Army to Test Air Burst Weapon for Joes




 
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October 3rd, 2008  
istealfreefood
 
 

Topic: Army to Test Air Burst Weapon for Joes



September 26, 2008
Military.com|by Christian Lowe




For once it seems the Army is actually turning fiction into science.
After nearly a decade in the shadows -- with billions spent on earlier versions long since abandoned -- the Army is moving quickly to field a revolutionary new weapon to Joes a lot sooner than anyone had ever imagined.
It's a weapon that can take out a bad guy behind a wall, beyond a hill or below a trench, and do it more accurately and with less collateral damage than anything on the battlefield today, officials say. It's called the XM25 Individual Air Burst Weapon, and by next month the service will have three prototypes of the precision-guided 25mm rifle ready for testing.

A 'leap ahead' in lethality

"We've done a lot of testing with this, and what we're seeing is the estimated increase in effectiveness is six times what we'd be getting with a 5.56mm carbine or a grenade launcher," said Rich Audette, Army Deputy Project Manager for Soldier weapons.
"What we're talking about is a true 'leap ahead' in lethality, here. This is a huge step," Audette added during a phone interview with Military.com from his office at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey.
Born of the much-maligned and highly-controversial Objective Individual Combat Weapon -- a 1990s program that sought a "leap ahead" battle rifle that combined a counter-defilade weapon with a carbine -- the XM25 only recently gained new momentum after the Army formalized a requirement and released a contract in June for a series of test weapons.
Infantry weapons to date have permitted fighters to shoot at or through an obstacle concealing enemy threats, but the Army for years has been trying to come up with a weapon to engage targets behind barriers without resorting to mortars, rockets or grenades -- all of which risk collateral damage. After fits and starts using a 20mm rifle housed in a bulky, overweight, complicated shell, technology finally caught up to shave the XM25 from 21 pounds to a little more than 12 pounds.
If the XM25 does what its developers hope, it will be able to fire an air-bursting round at a target from 16 meters away out to 600 meters with a highly accurate, 360-degree explosive radius.
"This should have the same impact as the incorporation of the machine gun" into infantry units, said Andy Cline, product director for the XM25.
The XM25 is about as long as a collapsed M4, weighs about as much as an M16 with an M203 grenade launcher attached and has about as much kick as a 12-gauge shotgun, said Barb Muldowney, Army deputy program manager for infantry combat weapons.
The semi-auto XM25 comes with a four-round magazine, though testers are looking at whether to increase the capacity to as much as 10 rounds.

A 'smart' weapon

Brains are what really makes this Buck Rogers gun work -- it has them. The weapon combines a thermal optic, day sight, laser range finder, compass and IR illuminator with a fire-control system that wirelessly transmits the exact range of the target into the 25mm round's fuse before firing.
A Soldier can aim the XM25 at a wall concealing a sniper, for example, but "dial in" or adjust the distance by an additional meter above the target. When fired, the Alliant Teksystems-built round will explode above the enemy's position, essentially going around the obstruction, Muldowney said.
"It's so accurate, that when I laze to that target I'm going to be able to explode that round close enough that I'm going to get it," Audette added.
The service hopes to field several other types of 25mm rounds for the XM25, including ones for breaching doors, piercing vehicle armor and non-lethal air-bursting and blunt-impact rounds.
Testers at Picatinny plan to put the XM25 through its paces over the next several months, certifying it as safe for a Soldier to operate and tinkering with the weapon's effectiveness and durability.
The weapon costs about $25,000 each, but experts were quick to point out that a fully-loaded M4 for optics and pointers costs pretty close to $30,000. Each ATK-made 25mm round costs about $25.

