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a little spill over from the M4 thread -

For once it seems the Army is actually turning fiction into science.

After nearly a decade in the shadows — with billions spent on earlier versions long since abandoned — the Army is moving quickly to field a revolutionary new weapon to Joes a lot sooner than anyone had ever imagined.

It’s a weapon that can take out a bad guy behind a wall, beyond a hill or below a trench, and do it more accurately and with less collateral damage than anything on the battlefield today, officials say. It’s called the XM25 Individual Air Burst Weapon, and by next month the service will have three prototypes of the precision-guided 25mm rifle ready for testing.

A ‘leap ahead’ in lethality
“We’ve done a lot of testing with this, and what we’re seeing is the estimated increase in effectiveness is six times what we’d be getting with a 5.56mm carbine or a grenade launcher,” said Rich Audette, Army Deputy Project Manager for Soldier weapons.

“What we’re talking about is a true ‘leap ahead’ in lethality, here. This is a huge step,” Audette added during a phone interview with Military.com from his office at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey.

Born of the much-maligned and highly-controversial Objective Individual Combat Weapon — a 1990s program that sought a “leap ahead” battle rifle that combined a counter-defilade weapon with a carbine — the XM25 only recently gained new momentum after the Army formalized a requirement and released a contract in June for a series of test weapons.

Infantry weapons to date have permitted fighters to shoot at or through an obstacle concealing enemy threats, but the Army for years has been trying to come up with a weapon to engage targets behind barriers without resorting to mortars, rockets or grenades — all of which risk collateral damage. After fits and starts using a 20mm rifle housed in a bulky, overweight, complicated shell, technology finally caught up to shave the XM25 from 21 pounds to a little more than 12 pounds.

If the XM25 does what its developers hope, it will be able to fire an air-bursting round at a target from 16 meters away out to 600 meters with a highly accurate, 360-degree explosive radius.

“This should have the same impact as the incorporation of the machine gun” into infantry units, said Andy Cline, product director for the XM25.

The XM25 is about as long as a collapsed M4, weighs about as much as an M16 with an M203 grenade launcher attached and has about as much kick as a 12-gauge shotgun, said Barb Muldowney, Army deputy program manager for infantry combat weapons.

The semi-auto XM25 comes with a four-round magazine, though testers are looking at whether to increase the capacity to as much as 10 rounds.

A ’smart’ weapon
Brains are what really makes this Buck Rogers gun work — it has them. The weapon combines a thermal optic, day sight, laser range finder, compass and IR illuminator with a fire-control system that wirelessly transmits the exact range of the target into the 25mm round’s fuse before firing.

A Soldier can aim the XM25 at a wall concealing a sniper, for example, but “dial in” or adjust the distance by an additional meter above the target. When fired, the Alliant Teksystems-built round will explode above the enemy’s position, essentially going around the obstruction, Muldowney said.

“It’s so accurate, that when I laze to that target I’m going to be able to explode that round close enough that I’m going to get it,” Audette added.

The service hopes to field several other types of 25mm rounds for the XM25, including ones for breaching doors, piercing vehicle armor and non-lethal air-bursting and blunt-impact rounds.

Testers at Picatinny plan to put the XM25 through its paces over the next several months, certifying it as safe for a Soldier to operate and tinkering with the weapon’s effectiveness and durability.

The weapon costs about $25,000 each, but experts were quick to point out that a fully-loaded M4 for optics and pointers costs pretty close to $30,000. Each ATK-made 25mm round costs about $25.

Testing next year
As Heckler and Koch, makers of the weapon itself, and L3 Communications — which makes the fire control system — crank out more weapons, the Army plans to push an initial batch of test weapons out to the field beginning in March 2009. That could include the first use of such a weapon in combat, Cline said.

If all goes according to plan, the first fully-equipped infantry units could have their first XM25s in hand by 2014, far sooner than the Army’s small arms community had predicted even last year.

