The Pentagon confirmed on Thursday the secret deployment in Afghanistan over the past several weeks of the XM25, the newest advancement in small arms. The XM25 is a revolutionary new Individual Airburst Weapon (IAW) system that will change the face of war, much like the longbow, gunpowder and nuclear weapons.
The XM25 is a revolutionary next generation of grenade launchers. Unlike the single-shot M-79 “Bloop Tube” of Vietnam era, or the M203 tube slung under M4 rifles, the XM25 is a semi-automatic, 25mm grenade launcher, pinpoint-accurate at ranges at and under 500 meters. The weapon system eliminates virtually all ‘cover’ behind which an enemy might hide. The maker boasts a 300-500% increase in hit probability over the current M203.
The IAW uses laser to determine the range to the target, up to 700 yards away for airburst, wide-area coverage. The weapon integrates ballistics computation within a full-solution computer program known as Target Acquisition/Fire Control (TA/FC). After calculating the inputs, the IAW immediately provides the operator with the proper aiming point through the sight. It instantaneously programs a microchip in the 25mm grenade to explode a meter or so past the cover point, showering all taking refuge there with lethal fragmentation. The operator simply selects the type rounds required aims and fires the grenade launcher. The flat trajectory is also unlike the previous high-arc, low-velocity grenade launchers resulting in a far more accurate delivery of munitions.
Featuring a bull-pup design, the Individual Airburst Weapon’s near half-mile effective range is well beyond that of most small arms, keeping the user safer. The XM25 is able to place the grenade with laser precision reducing “collateral damage” as well, the army believes.
The weapons system is a development by a partnership of Alliant Techsystems (ATK) and Heckler and Koch Manufacturing (H&K). Guns and Patriots readers will recognize H&K as the successor to Mauser, rising from post WWII ashes to become a leading German small arms manufacturer. ATK is a United States defense contractor with assets around $3.5billion (US) that manufactures everything from primers and bullets to the lifting rockets for the Trident D5 Missile.
The total deployment costs for the XM25 could reach as high as $375million (US) if plans to deploy over 12,500 IAW’s come to fruition. Pentagon planners envision one IAW per rifle squad or Special Forces Team. The weapon is the most expensive shoulder fired weapon ever deployed at $25,000 to $30,000 (US) per copy.
High Explosive, Flechette Fragmentary, Thermobaric, Armor Piercing, along with Non-Lethal grenades are currently available. This is an impressive armory for an infantry weapons system to reach out and touch someone.
The army describes the weapon system as a “game-changer” and indeed, it appears so. The effect upon humanity of this new weapon may be even greater than that of nuclear weapons, for it is in the hands of the basic infantry soldier, charged with forcibly taking ground from others. This weapon – unlike nuclear arms – is likely to find widespread use, despite its initial secret issue.