Talk:Realistic Equivalents

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Battlescape Equipment

Pistol and Rifle

As a note, an MP5 is not considered a battle rifle, as it is a submachine gun.

GazChap - I also wouldn't really consider the AK-47 to be a realistic equivalent. I've always pictured X-COM as being a very high-tech organisation. I would have thought the AK-47 would be too... raw, for X-COM. Not enough bells and whistles on it. - 21 July 2005 14:05 BST.

Not sure why would anyone use an M-16, if there is M4A1s around. Also back the reccommendation to remove the reference to MP-5, as it is just a submachine gun.--Vagabond 05:16, 1 March 2007 (PST)

I would say the US M4 was the closest equivalent - if I remember correctly that only has single/3RB burst modes; the M4A1 adds a full auto option which we dont have. It is probably the most similar looking - although not particularly close, most of the other examples dont look similar at all, even if their behaviour and usage is - obviously with modern weapons you have quite a few bullpup designs, and then stuff like the AK74 and its variants that have iconic looks and wouldnt be confused with whatever the UFO rifle would look like in real life, even by people with no knowledge of weapons. --Sfnhltb 10:04, 1 March 2007 (PST)

To me the X-Com rifle looks like a G3 or an FN, but given the hitting power/penetration is barely above a powerful pistol you have to accept the Rifle is only chambered in 5.56mm if not 4.85. Definitely not a muscular 7.62mm (Russian or NATO). Even then, given the closeness in power to the pistol you could argue the pistol must be a Desert Eagle, WinMag, or an exotic Remington, customised with an extended magazine (contributing to the lousy accuracy).

However I don't believe X-Com dallies with exotic weapons; for sound operational and logistical reasons (including a tight budget), I think they take the prudent course of using battle-proven weapons that are in wide service with member nations and familiar to commandos of many nations. So I would vote for an M4, or any 5.56 HK assault rifle, plus the SOCOM pistol or even the humble Browning 9mm.

Spike 14:14, 9 April 2008 (PDT)

Yes, definitely the Mk23 SOCOM pistol. Semi auto, no burst mode, very heavy, 12rd mag, in-service date 1996, stopping power in the submachinegun range - all these things say the X-Com Pistol is the Mk23. The artwork looks like the Mk23 and the robustness of the weapon in all environments fits with the idea of pragmatic weapon choices for X-Com. Of all the realistic equivalents, I think this is the most clear-cut. I withdraw the suggestion of the Browning and the exotic heavy pistols. Spike 14:36, 9 April 2008 (PDT)

Thanks dude - I'm glad my logic has held up all these years. :) --JellyfishGreen 12:29, 31 March 2009 (EDT)
Aw, boo... I remember seeing some customized handguns that use Rifle calibre bullets. The stopping power... and the complete inaccuracy! Ouch!
Then again guys, maybe outlandish exotic weapons explain your troops' utter incompetence at using them.
Those actually MIGHT be NATO rounds in those rifles... bloody clips cost $200... in 1999 pre-inflation prices. OUCH!
Jasonred 16:06, 31 March 2009 (EDT)

For the Rifle, the magazine size is that of a 7.62, although that wouldn't explain the lousy hitting power (as Spike pointed out). A 5.56mm is the most likely, but the mag size is rather unusually small. As above, an M4 would probably work (except the mag size), and it almost looks like a tricked-out M4. The pistol is certainly a Mk23 SOCOM. --BenWaters 15:51, 2 September 2013 (EDT)

Autocannon and Heavy Cannon

The new 25mm XM307 OCSW could rapidly fire AP and HE grenades. No rotary barrel though it does have automatic fire.

