“Gamechanger” weapon now deployed in Afghanistan

posted at 10:55 am on December 1, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The Academy Award-winning film The Hurt Locker has a particularly memorable scene involving a standoff between an American sharpshooter and an Iraqi insurgent, where both have each other pinned down behind cover.  The American sharpshooter wins the standoff — but doesn’t realize it for hours, only moving after it becomes clear that the insurgent died from a well-aimed shot earlier in the day.  Imagine the same scene, but with a weapon that can actually find a target behind cover and detonate without air or artillery support, and what that would mean for US forces engaged in urban or guerilla warfare.

Actually, we don’t have to imagine it.  The XM-25 has been deployed to Afghanistan, where infantry units call it a “gamechanger“:

It looks and acts like something best left in the hands of Sylvester Stallone’s “Rambo,” but this latest dream weapon is real — and the US Army sees it becoming the Taliban’s worst nightmare.

The Pentagon has rolled out prototypes of its first-ever programmable “smart” grenade launcher, a shoulder-fired weapon that uses microchipped ammunition to target and kill the enemy, even when the enemy is hidden behind walls or other cover.

After years of development, the XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement System, about the size of a regular rifle, has now been deployed to US units on the battlefields of Afghanistan, where the Army expects it to be a “game-changer” in its counterinsurgencyoperations.

“For well over a week, it’s been actively on patrols, and in various combat outposts in areas that are hot,” said Lieutenant Colonel Chris Lehner, program manager for the XM25.

CNN reported on the weapon almost a year ago, when the Pentagon still had it in tests.  Watch this video report from former CNN reporter Rick Sanchez to get an idea of what this weapon can do, both for US forces and for innocent civilians in the immediate area of gunfire:

This report worries about the problem of the weapon falling into the wrong hands, but that’s more or less the problem with all new weapons systems.  As soon as they get deployed, they will fall into enemy hands when the enemy manages to win a skirmish and capture one or more of them.  A bigger problem will be the knock-offs created by other nations once they learn the design.  Eventually, the Russians, Chinese, North Koreans, and others will have their own versions and put them up for sale, most likely as a result of US arms sales to our allies, and then the weapons will be available to terrorists and “freedom fighters” in every corner of the world.  The only way to prevent that is to stop designing weapons systems, which is hardly realistic.

The larger problem will be the adaptations this forces onto the Taliban in Afghanistan and other such insurgencies in future wars.  This makes a stand-up fight even more suicidal than it is now.  Instead of being able to hit forces under cover at 500 yards, there simply won’t be any significant targets at all.  The enemy will likely resort to IEDs almost exclusively, with an occasional and relatively massive frontal assault on smaller fortifications to attempt to hold ground.  That will degrade the Taliban’s ability to control territory, but in the end perhaps save more of their fighters from certain death and extend their ability to fight in a much more limited fashion.

With some luck, the sheer hopelessness of an IED war will convince most of the Taliban fighters to lay down their arms before an XM-25 round finds their rock first.  It’s a great weapon and a gamechanger, but it may not be a war-ender.


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But but but killing an enemy is so FINAL! Can’t we REASON with them, instead, Next thing you know our adversaries won’t even LIKE us.

MaiDee on December 1, 2010 at 11:00 AM

Any weapon in the wrong hands poses a problem.

tarpon on December 1, 2010 at 11:02 AM

Complicated weapons, especially newly developed ones, have a poor track record of actually working once they leave the lab.

Rebar on December 1, 2010 at 11:03 AM

We already have the specific capability in the 25mm and 30mm “bushmaster” crew-served weapons, but to deploy it at the platoon level with it is something else entirely.

JeffWeimer on December 1, 2010 at 11:03 AM

It looks and acts like something best left in the hands of Sylvester Stallone’s “Rambo,” but this latest dream weapon is real — and the US Army sees it becoming the Taliban’s worst nightmare.

Until Wikileaks publishes the instructions on building one.

Sloan Morganstern on December 1, 2010 at 11:03 AM

Very expensive. Also pretty heavy.

saiga on December 1, 2010 at 11:04 AM

Glad to see the GOOD GUYS got this beauty before the BAD GUYS.
Now let’s pray the GOOD GUYS will use this beautiful weapon LIBERALLY.

Yephora on December 1, 2010 at 11:05 AM

Any weapon that saves American lives is worth it. Fighting an enemy that hides in mosques, hospitals and behind children along with an idiot in the White House calls for better weapons.

Hening on December 1, 2010 at 11:06 AM

Changes at the squad level will be that either an M249 SAW or Mk48 (depending upon unit type) weapon will be switched out to carry an XM25. Conversely, it’ll likely obsolete the M203 grenade launcher that is carried under the M4.

