Happy Halloween XM8 fans

A reader tipped me off to this amendment to the solicitation for the OICW Increment 1, which the XM8 and other assault rifle systems were competing for. The important bits:

The purpose of this Amendment is to CANCEL Solicitation W15QKN-05-R-0449, OICW Increment One.

This action has been taken in order for the Army to reevaluate its priorites for small caliber weapons, and to incorporate emerging requirements identified during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Government will also incorporate studies looking into current capability gaps during said reevaluation.

Download the entire amendment (Word doc) here. See the solicitation’s main page here.

This isn’t unexpected, given the backsliding over the past year or so after it appeared that the XM8 might be on fast track. If the “said reevaluation” includes a long hard look at the 5.56, this will probably all be worth it.

Looks like the Marines and SOCOM, who adopted the M16A4 and the FN-SCAR (respectively) despite initial interest in the XM8, made good calls.

MO will hopefully have more on this soon.

Comments

  1. ahh well,its to be expected.one could convievably view this cancellation as either a boon or a curse.on one hand it would give the army,as well as the other branches of the fighting services some time to reflect,and,hopefully concider a more effective option to the afformentioned 5.56mm(read 6.8 spc or grendals 6.5/26 grendal.)and get a good weapon with proper killpower to the field once all the reevaluating is done.and on the other hand,and this is the more likely scenario,leave the re- evaluating up in limbo,and offer no further comment on the subject,either because its too big a political hot potato to touch at a time when the predominantly pro-military administra- tion is taking too many hits at the moment at home during a supossedly un- popular war or its all about the ever popular(and more plausible)reason we all know and love called money.as in unable to get proper funding due to politico’s squabbling and quibbling. ahh yes,the jello spine of political opportunists once again trumps our fighting men with far more steely backsides from being able to proper- ly convey copper-jacketed steel into the wretched bodies of the very scum who would kill said politicians and their constituants here at home simply for being what we are,free.i hope someone out there can cut through this red tape nonsense and get the show on the road.

  2. I am VERY happy that it is cancelled, since (Anti-America) Germany’s Heckler and Koch was in charge of the bussiness. It is very irritatting to have foreign firms providing arms for our country, especially unfriendly countries like Germany that has opposed Iraq War. Just look at our fire arm industry and you will find out many European companies providing fire arms (i.e. Belgium’s FN Minimi M249, Italy’s Beretta M92, and now Germany’s OICW). Some may argue about the cost and the experience, but I would argue about the political influence by another country (If cost matters, why not rely on Russia’s and China’s fire arms?), and the side effect for the shrinking opportunities of our own firms taken away from foreign firms. M-16 has its limits, but the long history have provided valuable feedbacks to Colt with upgrades. If our country’s military firm is kicked out for European firms to dominate just like H&K is trying to steal the OICW project, fire arm industry of US will not be able to gain those experience and feedback, being behind in the industry, unable to compete the global market. The cost could always be compromised for foreign sales just like for M-16s, and new technology to decrease the cost paid for components. I hope the US fire arm industry will make a come back into the military market kicking out the European firms, especially those anti-American countries.

  3. Pedestrian-I hate to break it to you, but Colt doesn’t make the M-16. It’s made by FN Mfg at their plant in Columbia, SC, along with the M-249 and M-240 series. (The same plant, BTW, makes barrels for Browning and Winchester rifles) Colt does still make the M-4. Oh, and Beretta USA makes the M9 in Maryland, if they’re still in production. The sad fact is that, with the exception of Colt (and attempts by upstart Robinson Armament) US companies simply don’t make weapons for military contract anymore. And government arsenals (what few are left) no longer employ men like John Garand, whose job it is to design weapons. There’s just not, in their minds, enough money to be made. And you can end up, like HK just did, putting a lot of work into something that goes nowhere. Now, as I showed before-those foreign designs all end up getting built here in the US-FN Mfg’s plant is in SC, Beretta’s in MD, and HK was looking to build a plant in Columbus, GA. SiG makes guns in NH, and I’m usre Glock has a plant here as well.

  4. Hey now, stop it with that informed commentary! The US military isn’t stupid. In general, if the US military is going to buy something in large quantities, it’s got to be built in the US. It’s really irrelevant if the company happens to be of German background — the people designing, building, and supporting in are going to be in a US facility. It then becomes irrelevant what the German government says — it’s a US weapon through and through, even if it’s got a german background. Sure, you can complain about the fact that the nature of the business has changed, but as Heartless Libertarian just pointed out, reality is more complicated than ‘German company name = bad, US company name = good’.

