OICW Individual Weapon RFP Temporarily Suspended
The U.S. Army announced today it temporarily suspended the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the acquisition of a new family of small weapons – Objective Individual Combat Weapon Increment 1 (OICW-1) – in order to incorporate joint requirements. The Army’s proposal for this rifle/ carbine/ SAW replacement has received interest from the other military services, and is further supported by several internal reviews reinforcing the increase in the potential for joint use. A meeting of the Joint Requirements Oversight Committee (JROC) is scheduled for early September 2005, after which new requirements and an amended RFP will be issued. The solicitation number for OICW-1 is W15QKN-05-R-0449 and can be viewed at http://procnet.pica.army.mil.
OICW-1 is comprised of a family of small arms weapons that are intended to replace the M4 carbine, the M16 rifle, the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon and selected M9 pistols. This rifle was to have a modified XM8 firng 5.56mm bullets, with a 20mm semiautomatic grenade launcher with a six-round clip for distant targets. It is also was to have a lot of the latest technology, including a ballistic computer, laser rangefinder, video camera, and a day-night scope.
The original plan was for the OICW to enter the service during the year 2008 in limited numbers. It would then be upgraded as new technologies became available. The plan was to issue four OICW units per one infantry squad of 9 men. Early in the 2002 the XM-29 test weapons were successfully tested with the newest 20mm HEAB (High Explosive Air Bursting) munitions, which were slated to be a major “kill factor” for the M-29 weapon.
Unfortunately the Alliant Techsystems Corporation/ H&K XM29 OICW had a weight problem (it was pushing 18 pounds), which forced a split. At 18 pounds, the XM29 OICW it was too heavy as a personal weapon, and lightening it to the objective of 14 pounds would have made it too fragile for combat conditions.
So, the dual-firing OICW was split into the XM8 and the XM25, which was modified to use the 25mm smart shell for the XM307 (the Objective Crew-Served Weapon). The XM25 will now have a five-round clip for the 25mm grenades (with an optional ten-round clip). Ironically, the XM25 weighs about as much as the XM29 did (about 18 pounds). The XM8 was scheduled to begin entering service within the year, and the XM25 was scheduled to enter service in 2007. Clearer timelines should begin to re-emerge after the JROC meeting.
- Military.com – Wave of the Future: The XM-8 Battle Rifle
- Murdoc Online: XM-8 Assault Rifle
- US DoD News (July 19/05) – Small Arms Weapons Program Reviewed for Joint Service Potential
- StrategyPage (July 13/05) – The New Assault Rifles
- Modern Firearms – Alliant Techsystems / Heckler-Koch XM-29 SABR / OICW assault rifle (USA)