This is a great idea. Downside is that it looks heavy and so do the rounds. If 1-2 rounds can do what 150-200 SAW rounds previously did, then it’s probably a win. What the clip failed to discuss was the weight of the weapon one of the greatest enemies of a soldier is weight. What works great on the bench in Picatinny, might not be so great when you’re sucking wind humping it 2-5 K over Afghani terrain. my 2cent

ted c on December 1, 2010 at 11:07 AM

We’ve had M203 grenade launchers and mortars that did what this does.

Now I think this is cool as all get out but I suspect this is a very expensive boondoggle weapon.

esnap on December 1, 2010 at 11:07 AM

What would be really effective in winning the war is a weapon that can identify the enemy we’re fighting. The US military as yet has no such weapon.

keep the change on December 1, 2010 at 11:07 AM

What we need is a bow and arrow system that will shoot personally signed strongly worded memos at the enemy.

It’s a messaging failure. If the enemy only knew what Obama’s intentions are, they’d lay down their arms.

esnap on December 1, 2010 at 11:11 AM

Wow, I JUST got done commenting on Ldot about this …

Reply 4 – Posted by: Tony737, 12/1/2010 11:03:51 AM (No. 7129088)

FTA: If, for example, an enemy combatant pops up from behind a wall to fire at US troops and then ducks behind it, an XM25 gunner can aim the laser range finder at the top of the wall, then program the shell to detonate one meter beyond it, showering lethal fragmentation where the insurgent is seeking cover.

BEAUTIFUL! ‘Bout time we gave out guys the high tech stuff they need. They should be walking around invisable and looking at enemy red dots (thermal imaging) like the Predator by now!

FTA: It looks and acts like something best left in the hands of Sylvester Stallone’s “Rambo,” …

I guess the author has never actually seen a Rambo movie, Rambo prefers quiet weapons, like a the bow and arrow. I think what he meant to say was “Judge Dredd”.

This thing is badazz and long overdue!

Tony737 on December 1, 2010 at 11:11 AM

Their only issuing one per platoon or squad, whatever. It would be considered a ‘heavy’ weapon, like a M240 or what the M60 used to be.

As far as falling into enemy hands. As long as the ammo doesn’t, so what? Yeah, they’ll get their hands on one, be able to play around with it, get a little intel and then probably sell it to another country to reverse engineer.

I’m sure there will be some redesigning on this after it’s first real-world action. This invariably happens.

We can’t let any advantage or innovation in weaponry to go un-used, though. This is a good thing.

How long will it be before we start selling it to our allies anyway?

Now, if we could just get rid of/replace the .223 AR platform, we’d be in business. *ducks*

catmman on December 1, 2010 at 11:11 AM

Eventually, the Russians, Chinese, North Koreans, and others will have their own versions and put them up for sale, most likely as a result of US arms sales to our allies, and then the weapons will be available to terrorists and “freedom fighters” in every corner of the world.

I’m not so sure about that Ed. While a nation state may be able to duplicate the technology through reverse engineering, terrorists do not have access to high tech weapons in general. They use crudely built explosive devices with cell phone triggers, AK-47s and RPGs. How come they don’t have more advanced gear by now if what you wrote is true?

NotCoach on December 1, 2010 at 11:13 AM

With some luck, the sheer hopelessness of an IED war will convince most of the Taliban fighters to lay down their arms before an XM-25 round finds their rock first.

I don’t buy the “gamechanger” marketing. Are there really that many instances of face-offs with Taliban in which we fail to kill them because we can’t ignite a grenade behind or above them? It looks like an excellent weapon for snipers dug into urban areas but does that frequently exist in Afghanistan? I think the Taliban more frequently pursue attack and retreat into the wilderness or into the population tactics.

elfman on December 1, 2010 at 11:13 AM

Complicated weapons, especially newly developed ones, have a poor track record of actually working once they leave the lab.

Rebar on December 1, 2010 at 11:03 AM

Define complicated. Complicated to use or to build and maintain? Because from what I understand one of the big selling points of this weapon is its simplicity of use.

NotCoach on December 1, 2010 at 11:15 AM

esnap on December 1, 2010 at 11:07 AM

The M203 DOES NOT have the capabilities of this weapon. The ammo is similar – HE, anti-personnel, TP, etc in capability, but that’s where the similarity ends.

If one were good with a 203, perhaps they could bounce rounds around corners and over obstacles, but it is a point and shoot weapon. We used to practice it with TP rounds a lot.

This new thing is like a ‘smart’ bomb in a rifle platform.

catmman on December 1, 2010 at 11:16 AM

There is little problem with the enemy capturing one of these unless they get their hands on a bunch of ammo as well.

This is a pretty awesome weapon and I think it really will change a lot of things. Think about it, any time someone ambushes a patrol, they will have to “shoot and scoot” because there is no way to hide from this weapon. No more pitched gun battles, no more sniping from cover. The round explodes with the force of a hand grenade, so if the enemy is packed too tightly you could probably kill or disable several with one shot.

Mord on December 1, 2010 at 11:17 AM

This dilemma started when the first caveman picked up a stone and threw it at another caveman. When the recipient caught on and threw back another stone, that evened the playing field.

That led to bigger stones and the rest is history.

Putting down the stones won’t solve a thing Ed. Bad guys exist. The trick is keeping one step ahead of them.

fogw on December 1, 2010 at 11:17 AM

As far as falling into enemy hands. As long as the ammo doesn’t, so what? Yeah, they’ll get their hands on one, be able to play around with it, get a little intel and then probably sell it to another country to reverse engineer. – Catmann

It should explode in their faces if they try to shoot it, like in “Judge Dredd”.

Tony737 on December 1, 2010 at 11:18 AM

Rick Sanchez LOL LOL LOL

Good Lt on December 1, 2010 at 11:19 AM

elfman on December 1, 2010 at 11:13 AM

I tend to agree. What this weapon does do though is bring effective fire onto covered targets more quickly. We do have lots of way to destroy an enemies cozy hole, but many of them involve calling in time consuming air support.

NotCoach on December 1, 2010 at 11:19 AM

The round explodes with the force of a hand grenade, so if the enemy is packed too tightly you could probably kill or disable several with one shot. – Mord

Ooooohhhhh … say it again … SAY IT AGAIN!

Tony737 on December 1, 2010 at 11:20 AM

I read somewhere else that the rifle only weighs 19 pounds. The ammo probably will be pretty heavy though.

Mord on December 1, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Tony737 on December 1, 2010 at 11:20 AM

lol

Mord on December 1, 2010 at 11:22 AM

they now installed a tiny speaker on each round that reads the Miranda Rights to the terrorists just before it goes off. They have to surrrender REALLY fast, however! :)

Justrand on December 1, 2010 at 11:23 AM

What we need is a bow and arrow system that will shoot personally signed strongly worded memos at the enemy.

It’s a messaging failure. If the enemy only knew what Obama’s intentions are, they’d lay down their arms.

esnap on December 1, 2010 at 11:11 AM

http://americanfounding.blogspot.com/2010/05/guns-and-bows-and-arrows-what-if.html

In February 1776, Benjamin Franklin sent a letter to General Charles Lee, expressing his wish that “pikes could be introduced” along with “bows and arrows,” which, Franklin added, “were good weapons, not wisely laid aside.” What if the Continental Congress and the American army had taken up Franklin’s suggestion?

Franklin’s reasons for recommending the longbow over the musket are difficult to refute in an eighteenth century context. Those reasons were essentially the following:

*The bow was often more accurate.
*A man could shoot four arrows in the time it takes to fire and reload a musket.
*No gunsmoke, thus no problems in field vision.
*An incoming flight of arrows is rather disconcerting to the enemy.
*An arrow stuck to a man essentially immobilizes him, until extracted.
*Bows and arrows are more easily provided than muskets and ammunition.

Given the Continental Army’s supply problems, one wonders why Franklin’s suggestion wasn’t more readily entertained.

ted c on December 1, 2010 at 11:24 AM

A few years ago this weapon line was put on hold for deployment due to cost… the OICW (Objective Individual Combat Weapon) meant to replace the M16 was going to cost about one-million dollars per unit to put into battle field use.
-
It’d be nice to have a few of these being used to see their real world value… but the price will need to come way down to make them a weapon of choice.
-

RalphyBoy on December 1, 2010 at 11:25 AM

It should explode in their faces if they try to shoot it, like in “Judge Dredd”.

Tony737 on December 1, 2010 at 11:18 AM

THAT is a good idea!

catmman on December 1, 2010 at 11:25 AM

I read somewhere else that the rifle only weighs 19 pounds. The ammo probably will be pretty heavy though.

Mord on December 1, 2010 at 11:21 AM

!

the M4 carbine weighs 7.5 lbs
the M249 SAW weighs 15.2 lbs

ted c on December 1, 2010 at 11:26 AM

Looks awesome to me. Having the time delay element built in is crazy ingenious.

fourdeucer on December 1, 2010 at 11:26 AM

RalphyBoy on December 1, 2010 at 11:25 AM

Supposedly this weapon only cost $35k per. But if used extensively the real cost will probably be in the very high tech ammunition.

NotCoach on December 1, 2010 at 11:29 AM

Now, all we need are Rules of Engagement that will allow soldiers to actually fire it…

VastRightWingConspirator on December 1, 2010 at 11:29 AM

Mk48 light machine gun weighs 18.2lbs

ted c on December 1, 2010 at 11:31 AM

RalphyBoy on December 1, 2010 at 11:25 AM

That will happen.

There will be issue with the sighting system as an example. The engineers say it’s simple, but when it comes to practical use ground troopers always prefer their weapons with fewer ‘gizmos’ and quicker target engagement capabilities and durability.

Durability will be a big issue. How do the optics stand up to the environment for example? If you have to spend an hour cleaning the thing, it’s of little practical use in the field for example.

They’ll work out the bugs. I’m guessing this will see limited field use for the immediate future until training is developed, bugs are worked out, etc.

catmman on December 1, 2010 at 11:31 AM

Supposedly this weapon only cost $35k per. But if used extensively the real cost will probably be in the very high tech ammunition.

NotCoach on December 1, 2010 at 11:29 AM

it’ll be like printers and ink. The printers are dirt cheap but the ink is very expensive. same same.

ted c on December 1, 2010 at 11:31 AM

I wonder if the soldiers must retrieve the UXO of dud rounds that go downrange IOT prevent them from falling into enemy hands. One UXO round down range that has the “chip” for guidance in it will be a nice lil’ cash cow for the taliban to sell to the chinese.

ted c on December 1, 2010 at 11:33 AM

“Game changer”? They said the same thing about the M16.

GarandFan on December 1, 2010 at 11:33 AM

ted c on December 1, 2010 at 11:26 AM

Not to pick fly poop out of pepper, but the SAW is it’s old ‘moniker’.

It’s been the M249 AR (automatic rifle) for awhile now.

Tomato, tomahto, I know… :)

catmman on December 1, 2010 at 11:34 AM

Define complicated.

NotCoach on December 1, 2010 at 11:15 AM

Complicated – lots of moving parts and sensitive electronics.

Weapons are exposed to abrasive dust and sand, dropped and banged around constantly, extreme heat and cold, and other hazards of being carried and used by soldiers in a combat zone.

When you pull the trigger, a weapon must go “bang” regardless of conditions, which is why the ak-47 is still used after all this time, and the M-16 series is still being criticized.

Will this new “wonder weapon” be reliable? History shows it will not be.

Rebar on December 1, 2010 at 11:35 AM

Now, all we need are Rules of Engagement that will allow soldiers to actually fire it…

VastRightWingConspirator on December 1, 2010 at 11:29 AM

Dang. You stole my thunder. It’s no good if they can’t use it.

deewhybee on December 1, 2010 at 11:36 AM

I used this weapon in ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops’ and it really isn’t heavy at all.

Bishop on December 1, 2010 at 11:38 AM

“Game changer”? They said the same thing about the M16.

GarandFan on December 1, 2010 at 11:33 AM

is that because Mattel, Inc. was involved??
/.

ted c on December 1, 2010 at 11:39 AM

The Game Changer for the Afghan theater debuted Jan 20, 2009.

Kafir on December 1, 2010 at 11:41 AM

Cool. Was this thing built by Stark INdustries?

UltimateBob on December 1, 2010 at 11:45 AM

Will this new “wonder weapon” be reliable? History shows it will not be.

Rebar on December 1, 2010 at 11:35 AM

Since it hasn’t any history to speak of yet, I wonder about your comment.

And the AR platform has been in use by the US military for over 50 years. It has had it’s share of problems, but you don’t get that long a service life with a POS. Many of the ARs problems were engineered out years ago.

The biggest problem it has (IMO) is the caliber is too small. There are higher caliber versions, but not as a general issue weapon in the US military, still the .223. As far as this problem goes, marksmanship can take care of a lot of that. A well placed shot (obviously depending on situations on the ground) from a .223 is as effective as one from a .50 BMG.

The .50 BMG IS a lot ‘cooler’ though…

catmman on December 1, 2010 at 11:45 AM

The Game Changer for the Afghan theater debuted Jan 20, 2009.

Kafir on December 1, 2010 at 11:41 AM

i see what you did there.

ted c on December 1, 2010 at 11:45 AM

I used this weapon in ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops’ and it really isn’t heavy at all.

Bishop on December 1, 2010 at 11:38 AM

Yeah, what’s the big deal? I played a hacked version where I carry an M1 Abrams on my shoulder. If I can do that in a game then surely our troops can carry a measly extra 19 pounds.

NotCoach on December 1, 2010 at 11:46 AM

Any weapon that kills the enemy and increases the chances of a Soldier staying alive is a great weapon.

Hopefully the XM 25 accomplishes this in the field of battle.
This article that was posted in Military.com gives high marks to the XM 25.

Army Sending Precision Grenade Launcher to Afghanistan
http://defensetech.org/2010/05/06/army-sending-precision-grenade-launcher-to-afghanistan/

Firefights in Afghanistan take place at much greater ranges than in Iraq, typically beyond 300 meters. At that range, even skilled marksmen are hard-pressed to hit a fleeting target ducking behind cover — a bullet is only lethal if it hits the head or vital organs, which equates to about a six-inch-wide zone from the forehead to the groin, Tamilio said.

With the XM-25, Soldiers don’t have to actually hit that vital area to dispatch the enemy, they only have to aim the launcher’s air burst fragmentation warhead nearby.

This video gives a few more stats and benefits of this weapon.
XM 25 video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2LZMuPEubk

….Setting an ROE that lets our Soldiers do what they do best would be a bigger “game changer”.

Baxter Greene on December 1, 2010 at 11:47 AM

Thanks for the link, Baxter!

Tony737 on December 1, 2010 at 11:54 AM

Since it hasn’t any history to speak of yet, I wonder about your comment.

catmman on December 1, 2010 at 11:45 AM

History has clearly shown that weapons, especially complicated weapons, fair poorly when first introduced.

The M-16 isn’t a complicated weapon, yet had significant issues when first introduced, as you stated. It took a lot of time to iron those out, in the meantime our warriors were stuck with a substandard weapon. Many would claim that it is still a substandard weapon, even after all this time.

The XM-25 will have problems, it is simply par for the course when introducing a new weapon into the field. Only time will tell if they are minor and fixable, or if this “gamechanger” is just a heavy pile of junk.

Rebar on December 1, 2010 at 11:57 AM

Tony737 on December 1, 2010 at 11:54 AM

Anything for a Vet….Thank you!!!

Baxter Greene on December 1, 2010 at 11:59 AM

Wait, wait… “surprising the enemy as soon as NEXT YEAR”? Why is this being reported a month before we get to use it? Why not after we’ve taken out a few dozen of the Taliban faithful? “Yes, we did” is better than “Yes, we can”.

princetrumpet on December 1, 2010 at 11:59 AM

Still won’t win us a war we refuse to fight

blatantblue on December 1, 2010 at 12:00 PM

the M4 carbine weighs 7.5 lbs
the M249 SAW weighs 15.2 lbs

ted c on December 1, 2010 at 11:26 AM

And by the time you finish hanging an ACOG, magnifier, white light, infra red light, laser, buttstock spare mag and two loaded mags on the 7.5 lb. M-4 weighs in at north of 12 pounds. That’s a tad less than a sniper rifle used to weigh. Add the M-203 grenade launcher and it just gets heavier.

And, since the weapon is considered a “medium” weapon, one can’t really compare it to “light” weaponry. A more objectively fair comparison would be with other medium weapons such as the M-60and M-240.

The XM-25 is *not* the end-all and be-all of infantry close support weapons. All it does is allow the soldier to root out someone in a ditch, barricaded in an upper level room, behind a wall, etc. There is still a lot of use for the grenade launcher and the hand-thrown grenade.

Solaratov on December 1, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Rebar on December 1, 2010 at 11:57 AM

The real problem with the M-16 was its deployment. Prior to its use each branch of the military was choosing their own preferred small arms. But the Department of Defense forced them all to adopt the M-16 with little or no real world testing. Everyone all at once was using an untested weapon.

NotCoach on December 1, 2010 at 12:02 PM

The enemy will likely resort to IEDs almost exclusively, with an occasional and relatively massive frontal assault on smaller fortifications to attempt to hold ground.

And whenever we do battle with them in any kind of built-up location, they’ll be sure to have civilians (i.e., “Involuntary Martyrs“) with them in any room they are shooting from. They’re already doing that now, this will just make it even more prevalent.

Gotta love the weapon; it will indeed make any attempt at a stand-up fight against our boys an exercise in lopsided futility. But the usual suspects will be sure to call it “indiscriminate” as soon as the human shields start dying, and the usual fools will start trying to restrict how it may be used as a result.

You can see this coming from over the horizon.