  5. Also, although Heckler and Koch retains its name it is in fact a subsidiary of Royal Ordnance which in turn is owned by BAE Systems, a British company.

  6. Don’t forget that UDLP, makers of: the M2 Bradley, M113, M109 Paladin, AGS gun for DD(X), MK41 Vertical Launch Cells, AAV, and FCS NLOS-C/NLOS-M/ICV/MRV/MV among others is now owned by BAE Systems. oh well….

  7. HK has been bought back into German hands from BAE quite a while ago. With so marginal improvement over the M16 series this project was bound to fail.

  8. Would just like to say our own series of rifles (the UK’s l85/SA80) were recently improved by HK, so my point is why does it matter where the weapon comes from aslong as it works well. remember 7.62mm was forced on NATO by the USA due to the ‘not invented here syndrome’. This love affair it seems with large calibre rifles is hard to understand, and it looks like the ‘not invented here syndrome’ has come about again with the XM8.

  9. >Pedestrian-I hate to break it to you, >but Colt doesn’t make the M-16. Should I have gone back decades for AR-15? Thankyou for the additional info anyways. >It’s really irrelevant if the company >happens to be of German background If the firm has its HQ in another country, that country may always have laws to be passed to prohibit sales of another, just like US has done with its weapons as well, just like Russia objected for its parts of FC-1 to be sold to Pakistan by China, and just like US having the power to prohibit sales of weapons like F/A-22. You can’t totally ignore the background. It should also be noticed that the money will also be in the hands of another country, and not all of the money to be spent within America, giving more advantage of foreign firms to spend on research and put the local firms behind. Some money may be used within US, but some other will be paid for their government, and to pay for the people within their country. Again, if you say as long as the factories are based in US it may be OK, why not have Russian, France and Chinese firms have their military firms in US build weapons for US at an affordible price? I would bet same thing could happen like the FC-1, with political influence.

  10. Instead of whining about the forgein products, US firm’s should be seeing it as a challenge… That is unless they can’t be bothered. Look how far behind US helicopter design is to the rest of the world… BTW, I’m sorry to see the xm8 go, I believe it had alot of potental… As for new calibres, it would be nice if the best option won, instead of ‘its easier for us…’ a-la 762 or ‘well most of our rifles are..’ 556. Do proper research and come up with a true intermediate round that can do the long range of the 762 with the recoil of a 556. There’s been enough attepts washed aside in the past to show that it can be done.

  11. In this case I’m inclined to see the best as the enemy of the good. I have yet to see anyone say that the XM-8 was worse than the M-16. There may be other options that are better than an XM-8, but they aren’t ready for field testing tomorrow. The Poodle Shooter criticism simply does not apply if the alternatives are the M-4 and M-16. Why not simply call the XM-8 the ‘interim assault rifle’ and put several hundred thousand of them into the field while continuing to look for something even better. Compared to aircraft, tanks, or ships plain old assault rifles are dirt cheap. You can buy 1,000 of them or so for the cost of one Bradley, and you can buy one for every single person in the Army and Marines for the cost of a Destroyer. If they all get replaced with an even better 6.8mm superassault rifle that shoots smart bullets in three or four years, who cares? As proponents of improved Air Force fighters constantly remind us, even a slight improvement can make a big difference.

  12. insofar as a foriegn manufacturer is concerned,wev’e been doing arms bussiness,small arms wise,for some time.the krag-jorgenson side loading bolt action from finland(or was that sweden,oh well,same difference.)so if it has to be a foriegn designed weapon,why not a german rifle,hell! they pretty much coined the concept of the assault rifle.as for having the russians or chinese manufacture a gun for our troops?no thanks.iv’e seen what an over-engineered abortion the an-94 nikonov is and wouldn’t want that disaster foisted on our troops,and although were not technically enemy’s,russia,while apeing democracy is so corruption ridden,doing business with for weapons would just be a waste. as for china,their too busy building the qbz-95 series weapon complex built with a eye towards competing(and defeating)a’western’counterparts weapon on the battlefield.just because they build everything else for us doesn’t meen they’ll build a potential adversaries service weapon.just imagine the gremlins in that product,thank you no.i’ll be more then happy if the next gun comes from a firm(s) from within western europe,preferably from germany, but i’ll take product from belgium or austria just as readily.that is,unless someone over here domesticly has some thing…um…better(cough!!)just wondering.

  13. Humans today can’t hardly see a thing past 100-150m. Humans of the 1940’s couldn’t hardly see a thing past 400m. Humans of the 1910’s couldn’t see a thing past 1,000m. As we become more sedate and paperish in our principal work and recreational activities, the acuity of our vision decreases even as the /capability/ (ballistic trajectories as much as penetration) of our weapons goes up. With this in mind, the only reason to engage a point target at distances for which a 5.56mm vs. a 6.5mm or 6.8mm are ‘determinative’ (mags carried vs. kills per clip) on a caliber ballistics basis is if you do not have a powered optics, stabilized post, weapon on a militarized golfcart able to snap-attack faster, better, for you. Indeed, even in the are of ranged fires and killing capability, the XM8 is no better than any of the other, ‘cheaper’, candidates because it doesn’t incoporate the 20mm grenade system of the original XM25. Which is probably a good thing if you are fighting in a FIBUA condition. Because you _do not want_ a round that exits the barrel at 3,000fps and travels half a mile downrange out of a clumsy, 25-in-a-30rd, under-receiver magazine, that you must deaim to reload. You’ll butcher granny crossing the street behind her shopping cart 10 blocks down but you’ll run out of ammo before you instant-on suppress a /guessed at/ point source. Instead, you want a round that comes out at 1,500-1,800fps. Is about 10mm so it /hurts/ what it hits and is carried in a 50-100rd clip over the barrel so that the problem with prone firing over a ventral mag and maneuvering a long rifled barrel in tight quarters goes permanently away. i.e. You want a submachinegun with good grouping controllability (sliding receiver group to minimize felt recoil per burst) and good single rd point accuracy under 100m. Especially where you are the occupier, you cannot count on being the ‘surpriser’ and that is where long range and caliber overmatch on penetration counts. The Snakeeaters can have whatever they want, they always do. But the mech-supported infantry should be asking for automated posted weapons that engage using the full gamut of sniper finder acoustic and high gain TI sights which we cannot afford to hand out to individual soldiers even in our own forces. Whether that mount be used for a Mk.19 replacement with prox fuzed grenades or a heavy caliber LMG with SPR capable single round accuracies, it’s principle application will be to defeat Sniper, RCL, LAW and light Mortar lob fires from BEYOND direct LOS distances. While a return to rapid acting obscurrant and incapacitant use (also off light mech supported carriage) will do more to save lives than anything remotely associated with the individual rifleman and his ‘preferred weapon’. CONCLUSION: Bigger Bullet, Yes. More Rounds on Weapon, Yes. More Accuracy In Autofire, Yes. Reach/Lethality over 100-150m, _NO_. KPl.

  14. ‘Humans today can’t hardly see a thing past 100-150m. Humans of the 1940’s couldn’t hardly see a thing past 400m. Humans of the 1910’s couldn’t see a thing past 1,000m.’

    Umm, how to delicately put this… Are you completely out of your mind? That is the most bizarre assertion on human visual acuity I have ever read. We’ve undergone a 10-fold drop in eyesight over the last hundred years? If that were really the case, nobody could drive on the damn freeway.

  15. the reason we don,t issue weapons to the general infantry grunt that shoot out to 1000 plus yard/meter mark is not due to poor visual aqcuity,but out of practic= ality.most commonly encountered engage- ranges run from 0 to 300m.once again,sight ing german experience,the ol’stg-44 was born.a weapon that reflected the practical range required.all other arms used to this day continue this trend as it makes perfect sense.not to eschew a bigger caliber,longer range weapon mind you,as there is still a need for such weapons in the sniping/designated rifleman role. we do have the potential to have our cake and eat it to.if a weapon can be cobbled together by whatever firm that chambers the 6.5 grendal,a round that can do the job from 0 to 1000m with better exterior ballistics then the respectable 7.62 nato,in a weapon with a quik-change barrel feature to accom- idate differant barrel lengths for the mission requirement.have said barrel use a progressive gain twist rifling pattern utilizing a poliginal rifling cut and i’ll wager you,ll have something that can deliver the mail to johnny jihad,or whatever fanatic knucklehead that rears his head long enogth for us visually handicapped snake-eaters to get a bead on em.having such a weapon would,for the most part negate the issue wether one is bringing enogth gun to the fight.it just takes some serious forethought,some thing which,sadly,we seem to be in short supply.

