The main problem with the HK XM8 program

HK's XM8 Program was canceled for good reason.

Performance

The performance of this weapon system family of rifles, carbines, pdws and a designated marksmen rifle was rated pretty good all during the testing period and it excelled in the special dust test, although there are any number of criticism, some valid, some not of the way in which the dust test was conducted. The XM8 actually had the fewest stoppages of the 4 weapons tested with the M4A1 having the most stoppages including a large number of major stoppages that required a qualified gunsmith to repair. The XM8 clearly performed better than the M4 under adverse conditions. If you go to the Future Land Warrior site or the XM8 site, then specifics on this dust test and other performance tests are easily found.

Features

The first noticeable feature of the XM8 Family of weapons is that all of them are heavy. In most instances more than 30 percent heavier than the Army specified and in one case almost 50 percent heavier. The trigger action was said to be light and smooth. The accuracy was good at 1 MOA at 100 and 300 meters. Even the PDW had better than average kinetic energy at impact and was quite accurate to 150 meters with an astonishing actual range of 300 meters. Also it fired a rifle round in that the PDW could be chambered for the 5.56mm x 45mm NATO standard round. A kit was supposed to be available to convert the PDW to the 9mm x 19mm Lugar parabellem round and the new Israeli 9mm x 22mm magnum parabellem round that gave the PDW much greater kinetic hitting energy at closer ranges of 150m or less, better yet a lot less, such as "hugging" range of 50 meters or less.

Appeal

The main appeal of this weapon is that it was intended to be a complete family of weapons from the standard version for the average rifleman or woman, and that most of the parts were interchangeable between any of the weapons. The family included: a PDW, a standard assault rifle, about 3 carbine versions depending on barrel length and type of round the carbine was chambered for with choices of the 5.56 NATO standard Belgium manufactured SSG109 round, but was not compatible with the much more powerful 5.56 OTM open tip match M262 Model 1 round, a squad designated marksmen, long barreled version of the standard XM8 and a sniper and sniper spotter carbine versions were on the drawing boards when the program was canceled. The system was designed to cover all the possible needs of the standard rifle squad, Special Forces Units and other groups of soldiers such as the short barreled carbines and the pdw for artillery platoons and tankers etc. However, again, the main lack of appeal was still that these weapons were just too heavy and over engineered. All of these weapons, except the PDW could mount a grenade launcher under the barrel and lower recievers, even a short barreled grenade launcher was designed for the carbines in this family. These weapons were known for exceptional reliability under both ordinary and harsh/dusty climates.

Summary

Parent: 
Headline: 

HK's XM8 Program was canceled for good reason.

Performance Rating: 
7.8
Performance: 

The performance of this weapon system family of rifles, carbines, pdws and a designated marksmen rifle was rated pretty good all during the testing period and it excelled in the special dust test, although there are any number of criticism, some valid, some not of the way in which the dust test was conducted. The XM8 actually had the fewest stoppages of the 4 weapons tested with the M4A1 having the most stoppages including a large number of major stoppages that required a qualified gunsmith to repair. The XM8 clearly performed better than the M4 under adverse conditions. If you go to the Future Land Warrior site or the XM8 site, then specifics on this dust test and other performance tests are easily found.

Features Rating: 
6
Features: 

The first noticeable feature of the XM8 Family of weapons is that all of them are heavy. In most instances more than 30 percent heavier than the Army specified and in one case almost 50 percent heavier. The trigger action was said to be light and smooth. The accuracy was good at 1 MOA at 100 and 300 meters. Even the PDW had better than average kinetic energy at impact and was quite accurate to 150 meters with an astonishing actual range of 300 meters. Also it fired a rifle round in that the PDW could be chambered for the 5.56mm x 45mm NATO standard round. A kit was supposed to be available to convert the PDW to the 9mm x 19mm Lugar parabellem round and the new Israeli 9mm x 22mm magnum parabellem round that gave the PDW much greater kinetic hitting energy at closer ranges of 150m or less, better yet a lot less, such as "hugging" range of 50 meters or less.

Appeal Rating: 
6.2
Appeal: 

The main appeal of this weapon is that it was intended to be a complete family of weapons from the standard version for the average rifleman or woman, and that most of the parts were interchangeable between any of the weapons. The family included: a PDW, a standard assault rifle, about 3 carbine versions depending on barrel length and type of round the carbine was chambered for with choices of the 5.56 NATO standard Belgium manufactured SSG109 round, but was not compatible with the much more powerful 5.56 OTM open tip match M262 Model 1 round, a squad designated marksmen, long barreled version of the standard XM8 and a sniper and sniper spotter carbine versions were on the drawing boards when the program was canceled. The system was designed to cover all the possible needs of the standard rifle squad, Special Forces Units and other groups of soldiers such as the short barreled carbines and the pdw for artillery platoons and tankers etc. However, again, the main lack of appeal was still that these weapons were just too heavy and over engineered. All of these weapons, except the PDW could mount a grenade launcher under the barrel and lower recievers, even a short barreled grenade launcher was designed for the carbines in this family. These weapons were known for exceptional reliability under both ordinary and harsh/dusty climates.

Overall Rating: 
9.90

In summary the reliability, interchangeability and inter system parts compatibility and the concept of one family of weaponry for all types of rifle squads to fit any need was a great idea, but the extra electronics and over engineering led to the system's downfall because of the excess of weight. The weapons were extremely reliable under most sets of conditions including clear and calm day, windy and or rainy days, and desert conditions with dusty winds blowing hard.

Here is a website for pictures of the almost complete family of XM8 weapons. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0b/XM8-Poster.jpg

If anyone is interested in this canceled system please feel free to look up some of the sites that deal with Future Combat Systems and Future Land Warrior systems. Most of this concept for which the XM8 family was designed is out of date now that we need to remake our army and other military systems to deal with more localized conflicts instead of giant field combat set piece battles. Urban Warfare, Special Ops and Sniping are the name of the game today and this includes counter-insurgency as well as anti-terrorist operations and hunter/killer ops such as hunting bin Laden and his buddies.

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