Spurius Ligustinus on December 1, 2010 at 12:04 PM

I hate to be the debbie downer in the crowd, but I fear this might lead to a more sniper tactic oriented taliban.

abobo on December 1, 2010 at 12:05 PM

Just in time for Christmas!

PackerBronco on December 1, 2010 at 12:05 PM

I can’t wait for the usual suspects to demand that this weapon be banned.

Blake on December 1, 2010 at 12:05 PM

Not to rehash the discussion, many of the M16′s early problems were caused by the operator.

Originally, yes, it had some design issues. It did need to be cleaned A LOT. Chrome lining the barrel and changing the material of other parts fixed a lot of the problems, but those changes were made decades ago. Now many of the changes are aesthetic or made to make the weapon more ‘urban warfare’ friendly, hence the adoption of the M4 platform.

I do agree though that there will be significant changes to this system within just the next few years.

catmman on December 1, 2010 at 12:05 PM

I don’t buy the “gamechanger” marketing. Are there really that many instances of face-offs with Taliban in which we fail to kill them because we can’t ignite a grenade behind or above them? It looks like an excellent weapon for snipers dug into urban areas but does that frequently exist in Afghanistan? I think the Taliban more frequently pursue attack and retreat into the wilderness or into the population tactics.

elfman on December 1, 2010 at 11:13 AM

The gamechanger is the precision of targeted lethality, you can target exactly where the bullet explodes , so the risk of collateral damage is lower.

If you have civilians in the background you cant shoot with an ordinary rifle.
With this you can shoot over peoples heads and let it explode above the target, little damage to people in front of or behind the enemy.
Close combat precision weapon.

the_nile on December 1, 2010 at 12:06 PM

“Game changer”? They said the same thing about the M16.

GarandFan on December 1, 2010 at 11:33 AM

(sigh)

The M16 was a game-changer.

In fact, it is still the weapon to beat.

Now go play with your 8-shot dinosaur, and dream your hairy-chested he-man fantasies.

pseudonominus on December 1, 2010 at 12:12 PM

Forgive me, I didn’t intend to restart the legendary M-16 flame wars.

Let us all agree that it is what it is, and keep the topic on the XM-25.

Rebar on December 1, 2010 at 12:23 PM

That’s why the IFF system on Stinger missiles was such a fantastic thing. (Unfortunately, I don’t see any feasible way to use any sort of IFF on this).

I recall seeing an article about some Palestinians who ended up trying to use a Stinger on an Israeli Apache. The story claims that they tried to fire at the Apache, got a ‘friendly’ error on that, overrode the error… and then the missile instead locked onto a rocket launcher their buddies were using in the area. Fun stuff.

phelps on December 1, 2010 at 12:23 PM

The OICW failed because it was too complicated. Batteries draining too fast, the entire system breaking when dropped, the computer randomly crashing. And the idea of lacing explosives over cover is nothing new, and it works wonderfully against cardboard targets, but that’s not real life and the enemy isn’t going to hide behind a concrete barricade for 30 minutes popping up every few seconds. Insurgents stick to ambush tactics, where they’ll engage for a few minutes while moving around to make their numbers seem larger, then retreat. By the time you get the computer booted up and get the target laced, they’ll be gone.

Rainsford on December 1, 2010 at 12:26 PM

Folks, bear in mind it’s still the XM-25. That experimental prototypes are getting actual field testing like this rather than sitting on test ranges–or worse being rushed into production without any real-world application whatsoever–is a win-win where the troops are concerned. It’s pretty much the polar opposite of the early M-16 situation…

A more apt comparison would be when the first E-8A JSTARS was rushed out of testing and to the Gulf to participate in Desert Storm, with techs still working on its initial surveillance systems. It proved extremely valuable even in its development phase, just as I’m sure the ability to see it perform in an active combat theater proved invaluable to its continued development.

Blacklake on December 1, 2010 at 12:29 PM

This will really make Amnesty Int., ACLU, libs and….heads explode.

belad on December 1, 2010 at 12:34 PM

Secret weapon my ass.

The XM-25 is the replacement for Component B of the XM-29 OICW once the OICW project was discontinued. (Component A being the XM-8)

On the one hand it’s always nice to see advences in grenade launchers, it’s still just a grenagde launcher. It’s man-portable aspect is interesting, however If I was on a mountain side, the XM-29′s main problem would be range, as it’s limited to 500 meters.

In terms of your “hurt locker” scenario, the XM-29 doesn’t have the range to hit the building over a half mile away. it would be as ineffective as a Mk-19 due to its range limitations.

