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Status of US Small Arms Projects

Ranger6

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This isn't quite a secret project, but can anyone verify the status of recent US small arms projects? I'm specifically interested in knowing whether the XM-29 SABR (OICW) and the XM-8 rifle have been cancelled altogether or have they merely been placed on "hiatus" pending a final decision on production.

Thanks in advance for any info!

AE (R6)
 

Apophenia

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The combo XM29 SABR was dead back in 2004 when it was decided to split OICW into XM-8 and XM25 components. The XM8 project was put on hold in July 2005 and formally cancelled in October 2005. (HK now seems more interested in the 416/417 than G36 derivatives).

The XM25 was shelved but still seems to be on hold. ATK was said to be pressing on but I notice that there's no press releases after 2005. By contrast, L-3/Brashear is still plumping their XM104 sight.

http://www.l-3com.com/brashear/products/groundfire/xm104.html
 

Abraham Gubler

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There's considerable problems with the <30mm air-bursting ammunition that has caused delays to any implementation of the OICW type weapons and the XM307 crew served weapon. Which is a real shame because the XM307 is exactly what is needed in the mean streets and hills of Iraq and Afghanistan, and I guess Georgia now...
 

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Orionblamblam

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Abraham Gubler said:
Which is a real shame because the XM307 is exactly what is needed in the mean streets and hills of Iraq and Afghanistan, and I guess Georgia now...

And the Ukraine tomorrow.

Weapons designed to blow Hinds out of the air are going to be needed in some numbers, and soon.
 

Abraham Gubler

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The Hinds are easy, its suppressing the Russian artillery that the Georgians forgot about... and paid the consequences. I predict a huge upswing in the sales of Assault Breaker weapons to eastern European countries!
 

Lauge

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Apophenia said:
The XM25 was shelved but still seems to be on hold. ATK was said to be pressing on but I notice that there's no press releases after 2005.

The only currently extant "descendant" of the XM25 that I'm aware of, is the Barrett XM109 "Payload Rifle" (http://www.smallarmsreview.com/pdf/payload.pdf).

It's a short-recoil-operated semi-auto weapon based on Barrett's .50 caliber sniper rifles. Specifications are:
- 4 (or 5; sources differ) round magazine
- weight 30.5 lbs (loaded/unloaded ?)
- effective range 2.000 yards.

The weapon fires the same 25x59mmB ammunition as the XM25, but it dispenses with the XM25's programmable electronic fuze and uses a simple impact fuze, making the ammunition cheaper. Supposedly, a shaped-charge round could be developed as well.

Oh, and by the way, it's been on my list for Santa for the past couple of years ;D

Regards,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Denmark
 

JFC Fuller

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XM-8 and OICW are dead in the water and will almost certainly never enter service. For the future of US small arms there are two programs to follow. One is the USMC IAR (Infantry Automatic Rifle) and the other is the SOC SCAR. Essentially a shift towards more modern but essentially evolutionary non DI systems. All the fancy computer guided air bursting blah blah blah has vanished under an avalanche of actual operational requirements. These have been orientated towards more compact, lighter, basic assault rifles and LMG's. At no point did the OICW meet any of these and the XM-8 had a nasty habit of melting.
 

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I've read that claim about the XM-8 now several times in different places. Why did the XM-8 "melt"? Steyr's AUG is made of an awful lot of plastic and yet it has no problems with melting. Are you suggesting that H&K were too foolish to follow the example of the AUG and use high-temperature plastics in its manufacture?
 

Abraham Gubler

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The XM-8 wasn’t cancelled because they were melting but because the US Army needed funds for more important things and reasonable pressure to hold a competition. Personally I would seriously doubt the wisdom of introducing a new weapon with an entire new system of modular accessory attachment, not-backwards compatible with the current MIL-STD-1913 system. The XM-8 is made of advanced polymers like the AUG. I can’t say for certain about the XM-8 but if it’s like the G-36 then like the AUG none of the metal moving parts are in direct contact with the polymer housing so ‘melting’ shouldn’t be a problem, unless you are trying to put 20,000 rounds a day through the weapon in which case every small arm ever made would melt.
 

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The current state of US small arms seem centered on offering improved versions of the the black rifle/M-16 by substituting a small stroke pistion for Eugene Stoner's direct impringement system. So other than the HK-416, you have efforts like the Magpul Bushmaster (formerly the Masada), LWRC M6 and Knight Armaments PDW as well as new cartridges like the 6.8mm. Unfortunately, caseless ammunition, air-burst munitions and flechettes have become a little more than technical side-notes. AAI recently demonstrated their SAW with CTS ammunition and Leroy James Sullivan (of Stoner 63 and Ultimax fame) commented that we should stick with the basics and that CTS ammunition, in his opinion, cannot offer a complete seal or obturation. So if this is the state of affairs, the M-16 in its' variations, soldiers on for the next decade.
 

Firefly 2

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I think, right now, soldiers prefer a decently working M4 over an XM8 with dodgy rep.
Even though the M4 has had some reliability issues in tests and in the field ( dixit French mag DSI).
 

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Personally, I've never been impressed with the M16. The Llungeman direct gas system creates too much fouling and its difficult to keep the weapon functioning properly with the result being too many stoppages.
 

JFC Fuller

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rickshaw said:
Personally, I've never been impressed with the M16. The Llungeman direct gas system creates too much fouling and its difficult to keep the weapon functioning properly with the result being too many stoppages.

Hence the gas piston system, problem solved.

That said the most interesting private venture weapon in the US is the Magpul Masada, now Bushmaster ACR mentioned above.
 

Abraham Gubler

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There's a lot of opinion in this thread and not much new information. I'm no moderator but as In understand it that is not the function of this forum. Try milphotos.net, etc. for that kind of thing.

The US and other militaries HAS NOT given up on lightweight ammunition like caseless or CTA for small arms or computer programmable air bursting warheads. Because of current operational demands and a realistic assessment of how difficult these technologies are they just won't be in service in the next few years. These technologies, especially airburst, will be pursued because they offer infantry a huge boost in lethality.

Last year’s Joint Small Arms Systems Annual Symposium still had a lot of this work underway:
http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2007smallarms/2007smallarms.html
 

JFC Fuller

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Abraham Gubler said:
There's a lot of opinion in this thread and not much new information. I'm no moderator but as In understand it that is not the function of this forum. Try milphotos.net, etc. for that kind of thing.

The US and other militaries HAS NOT given up on lightweight ammunition like caseless or CTA for small arms or computer programmable air bursting warheads. Because of current operational demands and a realistic assessment of how difficult these technologies are they just won't be in service in the next few years. These technologies, especially airburst, will be pursued because they offer infantry a huge boost in lethality.

Last year’s Joint Small Arms Systems Annual Symposium still had a lot of this work underway:
http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2007smallarms/2007smallarms.html

I dont think anyone ever said that they had been given up on.......you seem to have grossly misinterpreted what has been typed here.

I will bet my house that neither the OICW or the XM-8 will ever enter service and that caseless ammunition will not be deployed in small arms for at least another decade. Airbursting munitions may have more of a future but are more likely to come in the form of new 40mm rounds rather than as some new starship trooper style all sing all dancing robo-warrior weapon.
 

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Anybody know if they've tried telescopic ammunition for small arms?
 

Abraham Gubler

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sealordlawrence said:
I will bet my house that neither the OICW or the XM-8 will ever enter service and that caseless ammunition will not be deployed in small arms for at least another decade. Airbursting munitions may have more of a future but are more likely to come in the form of new 40mm rounds rather than as some new starship trooper style all sing all dancing robo-warrior weapon.

More opinion... Please post it on some other forum where it will be appreciated.

sferrin said:
Anybody know if they've tried telescopic ammunition for small arms?

ARES under the leadership of Eugene Stoner developed the first telescoped cases back in the 1970s for autocannons and small arms. Steyr developed a CTA flechette round for the ACR entry in the 1980s. It’s currently one of the two main technology paths being explored by the LSAT program:

http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2007smallarms/5_9_07/Spiegel_820am.pdf
 

Apophenia

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Abraham mentioned ACR. HK's G11 round (the 4.7x33mm DM11) was redesigned by ATK in 5.56mm for ACR. (The HK-ACR [G11 Advanced Combat Rifle] used a 4.92x34mm version.)

