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A Comparative Analysis of Current and Planned Small Arms Weapon Systems

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Master's thesis

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The purpose of this project is to determine which small weapon system provides the best value to the DoD by examining the background, capabilities, and cost of each one. The XM8 family of weapons is the proposed replacement for the M16A4 Rifle, the M4 Carbine, and the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon SAW. Each current weapon is compared to the planned replacement system to determine if the XM8 is a viable substitute for that system. Ultimately, the project will produce a candidate for the best value rifle system for the DoD. Chapter 2 presents the evolution of current individual soldier weapons and associated equipment, including performance characteristics and costs. These systems are the M16A4 Rifle, M4 Carbine, M249 SAW, ANPAQ-4C and ANPEQ-2A laser aiming lights, M68 reflex sight, and the M145 optical sight. Chapter 3 describes the two variants of the XM8 rifle system that are intended to replace current systems the XM8 Carbine and the XM8 Designated Marksman Automatic Rifle DMAR. For each variant the authors provide background information, origins of the system, performance characteristics, and cost. Chapter 4 consists of two quantitative performance analyses. The first analysis is the XM8 Carbine against the M4 Carbine and the M16A4 Rifle. The second analysis is the XM8 DMAR against the M249 SAW. Relevant performance variables analyzed were reliability, weight, suitability, lethality, and maintainability. The nonrelevant variables analyzed were laser aiming lights and optical sights, weapon length, security procedures, repair parts, and accuracy. Chapter 5 consists of two quantitative analyses a comparison of individual weapon costs of the XM8 Carbine with the M16A4 Rifle and M4 Carbine, and a comparison of individual weapon costs of the XM8 DMAR with the M249 SAW. It also includes fielding costs for a Unit of Action UA from the 101st Infantry Division Air Assault per its prescribed MTOR for current and planned systems.

Subject Categories:

  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Fire Control and Bombing Systems
  • Guns

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