HOWEVER, Barrett Firearms designed a rifle for the exact same round, called the XM-109 (Barrett manufactured the .50 cal sniper rifle shown in the hurt locker BTW)

Their XM-109 has an effective range of 2,000 meters.

I’d like to see our troops equipped with the XM-109 myself.

Jones Zemkophill on December 1, 2010 at 12:39 PM

Don’t know if anyone else has said this, but here goes.

If one of these should fall into one of our enemie’s hands, why not have an embedded self-destruct element built into it. This self-destruct mechanism can only be triggered from a higher command away from the battlefield when it is known that one has been lost.

Mirimichi on December 1, 2010 at 12:45 PM

Would still prefer you just turn that mud hut into a sheet of glass from many miles away. Getting tired of our guys getting killed for these worthless countries.

ClassicCon on December 1, 2010 at 12:51 PM

We’ve come a long way from the old M-79 we used to lug around in RVN. I always liked the old “beehive” round.

bannedbyhuffpo on December 1, 2010 at 12:59 PM

As an FYI, I highly doubt this will be exploited by the Russians/Chinese, for one simple reason:

Price.

This is NOT a cheap weapon. This weapon cannot be cheaply copied either. Basically, every round of ammo has electronics in it. The electronic targeting system is a small computer sitting on top of the gun. The gun itself is just a 20mm semi-automatic grenade launcher, which already exists in many countries.

The “trick”, the game-changing element of it, is the information that gets encoded into each outgoing round of ammunition which is then able to self-detonate.

The theory behind how this works is well established. The trick behind how it works (using the round’s rotation to calculate distance travelled turned out to be the answer) is already known.

I think this is one case where it’s not some secret theory that’s preventing the Russians/Chinese from exploiting this – it’s the complexity and cost of the design.

Who knows, times change, tech costs less, maybe the Russians or Chinese get their hands on some of the ammo and figure it out. But I think that’s gonna be a really long time.

apollyonbob on December 1, 2010 at 1:01 PM

To borrow a quote from Hot Shot, Part Deux, “Now that’s a hell of a gun”.

madmonkphotog on December 1, 2010 at 1:44 PM

Given the Continental Army’s supply problems, one wonders why Franklin’s suggestion wasn’t more readily entertained.

ted c on December 1, 2010 at 11:24 AM

It takes five years to train an archer.
It takes five days to train a musketeer.

Slowburn on December 1, 2010 at 1:45 PM

…but didn’t the eunich-in-chief do a speech in cairo (2008) that was supposed to bring peace to the world?

jbh45 on December 1, 2010 at 2:13 PM

It’s not that big of a deal, it’s a grenade launcher with a timer.

I think that Russian yacht owner has the next big step in warfare. A laser optics disabler. Kill the optics, the range finder, and the thing is again just a grenade launcher. The hiding behind things tactic has been busted as long as bullets can go through walls and doors, or grenades can be thrown.

joeindc44 on December 1, 2010 at 2:22 PM

They have one that blows up an inch from yer weener.

Akzed on December 1, 2010 at 2:27 PM

Wow….the INade. Looks like you keep it in a velvet lined box when not in use. What happens if you drop it on a rock or into a mud puddle?

What would be really effective in winning the war is a weapon that can identify the enemy we’re fighting. The US military as yet has no such weapon.

keep the change on December 1, 2010 at 11:07 AM

Like Sharia law in your constitution, this truth triumphs over gamechangers.

If one of these should fall into one of our enemie’s hands, why not have an embedded self-destruct element built into it. This self-destruct mechanism can only be triggered from a higher command away from the battlefield when it is known that one has been lost.

Mirimichi on December 1, 2010 at 12:45 PM

What if a guy that owned a Dung shop pretended he was a Saudi Field Marshall and while having his balls licked in the higher commands office, he steals the triggering device and blows them all up?

BL@KBIRD on December 1, 2010 at 2:43 PM

I love things that kill islamists.

Boxy_Brown on December 1, 2010 at 2:43 PM

The Day of Resurrection will not arrive until the Americans make war against the Taliban and kill them, and until a Jihadist hiding behind a rock and tree, and the rock and tree will say: ‘Oh XM25, oh servant of America, there is a Jihadist behind me, come and kill him!’

Socratease on December 1, 2010 at 2:44 PM

What would be really effective in winning the war is a weapon that can identify the enemy we’re fighting. The US military as yet has no such weapon.

keep the change on December 1, 2010 at 11:07 AM

Nukem and let god sort it out

BruceB on December 1, 2010 at 3:04 PM

Not sure how much of a game changer this will be.

