Kayman-Hale Armaments X-1 Kinetic Accelerator Rifle - Updated with new KHA background.
Year of Service Entry: 2117
History: Preliminary designs for the X-1 hit the drawing board of KHAs top-secret Kepler Mountain Research Facility as early as 2107. The system—pitched as a revolutionary new infantry weapon—was, along with the ECE, one of the two original sub-programs of Project: Renaissance.
Early in the development process, researchers aimed to make the X-1 a plasma-based energy weapon similar to those manufactured by the Maktharian defence company Yujanji-Ti. However, despite that company’s success with such weaponry, KHA technicians questioned their overall, multi-mission effectiveness.
The magnetically bottled, plasma-toroid ammunition of the YJ-90 Autorifle, while extremely powerful, was severely limited in range and all-weather capability, with particularly harsh conditions badly affecting the round. Researchers also viewed this particular type of ammunition as being too dangerous to the operator in close-quarters, given the violent deflagration of the round on impact.
The design team therefore switched emphasis from an energy-based projectile to a more exotic take on kinetic ammunition, and quickly began research of the various electromagnetic small arms used by alien military forces, such as those of the Seqari and Qelek. While operationally similar, the X-1 differed from these weapons—and other, similar KHA vehicular weapon systems—in its method of electromagnetic propulsion (using staged coils as opposed to rails to incur linear motion), and in its ammunition (pellets rather than dart-like projectiles).
Although weapons in use with the seqari and qelek were capable of achieving muzzle velocities exceeding 1km/s, the X-1 program sought to produce a firearm with the ability to propel its ammunition to hypersonic speed.
Whilst considered technically feasible, the designers also portrayed the issues such velocities would have on the weapon, namely the production of excessive heat per shot that would ultimately limit how many rounds the weapon could fire before a longevity-required cool down was vital.
To overcome these issues and retain such a high peak velocity, the KHA team looked to the idea of a firearm that could modify itself on the spot without any input beyond simple manipulation of a button or catch. This birthed the first of the final design submissions, which introduced a weapon with three modes of fire, and corresponding barrel lengths, muzzle velocities and thermal capacities. After some refinement, the chosen design took the name X-1 Kinetic Accelerator Rifle in mid-2116.
Construction: Given the scope of the X-1 program, the materials necessary for the weapon were to be equally exotic. The requirement for high strength and high heat tolerance led to the implementation of a tungsten barrel coated with silicon carbide.
This barrel, which segmented and split apart around its rear portion to accommodate the required retraction and extension, had inlaid coils of conductive carbon nanotube wiring, hooked into a primary solid-state vespomide battery pack located in the grip, and a redundancy pack in the butt.
The supporting framework meanwhile consisted of carbotitanium alloys and aircraft-grade aluminium components, while the encasing shell utilised a high-impact, heat-resistant polymer reinforced with graphene layers.
Optics: The X-1 is equipped with a variable power, hyperspectral electro-optical scope that wirelessly connects with the ECEs heads-up display unit. A built-in smart-targeting system aids the operator in acquisition by marking the projected point of impact. The scope is equipped with left and right button panels for switching between black and white hot thermal, false-colour infrared and wave-millimetre imaging modes. These modes can also be remotely engaged via the ECE.
CQC: The CQC setting of the X-1 completely retracts the barrel to the stabilisation ring and switches the firing circuit to a fully automatic mode in the realm of 1,200 rounds per minute, approximating one minute and twenty seconds of continuous fire. Although the CQC setting has the highest rate of fire, the shortened barrel—and thus fewer coil stages—reduces the muzzle velocity to roughly one third of that achievable at full barrel extension. CQC also necessitates thermal venting in sustained fire, limiting the operator to a maximum uninterrupted burst of one-hundred rounds, equating to five seconds of continuous fire. At this point, the weapon’s computer will lock out the trigger and open the forward vents to initiate forced cooling. With disciplined trigger control, the operator can sustain fire for a greater period, and extend it further with periodic manual operation of the cooling vents.
Assault: The Assault setting of the X-1 is its middle ground, extending the barrel halfway between full extension and retraction. Assault also adjusts the firing circuit to a burst mode, delivering three consecutive rounds per trigger pull at roughly 1,000 RPM. Between its ROF and barrel length, this setting offers a trade-off between the rapid fire of CQC and the accuracy of Marksman, making it viable for engagement at medium range. While the overheat threshold is far higher than that of CQC, the increase in the number of active coils in conjunction with continual fire will eventually necessitate automatic or manual operation of the forward vents.
Marksman: The Marksman setting of the X-1 extends the barrel to its full length and adjusts the firing circuit to a semi-automatic mode. In this setting, all coils are active, allowing the X-1 to boost its rounds to hypersonic velocity. At this speed, the 2mm tungsten projectile will deliver three tons of force on impact. While this grants the X-1 the ability to penetrate cover and armour, the hydrostatic shock induced when penetrating flesh is considerable enough to dismember one or more unfortunate victims along the round’s trajectory. Due to the increased number of coils activated in the firing process, heat build-up per shot is more significant than the CQC and Assault settings. This limits the weapon to ten rapid shots before auto-venting commences.
Ammunition: The X-1 fires 2mm pellets of tungsten carbide from a magazine containing 1,600 individual rounds. This 10(L)x 3(B)x 8(D) cm polymer magazine is dorsally loaded into the weapon and upon exhaustion automatically pops up for easy extraction.
Rounds drop into a feeding chute that leads into the rear of the firing chamber, with a trigger-controlled door preventing or allowing rounds to feed, depending on the setting of the weapon. In the CQC setting, the door will remain open for as long as the trigger is pulled or until auto-venting initiates. In the Assault setting, the door permits three rounds to drop into the chamber before sealing. The Marksman setting permits one door cycle per pull of the trigger.
The magazine can be manually removed by depressing a catch either side of the magazine housing, triggering the spring mechanism to allow extraction.
Miscellaneous: To avoid rapid retraction/extension of the barrel when switching between firing modes, the system incorporates a brief delay, only triggering a selected mode after the catch holds for one second in the selected setting. A laser-aiming/rangefinder module is mounted directly beneath the barrel stabilisation ring.