May 27, 2009 The XM25 Individual Air Burst Weapon is looking likely to be the shoulder-fired weapon of choice for the US military to kill or neutralize hidden targets. Due for field test this summer, the lightweight XM-25 "smart weapon" uses High Explosive Air-Burst (HEAB) munitions that can be programmed to detonate at a precise point in the air without the need to impact, spelling trouble for elusive targets, be they behind a wall, inside a building or in a foxhole.

The XM25

Developed jointly by the German arms manufacturer Heckler & Koch and the US company Alliant Techsystems (ATK Corporation), the XM-25 is a semi-automatic, shoulder-fired weapon with a five-round magazine and weighs in at around 14 pounds (6.3kg) – about the same weight as an M-16 with a 203 grenade launcher. The weapon's XM116 integral fire system provides the weapon with its precision and is capable of controlling individually each of the 25mm rounds in real time. Based on a thermal optic, day-sight, laser range finder, compass and infrared light, the system can precisely measure the distance to the target and program each round to explode close to the mark via the wireless connection. Capable of hitting a point target at 500 meters and area targets at 700 meters with a range of munitions including HEAB, anti-personnel, two types of non-lethal munitions – blunt and agent dispersing airburst - plus armor piercing, and door breaching munitions, this is one very nasty piece of ordinance and a must have on any soldiers list.

In a nutshell, it operates with the soldier sighting the target and the advanced laser rangefinder transmitting range information to the chambered 25mm round. The soldier then essentially points and fires. After the round leaves the chamber and moves towards its target, the system precisely measures the distance traveled and detonates it at exactly the right moment to deliver maximum effectiveness. ATK says that the XM25 increases the warfighter’s probability of hit-to-kill performance by up to 500 percent over existing weapons and extends the effective range of the soldier’s individual weapon to more than 500 meters.

The LW50MG

Another high-tech weapon recently field tested by the military is the Lightweight .50 Caliber Machine Gun (LW50MG). Unlike the XM25, which doesn’t offer a weight advantage, the LW50MG weights in at 64 pounds (29kg) complete with tripod, i.e., half the weight of the M-2 .50 caliber machine gun. With 60% less recoil than the M-2, the LW50MG will also offer greater accuracy and speed than the veteran M-2.

For more information visit ATK and Heckler and Koch

David Greig

Via: US Army.