Weapons: XM8 Put to Sleep

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November 3, 2005: The XM8, the U.S. Army’s design for a new assault rifle and light machine-gun, has been cancelled. Actually, the project was put on hold last July. At the time, the reason was believed to be the ongoing debate over whether a new caliber (6.8mm was most often mentioned) should be adopted. While the XM8 used more modern engineering, and was lighter and more reliable, it was basically an improved M-16, just another 5.56mm assault rifle. Meanwhile, SOCOM adopted another new 5.56mm design (SCAR), while the U.S. Marine Corps decided to stay with the M-16 in the future. The XM8 may be revived, in another caliber. But for now, the army does not want to spend several billion bucks on a new assault rifle. Better to wait until the war in Iraq dies down, and radically new weapons, like the 25mm XM-25, hit the field, and pile up some combat experience. Basically, the army believes there are better alternatives than the XM8, but are not sure exactly what these alternatives are.

 


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