The HK23E Belt Fed Machine Gun Cal. 5.56mm x 45 NATO
The HK23E is the little brother to the HK21E. In 5.56 x 45 caliber, (.223 Remington), the then called HK21A1 was a contender for the Squad Automatic Weapon trials hosted by the U.S. military when they sought to add a smaller lighter weapon in 5.56 at the squad level. It featured full caliber conversion from 7.62 x 51 to 5.56 x 45 in minutes without tools. Designated for these tests as the XM262, the HK21A1 lost out to the FN Minimi, now designated by the military as the M249 SAW. (Squad Automatic Weapon)
After the HK21A1 was improved and renamed the HK21E, the same was done for the 5.56 version. It was renamed the HK23E.
The HK23E with standard three round burst trigger group, 100 round belt box and bipod. Visible from this angle is the carrying handle, forward assist and barrel changing handle. Also shown is the older style non-adjustable bipod.
The HK23E with tripod model 1102. Mount for periscope optic is present as well. Optic itself is not shown.
Very interesting variant of the HK23, referred to as the HK73. It features what has been described as a linkless feed system that holds a box similar in shape to a linked belt box, but as you can see in this photo, clearly different. It is said to hold 150 rounds of 5.56 ammunition, and is loaded with stripper clips.
Detailed photo of the HK73 linkless feed magazine. 150 round capacity.