The US Army has contracted major US aerospace and defence firm ATK to progress its XM25 rifle programme. The $16.8m development contract covers this highly-advanced rifle's ongoing design, manufacture and testing in advance of it ultimately being supplied to US Army warfighters.
The XM25 Individual Airburst Weapon System (IAWS) has already been fielded by US Army troops deployed in Afghanistan. These XM25 FOAs (Forward Operational Assessments) saw the US Army troops involved actively using the system whilst on patrol, in locations where enemy forces were highly concentrated.
Afterwards, these troops said, of the XM25, that it had given them a "unique combat advantage".
XM25 Airburst Weapon
The Afghan XM25 airburst weapon deployment began in November 2010 and concluded in May this year. Data yielded from it will now be used in XM25 rifle-based training, tactics and design refinement, before the weapon's actually used in combat for real. Prior to that, a second FOA will be carried out, this time with pre-production XM25 prototypes.
"The XM25 has been battle-proven by our soldiers during US Army operational assessments conducted in Afghanistan", said ATK Armament Systems Division's vice president, Bruce DeWitt. He continued: "We are very pleased with this system's performance and the overmatch capability it delivers to our warfighters. We are focused on quickly making this weapon ready for production."
US Army XM25 System
The US Army's XM25 system is an all weather-capable device that's at its best within the sub-300 metre range but can also hit targets located more than 500 metres away.
The system encompasses a laser rangefinder, a ballistic computer, optic and thermal sights and a fuze setter and it's compatible with a wide range of 25mm ammunition. When it use, it gives warfighters the ability to rapidly engage targets by generating an adjusted aim-point after drawing on user input, environmental and range-based data.
Described as far back as 2008 as a weapon that could bring about a change in current battlefield tactics as we know them, the XM25 now faces a new phase in its development. Armed Forces International will continue to watch this programme with interest.