But the OCSW is a Crew Served Weapon, requiring 2 people to carry and operate it, which is just too big for the XCom autocannon. This must be a 20-25mm weapon or absolute max of 30mm. Spike 21:26, 22 February 2010 (EST)

I like the xm25 for the autocannon. I think a better heavy cannon would be an xm109 Payload rifle. It fires a heavier 25mm round than the xm25. For project Xenocide, we looked at a lot of different military firearms. We based a concept on the Croatian RT-20, a very heavy antimaterial rifle that fires the 20mm hispano suiza anti aircraft cannon round. It fires a very heavy round, it is a cannon, however it's bolt action like the NTW-20. Unlike the NTW-20, though, it is not magazine fed. Since neither of those 'cannons' are really believable as weapons that one would walk around with, I think the xm109 is the best analogue. -Max Power 04:38, 11 May 2010 (EDT)

I agree the XM109 is a good fit. 5 round magazine (maybe 6 rounds with 'one in the chamber'?), excellent AP, variable ammo since it's compatible with XM307 ammo. So AP, HE, HEDP, HEAT and HE-I rounds are a given, and pure incendiary rounds are theoretically possible if alternative 25 x 59mm rounds were used. It particularly fits because the Heavy Cannon AP is arguably the best starting sniper weapon, and of course the XM109 is an up-chambered Barrett M82 heavy (.50 cal) sniper rifle. The only difficulty with the XM109 is how realistic it is to have that weapon operational in 1999. Certainly the M82-class weapons were popular with Special Forces in the 1990s. The M82 article (just referenced) says an early version of the XM109, was in the final OSW trials in 2002, and the OSW project started in 1993 - so it's possible that secret limited field use of prototypes could've been happening in 1999, especially if they were found to be one of the few human weapons effective against the more difficult alien races. Potentially the Heavy Cannon could be based off the 1987 M82A2 bullpup configuration, which is closer in appearance to the XCom graphics. There is also mention of a rare 12-rd mag for the M82, vs 10 rds normally, so a rare 6-rd mag for the 25mm version is a possibility.
Regarding the realism of the xm109. The 25mm grenade was already in development for the OICW project in the 1980s, I think. The xm25 has already been accepted onto the wiki page. It's a stretch, for sure, but a system like that is the only real analogue I can think of. It's more 'heavy cannon' like than a multiple grenade launcher system in that those systems are not heavy and are not cannon-like. The behaviour of a cannon or high velocity grenade firing rifle is more apt.
The XM25 would be a really nice match for the Heavy Cannon, especially the weight, appearance, and thermobaric rounds. But as it only entered prototype trials in 2005, and has a lot of advanced technology the Heavy Cannon seems to lack, I think that we must reluctantly rule that out. And it does not qualify as the Auto Cannon, as it is semiautomatic with only a 6rd magazine. Spike 20:01, 11 May 2010 (EDT)

Rocket Launcher

Those are freaking cheap Rocket Launchers, considering their utility... $4000 for a multi-use rocket launcher + $900 per high yield rocket? Compared to $3000 for a rifle? Jasonred 16:06, 31 March 2009 (EDT)

Predator SRAW Antitank Missile has been suggested. But the Predator SRAW was not in service until 2002 so it's highly unlikely. It's also too heavy, both in launcher and ammo, and frankly too sophisticated - a top attack fire and forget anti tank missile. The M136 AT-4 is a disposable one-shot, so that is also ruled out.

Here is why my money is on the 84mm Carl Gustav (M3 MAAWS / RAAWS in US service). The firepower and weight (9kg empty) is about right - as is the maximum 3-4 rounds per man carry over short tactical distances. In widespread use with many Funding Nations in 1999 both in regular and Special Forces. Not strictly a guided weapon but with optical sight and laser rangefinder. The ammunition matches - light and heavy HE rounds, and incendiary rounds available (shame XCom did not also take the Illumination and Smoke rounds - or the antitank rounds which might perhaps penetrate a UFO hull). Comparing its effectiveness vs contemporary armour (HWPs), the X-Com RL is clearly inferior to a Milan or a Predator (not in service in 1999?). So the"Charlie G" fits. A typical (excellent, versatile) squad-level close assault weapon of the time. Selected by US Army Rangers and Navy SEALs. For some reason X-Com quartermasters have requested the proximity safety fuses be removed - probably for classified tactical reasons they did not want the rockets to be failsafe during the first 15-70m of flight.

Price for a similar (but perhaps "gold-plated") US weapon, the MK153 SMAW, quoted at $13,000 in 2006. Advanced dual-action hyperbaric-penetrator rounds for the MK153 quoted at $4000-$5000 in 2006. Probably the Carl Gustav launcher and much more standard rounds were a lot cheaper in 1999 dollars. The Rocket Launcher price of $4,000 and the rocket costs of $750 - $1,200 are in the right ball park for the Charlie G.

