The maker of a new grenade launcher that can fire rounds that explode when they pass walls or barriers is "finalizing development" of a weapon it believes will give soldiers a serious edge.
XM25 carries a magazine of five 25mm grenade rounds and a fire-control system that lets the soldier instantly program how far the grenade will travel before it explodes. That means a soldier can engage an enemy hiding behind a target — only he doesn't need to hit something to ruin the enemy's hiding place and his day.
According to XM25 maker Orbital ATK spokesman Jarrod Krull, in spring the Army will conduct qualification testing and contract validation. If the weapon fulfills the Army's requirements, the Army could see fielding in early 2017, Krull said — assuming budget decisions also line up in the weapon system's favor.
"It provides combat overmatch; the ability to engage the target in defilade (shielded)," Krull said.
When a soldier aims the weapon at a target, a laser finder gauges distance. The soldier can add or subtract from that distance with the push of a button and then, after setting the distance, can aim and fire. The fire control also shows a soldier how high to aim the weapon to account for gravity's pull on the grenade based on the laser-determined distance. The company says the range is 500 meters to a target point, and 600 meters to an area target.
The weapon itself, made by Heckler & Koch, consists of lightweight material composites. Brashear made the fire control and Orbital ATK produced the munitions and integrated the system.
The Army is also testing a Small Arms Grenade Munition round, a 40mm round that can be used with current M203 and M320 grenade launchers. That round itself can detect a wall it passes and explode shortly after. The Army has said SAGM was meant to compliment, not replace, the program to develop the XM25; it sees potential uses for both.