Army to Test XM-25 in Afghanistan

Monday, May 10th, 2010

It looks like the Army is finally going to test its XM-25 Individual Airburst Weapon in Afghanistan:

Officials announced May 5 that a group of Army Special Forces Soldiers will take the weapon with them to Afghanistan sometime this summer.

The XM-25 is a precise grenade-launcher:

The enormous firepower advantage is obvious — Soldiers don’t have to get within throwing distance, they can drop the 25mm rounds directly into an enemy’s lap from up to 700 meters away, officials say.
“With XM-25, in under five seconds I could lase, put the reticule on target, and pull the trigger,” Lehner explained. “At 400 meters, it takes another two seconds to get there and explode.”
The XM-25 gunner aims the weapon’s laser rangefinder at the wall or window behind where the enemy is hiding. The distance to the target is displayed on an optical lens with cross hairs that automatically account for air pressure, temperature and the ballistics of the 25mm round.

When the Soldier pulls the trigger, that data is fed into the warhead that then detonates either above or behind the enemy. The 25mm round actually has two warheads that provide more explosive than the current 40mm grenade launcher, Lehner said. He expects it to force the Taliban to change their tactics.

That precision firepower will come at a high price: It’s projected to run $25,000 per weapon. Yet, in Afghanistan today, Soldiers are forced to use much more costly systems like Hellfire missiles fired from Apache attack helicopters to hit a distant and embedded enemy with pinpoint accuracy, Lehner said.

The Army plans to spend $34 million on further development in 2011 with a production start slated for 2012, according to service budget documents. The service had planned to buy 12,500 XM-25s, but a final decision is awaiting a program review by senior Army officials.
The XM-25 weighs 14 pounds with a four round magazine. But Soldiers here said the XM-25 will provide such increased lethality that the extra weight doesn’t bother them.

I’ve mentioned the high-tech weapon before (more than once). In fact, I mentioned its predecessor, the XM29, way back in the day.

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