US Army start testing XM24, smart grenade launcher

14 October 2015

To help keep US soldiers from harm and and armed with the most futuristic armaments, the US Army announced plans to start testing a new smart grenade launcher that can take out covered / hidden targets.

The XM25 Counter Defilade Engagement System, as it is called is a smart grenade launcher from Virginia-based rocket systems manufacturer, Orbital ATK.

It aims to allow soldiers on the battlefield to avoid exposing themselves during firefights. As per the company, the weapon enhances a soldier's hit probability to roughly 1,600 feet by 300 to 500 per cent.

The XM25 has been under development since the last decade and has even done duty during 2010 when the Army's PEO Soldier program sent prototypes to Afghanistan for use on the battlefield.

During these prototype tests, PEO Soldier Lt Colonel Chris Lehner equated the XM25 to other innovative military advancements such as the machine gun or tank, which hugely altered tactics employed by soldiers.

According to Lehner thanks to the smart grenade launcher's inherent efficiency, lower cost, and ease of use, it instantly became preferable over airstrikes or mortars.

''The system is less expensive, more precise, quicker to deploy, and causes less collateral damage than mortars, artillery or airstrikes,'' Lehner points out in a PEO Soldier press release from 2010. ''Our Soldiers can remain covered / protected and use their XM25 to neutralize an enemy in his covered position. This will significantly reduce the risk of U.S. casualties and change the way we fight.'' 

Also called the Punisher, the XM25 uses a combination of "smart" grenades that explode in midair and a laser rangefinder. The Punisher can reach and attack enemy forces even when they are hiding behind cover.

With the XM25 a soldier can easily take out a target popping out to fire from the concrete doorway of a building, and only exposing for the few seconds it takes to fire off a shot. The soldier needs to only take the range to the doorway, using the Punisher's laser sight, say for example 204 metres.

The Punisher's controls, allow him to set the grenade to explode at 205 meters. When the soldier aims his weapon inside the doorway and pulls the trigger, the 25-millimeter high-explosive grenade flies downrange and through the doorway and instead of continuing on into the building until it hits something, it airbursts one meter inside, just behind cover.

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