[credit provider=”Wikipedia Commons”]
Dubbed “The Punisher” by American forces in Afghanistan, the XM25 fires accurately up to 500 meters.But the distance isn’t what’s impressing soldiers involved in the live trial of the weapon — it’s its programmable 25mm round.
A target’s distance is transmitted by a rangefinder in the XM25 to the round in the firing chamber. When the grenade leaves the barrel it is spiraling, like a football, and measures the distance it’s traveled by the number of spirals it completes.
The detonation can be manually programmed within 10 meters to hit the enemy in bunkers or behind barriers. The XM25 has been in field trials since early 2011, but a recent Economist article highlights some new details.
The rifle is proving terribly successful at taking out insurgents hiding behind cover like trees or buildings, and those seeking cover in ditches and behind walls.
The round flies at 210 meters per second, takes 5 seconds from arming to detonating, and when it explodes causes a lethal shower of shrapnel effective up to several meters.
The rounds are currently hand-crafted and cost about $700 apiece, but when ATK switches to automated production that number could fall to $25.
While the weapon’s effective range is about the same as the M-16, it’s almost double the range of the AK-47 used by insurgents.
Much more accurate than artillery and grenade launchers, and far cheaper than an airstrike, the military is impressed — the Army just ordered 36 more.
Used in more than 200 battles, one Army platoon leader told the Army Times: “Engagements that typically take 15 to 20 minutes were over in a matter of minutes.”