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May 16, 2011

XM-25 Praised For Fine Craftsmanship and Killing Terrorists But Mostly Killing Terrorists

36 fresh smart-grenade launchers are being hand-built for ASAP delivery. They're all hand-built now, as there is no production line -- but that's on the way.

Meanwhile, mass production has been ordered, and this will result in over 12,000 of the weapons being delivered, starting in 2014.

It was obvious that the XM-25 was a success after only 55 of the 25mm rounds were fired in combat. The users protested having to give them up after the few months of field testing. All this because the XM-25s work as advertised, firing "smart rounds" that explode over the heads of Taliban hiding behind rocks or walls, or hiding in a cave or room. Enemy machine-guns have been quickly knocked out of action and ambushes quickly disrupted with a few 25mm shells. Encounters that might go on for 15 minutes or longer, as U.S. troops exchange fire with hidden Taliban, end in minutes after a few 25mm, computer controlled, rounds were fired.

...

The word has gotten around in Afghanistan, and every combat unit there is asking for XM-25s. Although warned to keep operational details off public Internet forums, XM-25 users are telling stories to other combat troops of a wonder-weapon that actually works.

The article provides further details I don't think we knew yet. (At least I didn't. And if you don't know what the XM-25 is, all the details are there, about two thirds of the way into the article.)

It has four detonation modes -- airburst, burst on contact, burst on contact but after a timed delay, and "window," which means it bursts just as after it passes its programmed range. That seems to be the main advantage, the window setting.

The 25mm round lacks the punch of the 40mm round it would be replacing, but maybe the added accuracy overcomes all that. And there are variants:

The 25mm shells weigh over half a pound each (270 grams). On the plus side, there is already a 25mm armor piercing round (using a shaped charge capable of penetrating over 50mm of armor) available. This makes the XM-25 capable of knocking out light armored vehicles. Then there are the new versions of 25mm round, like fuel-air explosive (or "thermobaric"). Such a shell would cause greater blast effect in an enclosed space, and actually suck most of the oxygen out of a cave or closed room long enough to make surviving troops at least a bit groggy. This gives the attacking troops an opportunity to rush in and kill the enemy, or take prisoners. In combat, every little advantage helps.

South Korea is also apparently producing its own version of the weapon. I don't know if we're really going to enjoy much of a window of technological advantage here -- unfortunately our troops are going to be facing this fairly shortly.


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posted by Ace at 05:55 PM

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