Testing next year

As Heckler and Koch, makers of the weapon itself, and L3 Communications -- which makes the fire control system -- crank out more weapons, the Army plans to push an initial batch of test weapons out to the field beginning in March 2009. That could include the first use of such a weapon in combat, Cline said.
If all goes according to plan, the first fully-equipped infantry units could have their first XM25s in hand by 2014, far sooner than the Army's small arms community had predicted even last year.
The program "came very close to ending," Audette explained. "But the Army took a look at all the work that was done -- and the testing that projected the kind of lethality increase that we could get -- and they said 'we've got to do this.' "




http://www.military.com/news/article...ml?ESRC=dod.nl
October 3rd, 2008  
A Can of Man
 
 
South Korea's already got a working OICW type of weapon.
But the grenade is 20mm.
It'll be interesting to see how it'll be like for a soldier to be armed only with the grenade launcher.
October 3rd, 2008  
Lunatik
 
 
One shot one kill kind of deal. Very interesting concept.

One thing I can think of that can perhaps potentially make this weapon ineffective in a real battle would be EW jamming. The article says that the fire-control system wirelessly transmits the exact range of the target into the 25mm round's fuse before firing. Why isn't this information passed on to the round using a conventional, physical port built into the muzzle? When you transmit any kind of data wirelessly, you make your weapon prone to jamming or worse, overwriting. You think you're aiming at the enemy troop over there, fire your weapon and the round explodes just a few feet away taking out a couple of your own buddies.

Still, all this makes me think, the future is right around the corner. 2020s should be interesting.
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October 3rd, 2008  
03USMC
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunatik
One shot one kill kind of deal. Very interesting concept.

One thing I can think of that can perhaps potentially make this weapon ineffective in a real battle would be EW jamming.

Nope. It's basicly a Variable Time (VT) fuse same as arty uses on projo's. EW doesn't effect it, bands are to narrow.
October 3rd, 2008  
SHERMAN
 
 
Quote:
Nope. It's basicly a Variable Time (VT) fuse same as arty uses on projo's. EW doesn't effect it, bands are to narrow
Theoritically speaking, you can jam anything. The cances anyone will bother jamming a tactical grenade launcher are very small. Jamming requires alot of energy and precision. Its easier to just shoot the guy with the weapon than jam every single shot...Much cheaper 2.
October 3rd, 2008  
istealfreefood
 
 
This is a neat concept. I wonder how well it will work out in field conditions. It will be interesting to find out, especially once the troops get a hold of it.
October 4th, 2008  
Lunatik
 
 
I understand that the round has a variable time fuse. They say that the exact time of explosion is passed into the round wirelessly. I'm just saying that this is a potential security issue as I'm guessing transmission power wouldn't be much and because the signal carries data (and therefore has to be digital) it can probably be imitated by an enemy transmitter in the area, which can be both airborne or on land. Are we talking about a mid course correction for the round? No. So I don't see a must-have need for wireless transmission in the first place. I'm not an expert but since there'll be a physican contact anyway, I think it'd be much wiser to pass that information to the round using a serial port built into the barrel. A round moves from the magazine into the barrel and touches two "wires" carrying signal from the processor. It all happens when the soldier starts pulling the trigger.

One reason we still have cannons on $185 million per piece stealth aircraft that can fire state-of-the-art missiles is because we know ballistic rounds cannot be jammed or tricked. Electronic Warfare is real and becoming an increasingly important threat for all modern armies. It hits you from angles and at times that you expect the least.
October 4th, 2008  
03USMC
 
 
If they haven't found a way to jam a 155mm VT fused round yet. I don't think that you have to worry about them jamming a 25mm VT fused round, given it's smaller size and shallower trajectory.
October 4th, 2008  
SHERMAN
 
 
Quote:
One reason we still have cannons on $185 million per piece stealth aircraft that can fire state-of-the-art missiles is because we know ballistic rounds cannot be jammed or tricked. Electronic Warfare is real and becoming an increasingly important threat for all modern armies. It hits you from angles and at times that you expect the least.
Again, jamming is expensive and complicated, not worth the trouble ofver a 25mm round. consider the dirt and gunpowder inside this mechanisem and see that trusting on elecrtic contacts in there is risky.
October 4th, 2008  
Bacara
 
 
two words: heavy and ockward
 


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