H-K cautious in GA

There’s been a dearth of news on the XM8 program lately, so we’re left to scrounge the Georgia employment reports for any info:

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue’s office announced Wednesday that the city is receiving $300,000 from the OneGeorgia Authority to help Sterling, Va.-based Heckler & Koch Defense open a plant in Columbus.

Nearly two years ago, H&K announced plans to construct a $20 million manufacturing facility in Muscogee Technology Park off Macon Road. The 100,000- to 150,000-square-foot plant would sit on 40 acres in the 1,500-acre park and employ more than 200 people.

The company, however, is still working to land a huge federal contract to make the XM8 assault rifle for the U.S. military. On Thursday, H&K said the $300,000 OneGeorgia grant will go toward the purchase of a 13,000-square-foot former Cessna facility in Columbus East Industrial Park. The company would not discuss how many jobs the smaller plant might create.

“This facility will serve as the warehouse, distribution, assembly and design center for HK Defense operations in North America,” H&K President Peter Simon said in a statement. “To accommodate the special logistical and security requirements of HK Defense, the building will need several modifications, which will be made by local firms from the Columbus, Ga., area. We continue to hold an option on the original factory site.”

Fryer said he anticipates working with H&K starting in July to begin hiring people to get the downsized plant operating. The pay range for some jobs will be $9 to $12 an hour, he said.

If anyone has any XM8 tips, send them to MO.

Comments

  1. The issue with the XM-8 has nothing to do with the weapons performance, but has everthing to do with politics. See web site: http://dodd.senate.gov/press/Releases/04/0709_b.htm This site has a copy of the letter sent by Colt Firearms to the pentagon. The letter was supported by several very powerful senators. At issue, is (1)Colt attempted to be the American supplier of the XM-8 but due to patent issues (Data Rights)was prohibited from making a the weapon. (2)Colt is claiming that the XM-8, violates a buy american law as the patent holder on the weapon is not an american company. (3)Due to a court ruling in 1997the pentagon, must use ‘best efforts’ to procure its small arms from Colt. (4) Colt is dependent on pentagon contracts, and the adoption of the XM-8 would result in Colt going out of business, thus ending Colt’s support of M16 & M4 rifles. After the Colt letter was written the congress killed the XM-8 funding. Thus ending the Amy’s planned buy of 9000 XM-8’s to equip a couple of brigades. As a result, the Army was forced to stop its planned adoption of the XM-8 and solicit competive bids. (nov 2004). In the Nov 2004 solicitation, the criteria proscribed for the weapon, are clearly steered towards adoption of the XM-8, as the criteria reads almost like an XM-8 spec sheet. An important addition to the requirements is that the Army wanted the Data rights to the weapon, that there can be multiple sources. (So the army would no longer have to deal with a sole source supplier, like Colt, for its weapons.) In response to Colt’s buy american claim. In January 2005 HK & General Dynamics jointly developed an ‘american’ gun company to produce the XM-8. An excellent history of weapon procurement is located on this site. However, the site is kind of scattered, with details on several small arms systems. http://www.thegunzone.com/556dw-7.html

  2. HK’s selection of building the plant in Georgia is no accident. Georgia’s Senator Chambliss, is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee,and has a well documented history of aggressively fighting for the military dollar. A discussion onf the building of the GA facility can be found on. http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Aug/23/mn/mn01a.html Per the National Defense Authorization Act fro 2005. There is supposed to be limited production of the XM-8. As I understand HK’s view on building the plant, I would assume that the contract for 3500 guns survived. If I hear about any details, I’ll let you knowl. ‘The budget request included $500,000 in Procurement of Weapons and Tracked Combat Vehicles, Army (WTCV-A), for 100 XM-8 assault weapons for production qualification testing. The XM-8 will provide a more capable weapon to soldiers. The committee notes that the Chief of Staff, Army, has identified a fiscal year 2005 unfunded requirement to acquire XM-8 weapons for two brigade combat teams. While the committee supports this requirement, the committee does not believe that a full rate production decision will be made in time for the Army to procure 7,000 weapons in fiscal year 2005. The committee recommends an increase of $13.0 million in WTCV-A, for 3,500 XM-8 assault weapons, for a total authorization of $13.5 million.’

  3. Colt is dependent on pentagon contracts, and the adoption of the XM-8 would result in Colt going out of business, thus ending Colt’s support of M16 & M4 rifles.’ But doesn’t FN manufacture all M-16s for the US Army and USMC? And would this mean that SCAR has no chance of winning the bid for the new rifle, assuming they took part, and all accounts pretty much say they did: ‘In 1988, Colt lost the contract for producing M16s for the military services to FN Manufacturing LLC, of Columbia, S.C. FN’s parent company, FN Herstal, of Liege, Belgium, is preparing its own proposal for the OICW, said Marvin Memmert, business unit manager for FN’s M16 and M249 programs. ‘It will be something completely different from the M16,’ he said. ‘It will be something along the lines of SCAR.’ SCAR is the special forces combat-assault rifle–a family of 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm weapons with a grenade-launcher attachment–that FN Herstal is producing for the U.S. Special Operations Command.’

  4. Gab – Colt does produce the M-16. In addition it owns the patents for both the M-16 & M4. Colt has licensed other companies to produce versions of the M-16. Colt is the sole source supplier of the M4. Colt has been playing fairly rough with its competitors. Colt is suing H&K for ‘Colt cited acts of trademark infringement, trade dress infringement, trademark dilution, false designation of origin, false advertising, patent infringement, unfair competition, and deceptive trade practices’ The specific issue: ‘In a transparent attempt to mislead potential customers into believing that they are buying ‘American Made’ products, Heckler & Koch, whose principal place of business is Oberndorf, Germany, falsely states that it will manufacture firearms in a plant in Georgia that does not yet exist. In fact, Heckler & Koch’s manufacturing and engineering is performed outside the country, according to the complaint.’ Basically Colt is doing a full court press against the XM-8. Colt’s is in danager of bankruptsy due to a long term trend of declining sales, and being sued over school violence & other handgun related lawsuits. As a way to control the lawsuit damage, Colt split into 2 companies. 1 military, 1 non military weapons. Additionally Colt has attempted to buy both H&K and FN Herstal with the goal of reducing the number of competitors. Both attempts failed. As for the SCAR being adopted. I doubt it. If FN Herstal is serious, they going to have to do what H&K did, create a joint venture with an american company. Even so, it appears that the Army is set on getting the XM-8. At this point, I believe that it would take an act of congress for H&K to not get the contract. That said, I would not be surprised if Colt managed to get enough political clout to override the army.

  5. Yeah, James, I posted at link to that letter at Sen. Dodd’s site at A-C-E on Sat. the 18th. Colt obviously doesn’t want to lose its sweetheart deal. Some in the Army wanted the XM8, but some very good alternates have come forth now that the bidding is open. I’m thinking, given the budget constraints right now, that nothing will be changed anytime soon. Like Murdoc said, the XM8 has all but disappeared off the radar screen, and H&K has postponed construction of its GA plant. Maybe the M16 family will last 50 years after all. If so, it will join an elite group of vehicles, planes, and weapons.

  6. this political wrangling is absolute nonsense, while i understand the financial ramifications for the companies involved,whats more at stake is the survivability of the next weapons end user’s.we have guys utilizing a weapon that, while under the right circumstances,just gets the job done,we now have the potential,knowe how and technology to give him something even better. the more these arms companies bicker over contracts,rights,and corperate legality,our guys go under armed into the face of danger.last time i checked,wars are fought with guns,not legal documents,profit spread sheets,and contract bids. the enemy understands copper jacketed lead not corperate mission statements.

  7. I’d like to see how Robinson Armaments new XCR would stand up in testing. It’s modular for caliber, so if the military changes the round it uses, you just pay 300-400 $ for a change over kit, rather than buying new weapons, or paying 6-7 hundred for rechambering. All profits from a Robinson-built weapon would go to american workers, in an american factory. Big plus in my book. All profits from the xm-8 would end up in germany. Not america. Sure, the workers in an h&k factory in Georgia would be americans, but the profit margin still goes to their hq in germany.

  8. Beat me too it Chad. I’m still trying to sell my HK91A2 so that I can get enough together for an XCR with a caliber swap. Still trying to get them and Alexander arms talking so I can make my order a 5.56 XCR with a 6.5 Grendel conversion. Then maybe I can get someone to put together a barrel for my 7.62×39’American’ idea. But I digress. I’m suprised DSA isn’t catching hell for thier GTC-Z4 carbine…which is just an M4 with a gas piston conversion. Didn’t Colt develop a piston version as well, and it just kinda flopped?

  9. thats as good an alternative as iv’e heard in a long while.seeings how robinson got the short end after the sofcar/scar trails. would be nice to see them win out with this new bid.i especially like the quick change barrel arrangement of the XCR-L,because it lends itself better function in the squad support role,as called for in the picatinny arsenals pre-solicitation notice.having a non-belt fed weapon without a barrel change function kinda negates the whole point of sustained fire. to add on,the controls aren’t all that much different from the existing baseline m-16/m-4 series,so cross training time on a new weapon would be minimal.seems like a no-brainer.

  10. Colt complaining that they will go out of buisness is true but they are monopolizing the market with that aggreement that the army has to try to go threw them for small arms microsoft cant monopolize the computer industry why does colt get to monopolize the army

  11. XM-8 news. talking with an overseas HK agent, about 4 months ago. He said, another country is looking at buying a few thousand XM-8’s. Haven’t heard any more about it though. Are the rumours true that HK is going to drop the MP7 from its product line. This information from Australian Army Procurement Officer.