Spike 18:02, 22 February 2010 (EST)


Though naturally they are based around alien technology, particularly the cyberdisk, I can't help but notice some similarities between the hovertank and the avrocar. Flying disk weapons are hardly a new concept in scifi, but the similarities are pretty striking. They were tested in 1961 and considered unfit for use, but maybe that was just some early branch of the XCOM high command squirreling them away.

Vivanter 11:46, 19 August 2012 (EST)

Aircraft Weapons


It's tempting to agree that the Stingray is the AIM-7 Sparrow and the Avalanche is the AIM-120 AMRAAM. Not only do the effective ranges, relative warhead power, and hit probabilities fit pretty well, but they begin with the same letters. I kind of suspect that we have read the developers' minds here, that they flipped open a copy of Jane's and just changed the names.

BUT, as sometimes happens, the developers were wrong!

Considering we are taking on aircraft that easily out run and out turn state of the art combat aircraft, the standard operational ranges of these missiles are not relevant. For what is normally a tail chase, XCom aircraft would have to get well inside the maximum operational range of their missiles to have a good chance of a hit.

So I think a better answer would be that the Avalanche is the ultra long range AIM-54 Phoenix, and the Stingray is the AIM-120. But honestly I suspect the developers just took the operating ranges at face value and didn't think about the problems of tail chasing super fast UFOs.

Looking at the design of the Avalanche and reading the unused flavor text (still present in the DAT file), I think the avalanche is a combination of the AIM-54 Phoenix and the AAM-N-10 Eagle. The range of the avalanche is closer to the chase range of the Phoenix but the design (double fins along the length) is closer to the Eagle. Also, the Eagle was supposed to have a nuclear warhead option. Tycho (talk)

By the way, the cost of an AIM-120 in 1999 was about $386,000. For an AIM-7 it was $125,000. Actually very close to the ratio of Avalanche $9,000 :: $3,000 Stingray. Raising the price of these missiles to realistic levels would go a long way to making the Cannon more useful (since its ammo price would not change, see below)! It might even breathe some life into the Stingray. And encourage people not to always mount dual missile launchers.


The Cannon would be a M61 20mm Vulcan cannon (used on most US fighters in 1999) or more likely a Mauser BK 27 (found on many European aircraft of the time and desired by the USAF), not the GAU-8 Avenger or GAU-12 Equaliser which are air to ground tankbusting weapons not found on air superiority aircraft. Also only a cannon on an air superiority aircraft and assisted by excellent targeting systems would have a range anywhere near 10km. 1km would be more typical. The Mauser is a closer fit as it is heavier than the M61 (27mm) and has about the right ammo capacity (180rds per cannon on a Tornado).

Vulcan cannon ammunition is about $30 per round (2006 prices) in bulk. Call it $24 in 1996. I imagine 27mm rounds are more. But you typically have a 1000 rds of 20mm in an aircraft, not just 200. Using the optimistic assumption of pricing 20mm rounds, is actually very close to XCom prices. $1190 for 50 rds, versus the XCom price of $1240. Remarkably close!

Spike 19:32, 20 February 2010 (EST)


X-Com is a very heavily stylized game and I don't think that one ought to limit their imagination to what the weapons look like. Quite frankly, some of their weapons concepts are ridiculous (however well they work stylistically). User:Max Power

Agreed. My criteria for this article, Realistic Equivalents, in roughly ranked order, are:
  1. Functionality - does it match the capabilities? If there are minor differences, are these plausible as customisations?
  2. Chronology - Did it exist in 1999, preferably in production, but even as a possible secret prototype ?
  3. Deployment - Was it in use in 1999 by regular military forces or special forces, particularly of Funding Nations?
  4. Appearance - Does it resemble the in-game graphics?

Spike 04:41, 14 May 2010 (EDT)


One step closer:

"The element is highly radioactive and exists for less than a second before decaying into lighter atoms. First proposed by Russian scientists in 2004, the super-heavy element has yet to be verified by the governing body of chemistry and physics." Off the Rails 11:15, 31 August 2013 (EDT)