Tuesday, October 11, 2005



Strategy Page says that the XM-25 testing has been going very well. I think this smart grenade launcher will be very useful to American infantry on just about any battlefield. Its "window" setting, which determines the range to a selected target and programs the 25mm grenade to detonate just past the target, will greatly reduce the effect of cover for enemy troops and even allow the shooter to kill enemies hiding behind the corner of a building. An enemy soldier who just has cover in front of them would still be vulnerable to a smart grenade programmed to pass above him and explode; that suddenly makes our enemy’s job a lot more stressful. Because it will allow a soldier to shoot a target that is hidden, this weapon could increase the possibility of fratricide. I would expect that use of Blue Force Tracker technology and shooter discipline could keep that from becoming too much of a problem.

For a better idea of what this smart 25mm grenade launcher will be able to do, watch this video of the Bofors 40mm 3p round from Janes. Now imagine that technology optimized for use in infantry combat instead of anti-aircraft and shrunk down to around 18lbs. so that an infantry squad can carry one as a support weapon.

If this is successful, I expect that the next step will be to use the smart 25mm round developed for it in other weapon systems like vehicle mounted automatic grenade launchers. Pay attention to the scene in the 3p video where a burst of 40mm rounds are fired using the “time function” above a field full of simulated infantry and each one is programmed to detonate at a different location so that the field is saturated with lethal shrapnel from above. Imagine how useful that could be on an M-2 Bradley.

Now when does the civilian version come out? If ATK could put a proximity sensor into the 25mm rounds they would be perfect for birds, clay pigeons, or revenuers (though a little expensive).

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