|XM8 rifle in "automatic rifle" (light machine gun) configuration. Note longer barrel and folded bipods under the forearm|
The XM8 will be almost similar to the "KE" (kinetic energy) part of the XM29 OICW system, being different mostly in having a telescoped plastic buttstock of adjustable length, and a detachable carrying handle with the sight rail.
As of mid-2004, XM8 now is undergoing wide-scale testing in several units of US Army, and is receiving a positive feedback.
Following several complains about non-competitive procurement of the XM8 system from Heckler-Koch USA, US Army first opened the bidding for contract to other companies, and then, in the July 2005, suddenly suspended the entire OICW Increment 1 program to re-think the entire set of requirements for the possible replacement of current M16 rifles and M4 carbines. These requirements will be re-viewed as Joint Services effort. At the present time, it seems that development of HK XM8 is suspended; it may be resumed if XM8 suit the new US Joint Service Requirements for a new assault rifle system; or, it may not. We will watch this process closely and update this article when new information will be available.
|XM8 rifle in Compact (SMG / PDW) configuration, with shortened barrel.|
The XM8 is a derivative of the Heckler-Koch G36 assault rifle, and thus it is almost similar to that rifle in design and functioning.XM8 features a short piston stroke, gas operated action, with rotating bolt locking. Barrels are quick detachable, and planned to be available in several sizes, ranging from 229 mm (9.5 inch) for Compact/PDW version, 318mm (12.5 inch)in Basic version, and two 508mm (20in) barrels, one for Sharpshooter/Sniper version, and heavier one (along with bipod) for Squad Automatic Rifle role. The entire construction is modular and built around the polymer receiver with bolt group; Magazine housings could be easily swapped for compatibility with various types of magazines; various buttstocks could be installed in a second for various roles (standard buttstock is a telescoped 5 position adjustable one). Top of the receiver is fitted with proprietary sight rail, which can accept illuminated red-dot (collimator) sight, or any other type of sighting equipment. Detachable forend will be available in various sizes, and could be replaced withXM320 40mm grenade launcher (the improved HK AG36).
|XM8 rifle in "sharpshooter" (sniper) configuration. While sightlooks similar to red-dot, mounted on other variants, it is of 3.5X magnification; spare magazine is clamped to the right side of the magazine inserted into the rifle.|
Ambidextrous fire controls are mounted on the trigger unit, integral with pistol grip and trigger-guard, and in basic configuration are planned to deliver single shots and full auto fire.The G36-type ambidextrous charging handle is located at the top of the receiver, below the removable carrying handle.
|XM8 rifle in basic infantry configuration|
Caliber: 5.56x45 mm NATO
Action: Gas operated, rotating bolt
Overall length: 838 mm in basic configuration, butt extended
Barrel length: 318 mm in basic configuration; also 229 mm in Compact and 508 mm in Sharpshooter and SAW versions
Weight: 2.659 kg empty in basic configuration
Rate of fire: ~ 750 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 30 rounds (STANAG) or 100-rounds double drum in Automatic Rifle/SAW role