  16. When I first head about the XM8. I was quite impressed. I have been dreaming of having one chambered in 6.8 Rem SPC. Also, I have been an owner of multiple other HK firearms. I have recommended HK to anyone asking for advice… But now, I say screw HK. They no longer have any respect for civilians. I have had contact with HK directly. They stated to me in quite clear language that HK has no intent to ever let civilians get their hands on an XM8 or any other new HK rifle. Recently after the government sold off some if their HK416 uppers, HK started chasing after those civilians, threatening them, claiming that the uppers are ‘stolen property’. Until HK regains respect for the civilian owners of their weapons, I hope that they loose every government and military contract. And anyone thinking of buying a HK handgun… DON’T, at least not until HK reverses course.

  17. The XM8 was not a lousy weapon the Army just wants to take into account new info learned fighting the terrorists/insurgents in Iraq and Afganistan and perhaps adopt a different type of ammunition. The 5.56x45mm round is good and has served us well however with many of the recent advancements in body armor and new better types of ammunition being developed it may be time to switch to something else such as 6.8x43mm ammo or a whole new technology such as sabot ammunition or caseless rounds. The Army just thinks if they are going to upgrade to a whole new weapon it should be a huge improvement larger than the one the M8 would have given. The XM8 is not ugly BTW. It is quite sexy in the standard black color. Nothing is wrong with a gun looking clean and smooth. Often it is a good thing as all sorts of edges and attachments will get caught on stuff. Also mstudies have shown that most infantry combat takes place at ranges of about 200 meters or less. These studies gathered from information in World War 2 started the development of assault rifles. While using a full sized rifle cartridge provides great range your average soldier is not going to be engaging targets at long ranges and if he does unless he has an accurate weapon fitted with a scope and is properly trained in it he has very little chance to hit it. Remember in most terrain it is unlikely you will have a clear line of sight for very long ranges. It is foolish for everyone to have a high caliber weapon when most combat will be taking place in close ranges were automatic fire and low recoil are useful. In the end the 550m effective range of the M16 and the 500m effective range of the M4 are perfectly fine. In areas where most fighting is going to be at longer ranges at or above 200m our M16s and M4s can be fitted with x4 scopes and if needed each squad can have a DMR.

  18. When I have to read stupid things like ‘unfriendly countries like Germany that has opposed Iraq War’ I get really mad. What does the one thing have to do with the other? I am German and eventhough I have to agree that Saddam Hussein is a criminal, who needs to be punished for the crimes he had ordered during his reign in Iraq, we did not necessarily have to start a war to do so. I do not get, why Germany (,a and all the other countries that have opposed the war against Iraq) are ‘unfriendly’. I have lived in the US for a while and looking back I know, that patriotism is a good thing, but patriotism should not mean that you are not allowed to make up your own mind. Germany has almost 8.000 soldiers in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzigovina and also participates in the Enduring Freedom mission in Africa and Afghanistan. We are doing our part in the war on terror and we have our own foreign policy,so we do not need to say ‘Yes’ and ‘Amen’ to every new plan, the US is coming up with. That the US terribly failed their goals in Iraq is what we can see these days … Iraq has its civil war and it will be getting worse. Well, I am not that concered, that the project is cancelled, because the data collected over the years will help Heckler&Koch design and manufacture new assault rifle. The G36 we are using in the German Armed Forces is a very good weapon, almost perfectly balanced between accuracy, weight and simplicity. In combination with the new IdZ (German version of the Land Warrior system) the weapon is just perfect and fits our current and future missions.

  19. In so far as Peter’s post, I agree that it’s ignorant to call Germany an unfriendly country because they don’t support the Iraq War. It’s not ignorant to call Germany an unfriendly country because they were selling weapons to Saddam just before US forces invaded. That goes doubly for France, who in addition to selling Exoset missiles to Iraq told the US that they’d support us then backed away from us when we needed their support the most. Germany may be helping us fight on the one hand, but they have helped our enemies fight us on the other. Whether that fits under the definition of ally, enemy, or grey area, to me is unclear. In so far as the XM8, the new Metal Storm technology could quite potentially revolutionize firearms as we know them. I think the military made the right decision in reserving judgement.