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‘Punisher' gets its first battlefield tests

XM25 ‘performs flawlessly' in Afghanistan

Feb. 14, 2011 - 05:33AM   |   Last Updated: Feb. 14, 2011 - 05:33AM  |  
(PEO Soldier)
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‘A GAME CHANGER’

The XM-25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement System enables small units and individual soldiers to engage targets with a 25mm air-bursting capability for all operational environments.
Specifications
Caliber: 25mm
Semi-automatic
Weight:
13 pounds
Length: 29.5 inches
Magazine: 4 rounds
Optic: Fully integrated day/night, full-solution target acquisition/fire control
Construction: Lightweight material composites
Program status: In testing and development, with limited production expected in 2012

The XM25 has changed the battlefield with only 55 rounds, and earned a new name among soldiers. They call it "the Punisher."

Since its first contact Dec. 3, the XM25 has been in nine engagements with two units at different locations, officials said. Specifically, it has disrupted two insurgent attacks on observation posts, taken out two PKM machine gun positions and destroyed four ambush sites.

In one engagement, an enemy machine gunner was "so badly wounded or so freaking scared that he dropped [his] weapon" and ran, said Lt. Col. Christopher Lehner, Program Manager Individual Weapons.

There were no casualties among units carrying the XM25 in those nine engagements, Lehner said.

"No longer can the enemy shoot at American forces, then hide behind something," said Brig. Gen. Peter Fuller of Program Executive Office Soldier. "This is a revolutionary weapon. This is a game-changer."

The XM25 has a target acquisition system that calculates range with the push of a button. The data is transferred to an electronic fuse, enabling the 25mm round to explode over the target and rain shell fragments on the enemy.

All five prototypes were sent to Afghanistan in November. Officials are putting the final touches on data and analysis, but said Col. Douglas Tamilio, project manager for soldier weapons, said the weapons "performed flawlessly" and no maintenance issues showed.

Soldiers have been so pleased with the XM25 that they are carrying it as a primary weapon, and not bothering to bring an M4 as a secondary weapon, said Maj. Christopher Conley, who monitored the employment of XM25 on behalf of PEO Soldier.

Lehner said the tests revealed only one problem: The units didn't want to give the Punisher back.

That's not to say there isn't room to improve. "We've got to do something about the battery," Tamilio said. "It needs a longer life."

In addition, he is convinced that the effective area range can expand from 700 to 1,000 meters. The effective range for a point target is 500 meters.

There were no complaints about the 13-pound weight.

"If you can give them this kind of capability, they will handle the weight," Tamilio said.

The weapons were tested by two units at separate locations.

Tamilio recalled comments from one platoon leader, who said engagements that typically take 15 to 20 minutes were over in "a matter of minutes."

Officials plan to put the weapons with a third unit for the spring offensive, but officials must first determine how to cover the cost of rounds. Because they are hand built, the rounds run about $1,000 each. That cost will drop to $35 once a production line is started.

The XM25, which runs about $35,000 per copy, is about to enter engineering and manufacturing development.

Tamilio said efforts are underway to purchase an additional 36 weapons in 2012.

The XM25 is scheduled to begin low-rate initial production in late 2013. The plan is to buy 12,500 weapons — one for each infantry squad or special forces team.

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