November 10, 2015

Mini-UAV and new modular pistol for US soldiers

The Army is giving US soldiers a mini-UAV and new XM17 pistols.

Black Hornet

The PD-100 Black Hornet is a toy-sized UAV that makes short-distance reconnaissance easy. The four-inch, 18-gram personal scout can fly for about 25 minutes, maxing out at about 11 miles per hour while taking video and high-resolution images. A small, hand-held terminal receives the feed and controls the bird.

Cummings said it was one of the items that could come down the pipe next year that could have a big impact, though he didn’t have a specific timetable.

New XM17 pistols for 2017

The XM17 pistol modular element is key, as the program's name indicates. The Army wants a gun that can be adjusted with different-sized grips, as well as accommodate a variety of accessories, such as laser sights and flashlights. The competition will be open-caliber, which opens the door for .40- and .45 -caliber bullets, along with the smaller current Army and NATO standard 9mm. Hollow tip and fragmenting bullets are possible; the U.S. has never signed onto the 1899 Hague Convention that bars them.

Gun-makers are preparing their bids to replace the Beretta M9 — the Army’s pistol of choice since 1985 — with a new Modular Handgun System, dubbed XM17. PEO Soldier expects the guns to reach the first units in early 2017.

Official requirements for the XM17 program include:

  • non-caliber specific
  • modular grips
  • grip that accepts a wide-range of hand-sizes (5th to 95th percentile)
  • ability to accept different fire-control devices/action types
  • ability to accept various magazine sizes
  • suppressor compatible
  • ability to mount “target enablers” (lights, lasers, etc) on a picatinny rail
  • match-grade accuracy (90% or better chance 4″ circle at 50 meters)
  • low felt recoil impulse

Leading XM17 candidate guns

A MHS variant of the Sig Sauer P320 will feature a frame-mounted manual thumb safety and come in a neutral color.

STI-Detonics STX

Beretta APX

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