XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement System
Urban combat is especially dangerous because city streets offer an enemy endless places to hide. Alliant Techsystems's new shoulder-fired semiautomatic gun removes that advantage, allowing soldiers to essentially shoot around obstacles. The XM25 doesn't curve its bullets. Rather, it programs them to explode at precise distances. The soldier measures the distance to a target using a laser site and then dials in where the bullet should explode, such as at the corner of a building, raining down shrapnel. The bullet has a small magnet inside that lets it generate AC current as it spins and a microprocessor that measures those current oscillations to derive how far it's traveled.
So, what happens when your target is on the other side of a building?
$30 a round? wow. expect more cuts in the education budget soon.
You wouldn't be firing off a clip of these things on full-auto from an M16.
Rather, they'd be a precision sniper weapon. Probably, every squad of soldiers would have one specialist with these soldiers, or perhaps every soldier would have one special clip of these bullets, for use on special targets.
Similarly, with grenades, they'd be used very judiciously and sparingly. You don't carry 500 grenades and just toss them whenever you feel like it. You carry a few grenades, and use them precisely and specifically when they're most needed. Likewise with these bullets.
*one specialist with these BULLETS
You're on the right track for the application of this weapon, but let me clarify and help you out with some of the military terms and tactics. Right now, in a regular line infantry squad we have two light machine guns (the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon) and two 40mm grenade launchers (the M203, mounted under an M4 carbine). The XM25 would likely replace the M203, possibly just one of them so the squad would still have the less expensive 40mm HE rounds. Only the XM25 grenadier himself would carry rounds for it, just like an M203 grenadier.
The main drawback of this weapon is that the XM25 grenadier would have to carry both the launcher and an M4, or else not be able to support himself during a firefight. The excess weight would be a problem. The same issue was the main reason the Vietnam-era M79 grenade launcher was replaced by the current-issue M203.
The XM25 would be used as a counter-defilade weapon, as indicated by the title of the article. When an enemy target is in defilade it means that he is behind some sort of frontal cover, be it the corner of a building, a stone wall, a trench, or even rocks and stumps on a rise. The XM25's round is designed to burst above or otherwise past the cover and rain shrapnel on the enemy. The 40mm "dumb" grenade from the M203 works the same way, but it has to be arced over the cover and land on the ground close to the target in order to have an effect. It's not a sniper weapon - it has comparable range with the M24 and M21 sniper rifles currently in use, but it is not a precision weapon. A fragmentation grenade by definition is an area effect weapon.
Thanks for the clarification. (Telling me that the XM25 will be replacing the M203 cleared things up for me.)
The advantage would seem to be that whereas with the M203 one must arc the grenade (like an arrow), by contrast, with the XM25, one can shoot right through or just above the cover in a straight line?
Maybe possible to shrink down the lazer sight? Then just get rid of the gun all together and make it an "M203 like" launcher?
You're correct, that is exactly the advantage of the XM25's smart round. Precisely dropping a 40mm round from an M203 takes a lot of skill and training; the computerized targeting and airburst of the XM25 takes the guesswork out of it.
Your suggestion would be the ideal solution - however, at this time the site package cannot be shrunk down any more until miniaturization improves. Once the optic can be reduced to a more convenient size, it could be mounted above or below the main optic of a rifle, and the weapon itself attached below. The XM25 actually is a descendent of the failed Objective Individual Combat Weapon (OICW) program. The OICW was like an inverted M4/M203 setup - the 5.56mm rifle was the underbarrel weapon, with a magazine forward of the grip and trigger mechanism, while the XM25 component was on top, with the magazine to the rear of the grip as seen with the current generation prototype. Unlike the M203, however, it was designed to be a complete weapon system.
After all these years I'm amazed that they haven't perfected weapons that could automatically detect and return fire on the enemy in a fraction of a second. With all the fancy electronics and miniaturization, this should be possible by now especially on mobile equipment. Perhaps I don't understand all the problems but it should be possible to pinpoint hostile fire quickly by optical and acoustic techniques. As far as roadside bombs, couldn't they monitor an intended route with aerial surveillance for a couple days ahead of any patrols? If they detect anyone burying a bomb,couldn't they launch a small missile at them. How can the enemy keep ambushing our troops out in the countryside without being detected ahead of time by overhead infrared body heat detectors with computers to determine suspicious movement toward our troops? I keep reading about all this fancy multibillion dollar surveillance equipment with all types of supposed capability which simply must not work as advertised. Somehow we don't seem to be getting our money's worth.
Finally, someone borrows from a videogame instead of videogames borrowing. This weapon is similar to one in Battlefield 2142. Not sure how long the real life counterpart has been in development though. kaboom.
Weapons that could detect and return fire would probably save the lives of soldiers, but I don't think it's the best answer. One of the advantages of soldiers having total control over their weapons is that they have the capability of making decisions based on their judgment. If the automated system programmed exactly right, it could go off on something that wasn't an enemy. Also, if we had that kind of technology, it would inevitably get leaked, or the enemy will develop their own version of it to be used against us.
Twistedmind and Mikewinddall,
Each weapon would be about $25-30,000 dollars and the pentagon plans to get 12,500 of them, one for each infantry squad and special forces team. The cost of artillery is not the only economic concern.
www pbs org/wgbh/nova/wartech/about.html for a NOVA program on PBS about automatically detecting where fire came from and returning it in seconds.