[Abraham, thanks for the 4.7x33mm/4.92x34mm correction.]

IIRC, that same 5.56mm round is used for the LSAT (Lightweight Small Arms Technology) program.
 

Abraham Gubler

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There was no difference between H&K’s 4.7x33mm caseless round for the G11 and the “4.92mm” round used by the G11 in the ACR competition. The difference in name just comes from the variation in each round between the diameter of the bore and the larger diameter of the bullet. Virtually all rounds are referred to by the bore diameter but from time to time someone decides to be different.

ATK also did not offer any 5.56mm caseless rounds for the 1980s ACR competition. They are however working on caseless and CTA cartridge technology for a US Army light machinegun (LSW/SAW) weight reduction program.
 

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sealordlawrence said:
I will bet my house that neither the OICW or the XM-8 will ever enter service and that caseless ammunition will not be deployed in small arms for at least another decade. Airbursting munitions may have more of a future but are more likely to come in the form of new 40mm rounds rather than as some new starship trooper style all sing all dancing robo-warrior weapon.

This would explain why the ROC is adopting their indigenous XK11 version of the OICW, would it?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtGpWnLi45U

Now, at the risk of upsetting Abraham, I will put forward my opinion that I believe that the OICW and this XK11 are too specialised in what they are attempting to do. Personally (as I am neither serving member any more nor privy to the security clearance to know any of this for sure) that of all the attempts to actually produce a combined grenade-launcher/assault rifle combination, the Australian AICW offers perhaps the best bet - it combines existing grenade technology (and payload) with an existing and battle-tried assault rifle (the F88):



It will perhaps be the only way we also see soon the MetalStorm technology deployed. The 20-25mm grenades utilised in the OICW and XK11 are both on the small side IMHO.
 

Abraham Gubler

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rickshaw said:
Now, at the risk of upsetting Abraham, I will put forward my opinion that I believe that the OICW and this XK11 are too specialised in what they are attempting to do. {b]Personally[/b] (as I am neither serving member any more nor privy to the security clearance to know any of this for sure) that of all the attempts to actually produce a combined grenade-launcher/assault rifle combination, the Australian AICW offers perhaps the best bet - it combines existing grenade technology (and payload) with an existing and battle-tried assault rifle (the F88):

;D not too upsetting... the difference of course being between statements like 'it will never happen' and 'its all sci-fi' compared to an actual explained opinion based on some analysis about the technology. As to the AICW well I wrote the story on that and your opinion is very similar to my own.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Individual_Combat_Weapon
 

JFC Fuller

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Abraham Gubler said:
sealordlawrence said:
I will bet my house that neither the OICW or the XM-8 will ever enter service and that caseless ammunition will not be deployed in small arms for at least another decade. Airbursting munitions may have more of a future but are more likely to come in the form of new 40mm rounds rather than as some new starship trooper style all sing all dancing robo-warrior weapon.

More opinion... Please post it on some other forum where it will be appreciated.

sferrin said:
Anybody know if they've tried telescopic ammunition for small arms?

ARES under the leadership of Eugene Stoner developed the first telescoped cases back in the 1970s for autocannons and small arms. Steyr developed a CTA flechette round for the ACR entry in the 1980s. It’s currently one of the two main technology paths being explored by the LSAT program:

http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2007smallarms/5_9_07/Spiegel_820am.pdf

Highly informed opinion that it far more useful than the fantasy being spewed here.

And since when was what the RoC doing indicative of what the US military is doing. If you want to know the medium term development of US small ams folow the USMC IAR program and the SCAR project.
 

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sealordlawrence said:
And since when was what the RoC doing indicative of what the US military is doing. If you want to know the medium term development of US small ams folow the USMC IAR program and the SCAR project.

I didn't suggest it was. What I pointed out was that the ROC has done what was claimed to be impossible - deploy an OICW-like weapon system whereas the US Army appears to be unable to.
 

