While I was conducting research for my article on building a Canadian C8 SFW clone, I found the Royal Canadian Military Institute (RCMI) presentation by the General Manager of Colt Canada. In it, he talked about a number of military weapon projects Colt Canada is currently working on. At 15:45 he talks about a future combat rifle development the US Marine Corps is actively involved with, as well as the Canadian Forces and the British Ministry of Defence.
My notes (with my comments) on this development in the Colt Canada presentation at RCMI:
- The rifle is still based on the Stoner design (aka the M16 and AR-15), and it’s chambered for the 5.56x45mm NATO caliber. It features fully ambidextrous weapon controls, just like the latest versions of the Canadian C7 and C8. The weapon will be 1/2 pound lighter than a Colt M4 with a comparable optic, thermal and laser mounted.
- The current metallic cartridge small arms ammunition is at the developmental apex. Colt Canada is not looking at moving away from the 5.56x45mm NATO.
- Integrated sound suppressor. Keeping the direct-impingement action makes a lot of sense. As the suppressor is designed as part of the weapon from the start, there will be no point-of-impact shift issue to deal with.
- Monolithic upper receiver with modular accessory interface. It looks like the Magpul M-Lok system. Btw, Colt Canada developed their monolithic upper design way before Vltor and LMT did theirs.
- New collapsible stock. Finally! Colt Canada is moving away from the original Colt Fiberlite CAR stock design.
- Built-in modular power & data rail system. Optic and accessories mounted on it not only get power from the rail, but it also allow data communication between the devices. This could be a simple activation button, to feeding images from a thermal imager. The power & data interface is the dual small round contacts between the Pictinny rail slots.
- Central power pack at the rear of the weapon. From the look of it, it’s mounted under the buffer tube. The location is probably for counter-balancing the weight of the suppressor mounted at the front of the weapon.
- The digital optic sight. It’s probably a fixed 4x prism sight with digital display overlay inside showing range/ballistic data (for the rifle and the under-barrel grenade launcher), and allows image feed from thermal imaging device. In addition, the sight has an etched reticle and it will work as a simple traditional 4x rifle sight without power or if the electronics die. It’s interesting to see who is the actual manufacturer of this sight. It is likely either ELCAN or Trijicon.
- Wireless networking built-in, wired data connection, navigation and inertial sensors. Well, I’m not so sure about having all of those mounted onto a rifle is a good idea. All of those features are part of the Canadian Forces/Colt Canada’s SWORD System.
The video of the full 51-minutes RCMI presentation, it goes into more stuff like the new military pistol, battlefield cloud, electronic trigger, and new ammo technology: