22. Back to the XM8 to prevent a political battle, I just wanred to tell you that SmartParts, a respectable paintball company, has just released their newest marker, the SP8. The SP8 is a replica of the XM8 and is only $450. It is also based on the Ion, which is a decent tournament gun. I suggest that you check it out. http://www.smartparts.com/Products/SP8.aspx PS: As an true American I apologize to icone for AllAmericans comments. Although I see his desire to use our own weapons, there is no problem with German weapons. Mistakes have been made by both countries in the past and should not affect the judgements of today.

  23. Does anyone know if the x-m8 will be going to the marine corps. or any other branch of the military, or will the rifle only go to the Army ?