Rickshaw

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Abraham Gubler said:
;D not too upsetting... the difference of course being between statements like 'it will never happen' and 'its all sci-fi' compared to an actual explained opinion based on some analysis about the technology. As to the AICW well I wrote the story on that and your opinion is very similar to my own.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Individual_Combat_Weapon

Ah, that Abraham Gubler. ;)

Obviously great minds think alike (or fools never differ! ;D )!
 

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The AICW looks very impressive, a bit like the French PAPOP concept. Any reports on how it handles in tests?
 

Abraham Gubler

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See the attached article for results of the program.

Despite its success ACIW was just a demonstrator. There were and are significant bureaucratic failings in Australian defence procurement to transition it from its demonstrator level to a field service weapon. This has nothing to do with the technology involved or meeting user requirements.
 

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JFC Fuller

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rickshaw said:
sealordlawrence said:
And since when was what the RoC doing indicative of what the US military is doing. If you want to know the medium term development of US small ams folow the USMC IAR program and the SCAR project.

I didn't suggest it was. What I pointed out was that the ROC has done what was claimed to be impossible - deploy an OICW-like weapon system whereas the US Army appears to be unable to.

AGAIN- NO BODY SAID IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE, just unlikely in the extreme in the short to medium term.
 

Abraham Gubler

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sealordlawrence said:
AGAIN- NO BODY SAID IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE, just unlikely in the extreme in the short to medium term.

I’m not out to get you or anything but this is what you said:

sealordlawrence said:
XM-8 and OICW are dead in the water and will almost certainly never enter service. For the future of US small arms there are two programs to follow ... All the fancy computer guided air bursting blah blah blah has vanished under an avalanche of actual operational requirements.

And it’s not quite accurate. Which is why it’s best not to shoot from the hip.

The reality is more complex. The US militaries have a range of small arms projects underway, from reset and modest improvement of current weapons to finding some better small arms around the edges – special operations, automatic rifles, grenade launchers, NLW, etc. Also there is considerable work going on in relation to more significant improvements like lightweight ammunition and weapons and computer fused (not guided) air burst rounds. However with the huge US military commitments at the moment funding is tight and not everything can progress as much as they are needed.

I’m quite sure we will see XM307 weapons in service down to squad/section level and maybe even multi-shot grenade launcher attachments to individual weapons within 10-15 years. Because quite simply the technology is there and this is what the war fighters want. Troops in Afghanistan are quite literally calling for a weapon that combines the capabilities of a Mk 19 AGL and a M2HB HMG, which is the XM307. We need this kind of lethality on the battlefield.
 

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Abraham Gubler said:
sealordlawrence said:
AGAIN- NO BODY SAID IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE, just unlikely in the extreme in the short to medium term.

I’m not out to get you or anything but this is what you said:

sealordlawrence said:
XM-8 and OICW are dead in the water and will almost certainly never enter service. For the future of US small arms there are two programs to follow ... All the fancy computer guided air bursting blah blah blah has vanished under an avalanche of actual operational requirements.

And it’s not quite accurate. Which is why it’s best not to shoot from the hip.

The reality is more complex. The US militaries have a range of small arms projects underway, from reset and modest improvement of current weapons to finding some better small arms around the edges – special operations, automatic rifles, grenade launchers, NLW, etc. Also there is considerable work going on in relation to more significant improvements like lightweight ammunition and weapons and computer fused (not guided) air burst rounds. However with the huge US military commitments at the moment funding is tight and not everything can progress as much as they are needed.

I’m quite sure we will see XM307 weapons in service down to squad/section level and maybe even multi-shot grenade launcher attachments to individual weapons within 10-15 years. Because quite simply the technology is there and this is what the war fighters want. Troops in Afghanistan are quite literally calling for a weapon that combines the capabilities of a Mk 19 AGL and a M2HB HMG, which is the XM307. We need this kind of lethality on the battlefield.

That is true and not shooting from the hip, XM-8 and OICW are dead in the water as procurement programs, 100% accurate. that is not to say that the technology will not reappear in a different guise but those two projects will not be entering service.
 

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Abraham Gubler said:
See the attached article for results of the program.