The program “came very close to ending,” Audette explained. “But the Army took a look at all the work that was done — and the testing that projected the kind of lethality increase that we could get — and they said ‘we’ve got to do this.’ ”
 

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I don't know about this weapon. The whole idea about lasing the target to get a range before fire seems like it would put the shooter at risk. With rifles, you can immediately fire at a target, and if you are familiar with your weapon (which all infantry men should be) you can judge the distance to target and compensate in what I would assume to be a shorter time than this would be able to. Also, what happens in the rain, fog, or dust storm? For CQC, you would need a different weapon (and I wouldn't want just a pistol). Maybe stick the grenadiers with these, but that's it.
 

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Sounds like a pipe dream. I'd ask the designers" Can this wizbang gun do what you say it can do while the soldier is on the run'? or does he have to stop and keep the weapon pointed at a stationary object so it can do do the math? Can it calculate at a moving target? If so how fast can it do those calculations and does it require that the shooter flip switches or just pull the trigger?
 

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Can any weapon do what they say it can while the soldier is on the run?
Shooting while running is nothing more than wasting ammo and keeping the bad guys heads down.

This weapon isn't designed for CQB, nor is it designed for targets in motion. It's a door busting, cover clearing, corner whiping, window bashing glorified grenade launcher.

As far as I've read up on it (have been having a discussion about it on another board) the calculations for a firing solution are as complex as the soldier wants them to be or needs them to be. For instance, they can lase a target (1 second) and either fire OR, they can dial the detonation for a .05 delay so that it'll blow up past the lase point, for clearing out enemies behind cover, or punch thru a window then blow up. The intuitiveness of the interface has the same hurdles as any other. Familiarity begets speed. I wouldn't see this as an "every soldier" type of weapon, but more of a specialized weapon.


Zhur
 

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Yeah, but then they wouldn't have anything to spend out tax dollars on, now would they.

Zhur
 

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Having been a range safety officer for the M203 range I can say this much.

The M203 has some big limitations compared to this:

1. The loading process is a horrible single shot open breech type. (compared to a semi-auto 10 or 20 shot magazine)
2. the awkward sighting mechanism designed for curved rather than flat trajectory fire (which is what the new weapon overcomes with a major increase in accuracy).
3. Lack of air burst timed fuze capability. (M203 rounds are point detonating, and therefore have limitations for hitting enemy behind cover). No to mention how terribly difficult it is to actually get the round behind the cover you're aiming at while arching the round in an indirect manner.

If I were a grenadier I would take this thing in a heart beat. With today's modern laser range finding capability, the time exposed would be minimal or equal to the time it takes to line up an M203 sight with proper angle for range. We are talking a second or 2 max. Not to mention the increased lethality an air burst round provides. The new rounds even provide a delay capability for punching through soft walls or windows. That is a hell of an improvement.

There would be a big advantage to having both M203's and one of these in the squad.
 

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The PM for Soldier Weapons had one of the prototypes on display at the AUSA symposium. ATK had one on display there also.
Pictured with the prototype is the H&K XM320 40mm grenade launcher, which has been picked to replace the M203.
 

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That is one mean looking grenade chucker.
Who ever said they wouldn't have the weapons from the movie 'Aliens'?
"We got sonic electronic ball breakers!"
 

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ACU colors.... c'mon really? WTF They just can't realize just how ineffective those colors are, can they?
 

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ACU colors.... c'mon really? WTF They just can't realize just how ineffective those colors are, can they?
What are you talking about, look at how effective it is in this environment!
Besides, everyone is doing digital these days. Big Army has to jump on the wagon while still being different. I say multi-cam for everyone.

 

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B52U said:
ACU colors.... c'mon really? WTF They just can't realize just how ineffective those colors are, can they?
What are you talking about, look at how effective it is in this environment!
Besides, everyone is doing digital these days. Big Army has to jump on the wagon while still being different. I say multi-cam for everyone.

Damn when we invade my grandmothers house we are really gonna kick ass
 
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