South Korea has been producing the Daewoo K11 dual-caliber air-burst weapon for a couple of years.

The K11 was to be a competitor for the XM 29 (XM 8 + XM25)

“UAE Order 40 K11 Airburst Rifles from South Korea
May 29, 2010 … Unit price of K11 dual-caliber air-burst weapon is estimated at $14000. … will be armed with the Daewoo K11 dual-caliber airburst weapon. ..

K11 is similar to the ill-fated American XM-29 OICW (Objective Individual Combat Weapon. Weapon is believed to be in service with South Korean army.Last year, it was reported that some of the South Korean troops deploying to Afghanistan will be armed with the Daewoo K11 dual-caliber airburst weapon.”

Daewoo K11

Caliber: 5.56x45mm NATO + 20x30B mm
Action: Gas operated, rotating bolt for 5.56mm and manually operated for 20mm
Overall length: 860 mm
Barrel length: 310 mm (5.56mm); 405 mm (20mm)
Weight: 6.1 kg (with optics and battery but less magazines)
Rate of fire: ?
Magazine capacity: 30 rounds of 5.56mm and 5 rounds of 20mm

DSchoen on December 1, 2010 at 4:01 PM

Mirimichi on December 1, 2010 at 12:45 PM

Just put “tracking chips” in them.
If they fall into our enemies hands, a “tracking chip” is real good for GPS bombs.

Without the 25mm round the weapon is non-functional.

The Daewoo K11 uses a 20mm round.

DSchoen on December 1, 2010 at 4:07 PM

Any weapon in the wrong hands poses a problem.

tarpon on December 1, 2010 at 11:02 AM

The vote is a weapon, therefore we need vote control to limit Democrat’s ability to vote. :D

Tim Burton on December 1, 2010 at 4:52 PM

Rick Sanchez == Moron

MJBrutus on December 1, 2010 at 5:05 PM

Apaches, XM 1028s, and now the XM-25. Just wait until we get those solid state lasers figured out.

Browncoatone on December 1, 2010 at 6:03 PM

Dont worry, the Obama Admin will do as the Clinton Admin did and sell our technology to China. It will soon be in the hands of the Taliban.

WoosterOh on December 1, 2010 at 7:25 PM

The rules of engagement don’t let us shoot rifles at enemy that we can locate but can’t actually see… How much good do you think this new expensive super-weapon is when you can’t fire it because you can’t see behind the wall the insurgent is using for cover?

RustMouse on December 1, 2010 at 9:04 PM

It takes five years to train an archer.
It takes five days to train a musketeer.

True if you are using it as an aimed weapon. But the archery training takes less time if you are simply aiming at an entire army. Whether it would have made sense is not clear to me, but it’s not quite as crazy as you suggest.

As to the high-tech grenade launcher: let me remind you that the M1 Garrand took 40 years to develop. They started working on it after the Spanish-American War and it was just barely ready for WWII. It was the first semi-auto infantry rifle, and by all accounts it was a game-changer. Anyone American infantryman who saw combat in WWII had his chances of survival greatly increased by that weapon. There’s no way to tell how many soldiers came home alive because of it.

njcommuter on December 1, 2010 at 9:14 PM

It might persuade them to do it if we play their scriptures back to them. Instead of the rock crying out “there is a Jew behind me” we’ll see the same rock failing to protect a Muslim, arguably declaiming, “Kufar, come kill this Muslim hiding behind me.”

{^_^}

herself on December 2, 2010 at 3:56 AM

Don’t you miss Rick Sanchez and his daily gaffes and seizures?

Great weapon. What’ll they think of next? Oh, wait, I have it. A gay soldier launcher. Muslims will run for the hills in fear.

Jarhead68 on December 2, 2010 at 8:45 AM

Just put “tracking chips” in them.
If they fall into our enemies hands, a “tracking chip” is real good for GPS bombs.

And when the code gets broken, it’s just as good for giving the enemy an easy way to wipe our guys out all at once.

The original point needs to be bear both ways. Everything we can do to someone who takes the gun can be done to US first, without them even having to capture it. If you just leave it like it is, they steal one and as much ammunition as it holds. If you start loading other stuff onto it, then you introduce new points-of-failure and a new vector for your enemy to attack you on.

What’s better, them getting one gun and 30 rounds of ammuntion, or killing everyone of our soldiers within 10 yards of one all at once?

You know how we protect the tech on a stealth bomber? When one crashes, we bomb the hell out of it. We just need the same doctrine here. If the enemy is about to capture one of these, hit it with everything you’ve got.

phelps on December 2, 2010 at 4:30 PM