Low-rate initial production of 800 revolutionary XM806 lightweight .50-caliber machine guns started in February. A pierced primer during limited user testing halted progress, said Lt. Col. Thomas Ryan, product manager of crew-served weapons for Program Executive Office Soldier. Delivery, which was expected by 2014, is now delayed 17 months.
While no one likes a delay, finding this fault early in the process has allowed the Army to build a more reliable and durable weapon, Ryan said. The service dropped an additional $45 million on a re-engineered bolt, adjustments to the fixed head space and new tests. Officials have put 300,000 rounds downrange and the results have been strong.
The XM806 cuts the weight of the 128-pound M2 by half and reduces recoil by 60 percent. It also boasts an effective range of 2,000 meters, 170 better than the M2. The machine gun, which has a manual safety, allows for quick barrel changes that do not require adjustments for head space and timing.
Relief also is on the way for the A-gunner tapped to carry the tripod. The XM205 weighs 13 pounds less than the 44-pound M3 now being carried. The XM205 collapses to less than 50 percent of deployed height.”
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