Despite its success ACIW was just a demonstrator. There were and are significant bureaucratic failings in Australian defence procurement to transition it from its demonstrator level to a field service weapon. This has nothing to do with the technology involved or meeting user requirements.

Mmm, I seem to remember similar things being said about the BUSHMASTER and COLLINS. I think major stumbling block will be getting acceptance of Metalstorm, than anything else.
 

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http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2016/02/03/knights-armament-stoner-lmg-finally-enters-production/
 

jsport

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Grey Havoc said:
http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2016/02/03/knights-armament-stoner-lmg-finally-enters-production/
thanks for posting Grey Havoc.

go Constant Recoil but the Ultimax would appear still to be more compact and its (Ultimax's) evolution is revolutionary.
 

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5.56 x 45 LMG's seem to have fallen somewhat into disfavour ad there are a number of proven designs on the market. Its going to be hard to sell, I think. If Knight can translate the design into a light-weight (around 8.5kg), reliable and durable LMG is 7.62 x 51, they may have more success.
 

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jsport said:
Grey Havoc said:
http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2016/02/03/knights-armament-stoner-lmg-finally-enters-production/
thanks for posting Grey Havoc.

go Constant Recoil but the Ultimax would appear still to be more compact and its (Ultimax's) evolution is revolutionary.

This is just about the same size as the Ultimax, depending on the barrel length, and actually a bit lighter. Belt feed means ammo will be more compact compared to the various drums for the Ultimax.

But I agree it's probably coming to market too late as interest in 5.56mm LMGs is waning. It might have worked for the Marines if it had been around before they opted for the magazine-fed automatic rifle concept.
 

jsport

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since no USMC IAR decision (aware of) plus apparently non interest in anything below 7.62mm.

http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2008/10/22/ultimax-100-mk5-general-dynamics-iar/
 

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jsport said:
since no USMC IAR decision (aware of) plus apparently non interest in anything below 7.62mm.

http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2008/10/22/ultimax-100-mk5-general-dynamics-iar/

Sorry, I don't quite understand you. Do you mean that you are not aware of any USMC decision about an IAR, and that they are not interested in anything smaller than 7.62mm?

If so, I suggest that you look up the M27: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M27_Infantry_Automatic_Rifle
 

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Interesting Wiki about the M27 IAR for the USMC. Not sure what the current status of the system is. The Dutch Marines use a similar weapon made by Diemaco (now Colt Canada). They apparently aren't very enamoured by the thing.

Since Iraq and Afghanistan, the 5.56 x 45 cartridge is apparently not being regarded as a 400 meter cartridge anymore, as it was originally intended to be, but it is now being seen as a 200-250 meter round. The suppresive effect is apparently especially suspect. Everybody wants to rather shoot with 7.62 x 51 but no-one wants to carry the guns and expecially the ammunition!
 

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It's been fielded for several years now. I believe the M249 is probably gone from Marine rifle platoons at this point. Here's a 2012 story about the changeover in Afghanistan.

https://www.dvidshub.net/news/97649/m249-light-machine-gun-endangered-species-marines-afghanistan
 

jsport

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Tony Williams said:
jsport said:
since no USMC IAR decision (aware of) plus apparently non interest in anything below 7.62mm.

http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2008/10/22/ultimax-100-mk5-general-dynamics-iar/

Sorry, I don't quite understand you. Do you mean that you are not aware of any USMC decision about an IAR, and that they are not interested in anything smaller than 7.62mm?

If so, I suggest that you look up the M27: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M27_Infantry_Automatic_Rifle

Cheers for the update. DM and AR becoming one (sometimes) and emphasis on less volume more precision..

"With the M249 SAW, the idea of suppression was volume of fire and the sound of the machine gun. With the M27 IAR, the idea of suppression shifts to engaging with precision fire, as it has rifle accuracy at long range and automatic fire at short range. Shooters transitioned from long-range precision fire at 700 meters to short-to-medium suppressive fire at 200 meters, both while in the prone position. Some gunners in combat have been used as designated marksmen. An M27 gunner with one aimed shot has the effect of three or four automatic shots from the SAW, and still has the option of a heavier volume with an accurate grouping.[19]"
 

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