The following is a feeback email DefRev received today from one of our readers in Australia, along with our reply, which has been edited/modified for publication as a story on "Defense Review". DefRev would like to thank "Eddy B" for the information and links he provided to us. One of the links will launch the General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products (GDATP) promotional video of their remotely-operated XM307/XUV OCSW (Objective Crew-Served Weapon) mobile weapons platform. Here it is:
From: Eddy B
Sent: Monday, May 31, 2004 4:41 AM
To: [email protected]
Subject: Comment on Metal Storm
I read your review of the recent test firing carried out by Metal Storm. It’s a very interesting system and if fitted correctly could provide a powerful weapons system on new unmanned robot’s such as the General Dynamics XUV. The XUV has already test fired a [25mm] cannon in a Future Combat Systems demonstration, here is a link:…
I’ve heard that the system is highly sought after not only because it’s lightweight, electronic etc but because it can offer variable lethality. With new ammo being developed in the 40mm range (fuel/air, less than lethal), it looks increasingly likely that the metal Storm system will be utilized in manned and unmanned vehicles to provide the variable lethality option.
Recently Metal Storm and Foster Miller announced a SBIR that reinforced my belief, the thunder lightning system to protect naval ships.
Do you have any thoughts on the system being taken up by the DoD? I also note they are working on a system to lighten the OICW while increasing lethality.
To: ‘Eddy B’
Subject: RE: Comment on Metal Storm
Thanks so much for the feedback on my story. We don’t have any knowledge yet regarding any future DoD contracts for Metal Storm. It would seem, however, that it’s more a matter of when, than if.
So you’re aware, the ATK/HK XM29/OICW (Objective Individual Combat Weapon) is pretty much dead in the water (thank God), due to weight and size problems, lethality problems, and ergonomics problems. First, having the assault rifle/carbine mounted underneath the grenade launcher was not a good idea. Just bad design, there. Second, the 20mm grenades simply weren’t lethal enough, so now the U.S. Army is apparently working with 25mm grenades instead. Perhaps they’re now in the process of trying to salvage the grenade launcher aspect of the XM29/OICW as a stand-alone [weapon] system. Problem is, the 25mm grenades are probably also not quite lethal enough (we’ll see). Third, the gun was a behemoth, just way too large, heavy, and unwieldy. I believe the lightest they got the XM29/OICW was 18 lbs, and that’s probably an optimistic figure.
So, the U.S. Army is currently in the process of trying to salvage the underbarrel-mounted "kinetic energy" portion of the system (the assault rifle/carbine portion), which has become the HK XM8. It, too, has some problems, namely the ambidextrous reciprocating cocking handle located on top of the receiver, which should be moved to the left-hand side of the receiver [A top-mounted reciprocating handle negates the ability to use a true 1913 Picatinny rail (top) for optical gunsights and scopes]. They should probably also consider making it (the cocking handle) non-reciprocating. Basically, the HK XM8 is an HK G36K/G36C with a face-lift, a G36 gone "Star Trek", if you will. Same insides, just a new outer skin.
That said, from all the reports I’ve read so far, the HK XM8 is very controllable (surprisingly controllable, actually) on full-auto, and should prove to be much more reliable under adverse combat conditions than the M16 rifle/M4 carbine (less stoppages and jams), requiring much less maintenance in the field, since we’ve already seen this with the HK G36 weapon system. However, we’ve also gotten reports that the forend of the XM8 gets extremely hot, and that some handguards have melted on it during some of the testing. DefRev doesn’t know the specifics of that/those incident(s), nor are we sure that they’re true. We’ll look into it.
I’ll take a look at the links you’ve provided as soon as I can. Thanks again for the feedback and info. Please fee free to contribute more information and links to us in the future on anything military Defense-related that you think might interest us.
P.S. In my reply to Eddy, I forgot to mention the problems that the OICW/XM29 reportedly had with its air-bursting munitions. DefRev has been told that the development team ran into some difficulty in getting the concept to work reliably. However, DefRev doesn’t remember the specific problems, at the moment. However, we do remember hearing about a round (or possibly rounds, plural) exploding at the wrong time, i.e. while still inside the weapon. We’re not sure whether or not this actually happened. In other words, we haven’t confirmed it.