Few months ago the U.S. Army has sent five examples of the new XM25 ‘Individual Semiautomatic Air Burst System’ developed by ATK, for evaluation by soldiers in Afghanistan, and the feedback received is encouraging. “We are getting great feedback from the Soldiers in the field on this weapon. The Soldiers are really excited to keep the weapon system and have requested to keep it longer than we had initially decided to leave those prototypes in theater” said Col. Scott Armstrong, the program manager for Soldier weapons at Program Executive Office Soldier said.
Armstrong noted the recent name change helps users focus on the weapon’s true benefits. “The reason we have renamed it is because that is really the materiel solution we have brought to the Army to be able to bridge the gap that was identified as counter-defilade targets.” The weapon is currently in the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase. Congress has approved an additional $24.7 million in funding for 36 new prototype XM25s. “We are hoping to have those in our hands for testing by the end of 2012 and downrange six months later to conduct additional field testing with a battalion size unit,” Armstrong said.
While the XM25 offers a full solution integrated weapon, a different concept introduced by Israel Military Industries (IMI) is making headway with the Israeli military testing an add-on modification to standard rifles mounting 40mm grenade launchers, offering airburst-style weapon similar to the XM25. The MPRS is in testing with the Israeli Defense Force and could be ready for fielding in early 2012, Peretz said. The company has also demonstrated for the U.S. Army and Marine Corps; IMI has partnered with General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products (GD-ATP) to market the system in the U.S.
IMI’s Multi Purpose Rifle System (MPRS) is designed to dramatically improve the accuracy and range of 40mm rifle grenades. The system features an integrated optics, laser rangefinder and processor, all integrated into a single unit that mounts on any rifle with Picatinny rails. Using a touchpad that mounts to a grenade launcher, a soldier can program a special 40mm grenade to accurately explode over a target at ranges beyond 250 meters. “At over 100 or 150 meters, it is very difficult to hit with a 40mm grenade launcher, but with this, you can hit very accurately — from 200 meters you can go right through a window.”
While the XM25 weighs 6.35 kg (14 pounds) with a loaded four-round magazine. The MPRS’s optic/computer, ambidextrous touch pad and connection cable adds only about one pound to a rifle equipped with a 40mm grenade launcher and four grenades – around 6.70 (15 pounds total). While the XM25 offers the benefit of an automatic loading and rapid burst, the Israeli can be fielded more quickly and benefit from existing logistics suport, training and tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP). Both systems are currently on display at the 2011 Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington.