Beginning life as the 5.56mm KE (kinetic energy) component of the 20mm air-bursting XM29 Objective Individual Combat Weapon (OICW), the XM8
Lightweight Modular Carbine System represents the state-of-the-art in 5.56x45mm NATO assault rifles. Developed by the US Army’s office of Project Manager for Soldier Weapons located at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey in close conjunction with the US Army Infantry Center, the XM8 Future Combat Rifle is intended to replace existing M4 Carbines and select 5.56mm x45 weapons in the US Army arsenal beginning as early as the fourth quarter of FY05. Once adopted, the M8 Carbine will replace the aging M16/M4 family of weapons, which have been in service for nearly four decades, longer than any previous US service rifle. The M8 Carbine will be up to 20% lighter than a comparably equipped M4 Carbine MWS and yet offer additional features and performance unavailable currently in any assault rifle in the world.
The US XM8 Carbine is being designed at the HK Defense design center in Sterling, Virginia and will be produced and assembled in the United States at the new Heckler & Koch manufacturing plant located in Columbus, Georgia, adjacent to Fort Benning. The unit cost of the XM8 will be less than that of the current M4 Carbine and will guarantee the American war fighter uncompromising performance far exceeding that of current in-service M4 Carbines