Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Army Unveils The XM-25 Grenade Launcher...A Major Game Changer

At least that's how they're selling it, and they could be right.

In combat, cover is critical. Not only can it save a soldier's life but it allows him or her to take better-aimed shots and be more effective on offense or defense.

The XM-25 is designed to defeat the advantage of cover and make it obsolete. It's essentially the equivalent of a hand fired smart bomb.

Here's how it works. The XM-25 is a highly sophisticated tool with a laser rangefinder. The soldier using it aims it at his target, pushes a button to register the range and then dials in a + or - according to how much he wants the grenade to explode just before that distance or just after.

The range is a nice 2,300 feet,( almost half a mile, just over 7 1/2 football fields) far more than an AK47 or your typical assault rifle.

So if Mohammed and his pals are hiding behind the corner of a wall, one of our warriors armed with an XM-25 aims just past or just over the wall, registers the range, programs the grenade to explode as it passes by and fires.

The grenade detonates just as it passes the corner or flies over the top of the wall, making Mohammed and his buddies into nice halal KIA stats.

Lt. Col. Christopher Lehner, project manager for the semi-automatic, shoulder-fired weapon system for the U.S. Army's Program Executive Office Soldier, said that the XM25's capability alone is such a "game-changer" that it'll lead to new ways of fighting on the battlefield, beginning this month in Afghanistan.

"With this weapon system, we take away cover from [enemy targets] forever," Lehner said. "Tactics are going to have to be rewritten. The only thing we can see [enemies] being able to do is run away."

According to Lt. Col. Lehner, the first XM-25s were distributed to combat units in Afghanistan this month.

The XM-25 is fairly light and portable at 12 pounds and 29 inches, and was designed by Minnesota's Alliant Techsystems. It's advertised as easy to use, with the average soldier becoming proficient in minutes.

It's also a fairly pricey weapon, costing up to $35,000 per, and I'm sure the projectiles, which contain a computer chip to tell them when and where to explode aren't cheap either.

Contrary to what Lt. Col Lehner says, I don't see it making our enemies run away, although it will definitely be a game changer as far as the tactics they can use go.

It will make any offensive attacks on patrols or bases equipped with the XM-25 almost impossible unless the enemy is in force and thinks it can quickly overwhelm and wipe out our forces in the first few minutes. Otherwise, attacking a patrol or a base is essentially suicidal.

Snipers will still exist, but they are only going to be able to get one or two shots off before skedaddling if they want to live, which will cut down on their effectiveness.

The jihadis will generally have to rely a lot more on IEDs and attacks on civilians. But we're getting a lot better at dealing with IEDs and roadside bombs, and attacks on civilians become counterproductive after a while and turn the population against the jihadis, as they did in Iraq.

If the XM-25 works as advertised,it could have a s big an effect on warfare as the crossbow or the first reliable firearms did.

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1 comment:

B.Poster said...

This is certainly encouraging news. Its nice to see we are still developing new weapons and weapons systems.

I certainly hope this works as advertised but I don't like the terrm "game changer." This term implies that this is a game. It is not a game. The Jihadist enemy poses a far greater threat to us than Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan ever did or likely ever could have. Far from being a mere game, our country is in a fight for its very survival. We need to treat this as such. I'm assuming Lt. Col. Lehner chose either misspoke or was misquoted.

Also, given our massive national debt government expenditures will simply have to be cut substantially in future years. When finally forced to face this problem, politicians will likely take the "path of least resistance" when seeking to cut expenditures. By far and away the easiest place to cut expenditures will be in the "military industrial complex." This group simply does not have the lobbying clout that other parties have. Case in point, it costs a media pundit or politician NOTHING to rail against the this group.

Without the military industrial complex or if its funds are cut to much we won't be able develop weapons like this or our ability to do so will be severly compromised. This will make the survival of the country even more problematic than it already is. Something we might want to think about before we cutting military spending to much.