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XM-25 Smart Weapon


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You would be apalled at how much money and time the Army has spent on this thing.

 

I believe that the M14 took about 14 years of development time before it was fielded, but the XM-25 (counting the OICW - Objective Individual Combat Weapon) and its off-shoot (no pun intended) XM-29 have been under development since FY 94. That's 17 years, so far.

 

I has cost countless millions of dollars, and has never fired a shot in anger. The Army is still wasting time and money on it.

 

It is the number one reason why the troops on the ground in A**stan and the Sand Box are still using their grandfather's Vietnam era rifle. And, oh by the way, if and when it ever does get fielded, the main rifle cartridge that it will fire will be the 5.56mm ball. So Joe and Josephine will still be shootin' their grand daddy's rifle, just in a new Hollywood package.

 

Note: The version shown in the original post above is the grenade only varient, but as originally invisioned and developed, the weapon was a duel ammunition like the M16/M4-M203. Below is a pic of one of the development models showing this feature. Current development still uses the 5.56mm ball as the "regular" rifle cartridge. So, mainly because of weight, the project has morphed into two separate, but related lines of development which are still intended to ultimately be parts of the same rifle or, maybe now, two separate rilfes. Who knows? As long as the tax payers keep the checks coming, the developers will keep developing.

 

Bureaucrats: The only thing they're interested in is keeping the status quo static. They would spend (and probably will) the next 17 years keeping their jobs safe on continued development of this abortion.

 

Or as we used to say: "Nothing's too good for the troops, and that's just what they're gonna get - nothing!" (And nothing would seem to include a new, more lethal, more reliable, and lighter weight rifle.)

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"Hope is not a course of action." Sean P. Kelly, SSG, 1st US Ranger Battalion

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Oversized, unergonomic junk...but thats just my humble opinion.

 

Whatever we issue needs to be able to be employed quickly to engage the enemy. That thing looks like a nightmare to hump, or use in any enviroment, especially an urban one.

 

I have no issue with the R&D due to the fact that we might get something good out of it in the long run, but this thing is no where near ready for prime time.

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As SGM (ret.) and others have so eloquently alluded to, the rifle version is butt ugly and not what I think anyone would consider a tactical advancement for the foot soldier. However, the XM-25 featured in the article is NOT the rifle version. It is more like a shoulder held mortar that is able to deliver a HEAB(High Explosive Airburst). From the article:

 

...designed to accurately deliver an explosive round that neutralizes targets at distances of up to 700 meters.

 

"What makes this weapon system truly revolutionary is the ability to target the enemy, pass on this information to the sensors and microchips of its 25mm HEAB round, and have that round detonate over the target,"

 

The article also offers this scenario:

An American patrol nears a walled, Afghan village when an enemy combatant looks over the wall and fires his AK-47 rifle at the oncoming U.S. Soldiers. The Americans return fire with their rifles and maneuver, but find it difficult to neutralize the enemy rifleman who repeatedly exposes himself for only a second, shoots, then ducks behind the thick wall. At this time, the patrol leader calls for the XM-25 gunner to take action.

 

Immediately, the XM-25 gunner aims the laser range-finder at the top of the wall where the enemy last ducked down. The gunner presses the laser range finder button on the front of the XM-25's trigger guard and records a distance to the wall of 451 meters. The distance is displayed on the TAFC's optical lens along with an adjusted aim point, or "cross hair," to help the soldier better aim the XM-25.

 

The adjusted aim point takes into account air pressure, temperature, and the ballistics of the 25mm round for the given range of 451 meters. The soldier then uses the increment button on the trigger guard and adds one more meter to the firing solution since the enemy combatant is about one meter behind the wall.

 

Upon pulling the trigger, the TAFC programs the HEAB round in the chamber of the weapon, telling the round to explode at 452 meters from launch point. The HEAB round departs the rifled barrel, arms at 30 meters, clears the top of the wall at 451 meters and explodes its two warheads at 452 meters, right above the enemy. The entire firing sequence takes the gunner less than five seconds to aim and fire and another 2.5 seconds for the round to fly and explode over the target, thereby clearing the way for the patrol to resume its mission.

"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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I have to jump in on this one and echo the remarks made by the Sgt Major. I was the Navy/Marine Helicopter Crew Served Weapons Program Manager at NAVAIR when these weapons were being tested. We were very interested to see which way the Army was going, as we were looking for a new Personal Defense Weapon (PDW) for helicopter aircrews in 2002- 2005. PEO Soldier has wasted millions of RDT&E dollars on the enitre line of the OICW family of weapons. It does not just include a new infantry rifle but light to heavy machine guns as well.

 

H&K was finally down selected to put the XM-8 out there as a "modular" OICW system. Different barrels, different grips, optics, grenade etc. 5.56, and "possibly" 7.62, but only 5.56 was tested as far as I know.

 

xm8b.jpg

 

XM8_XM320_sharpshooter_0.jpg

 

The troops, both USMC Warfighting Lab, and USA 10th MTN guys fired this thing at various test sites. NONE of them liked it. The Marine Gunners on the infantry side espcially disliked it and its "modularity". Program canceled, and the FN Herstal "SCAR was finally given a shot (Pardon the pun) at becoming out new infantry weapon of choice. SCAR heavy, SCAR light. Why? Because finally someone listened to the soldier and asked them what the requirements was. Hello 7.62! 5.56 has its place, but so does 7.62. FN has gone back to its roots and used the FNFAL style weapon and delivered a combat rifle for the Marines/Soldiers so we can finally get away from the M16. But....it has been a hard won battle to get a new rifle.

 

I actually heard out on the range when we were looking at these weapons at Quantico, a USMC SgtMaj and (2) CWO-5's say "well can you perform close order drill with it?" Who the hell cares! Go bring some of those beautiful M-1 Garands or M-14's out of storage in Indiana and let the troops learn about close order drill with those weapons. But in combat I don't give two rats rump about a tight parade sling.....

 

FNH SCAR:

 

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FNH SCAR Heavy:

 

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Some Data on the SCAR:

 

The US Special Operations Command (US SOCOM) issued a solicitation for the procurement of SOF Combat Assault Rifles (SCAR) on October 15th, 2003. This solicitation requested a new combat rifle, specially tailored for the current and proposed future needs of the US Special Forces, which are somewhat different from latest generic US Army requirements, which are being fulfilled by the newest Heckler-Koch XM8 assault rifle. The key difference in basic requirements between XM8 and SCAR is that, while XM8 is a single-caliber weapon system, tailored for 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition, the SCAR should be available in various different calibers. Initial SOF requirements included two basic versions of SCAR system - the SCAR Light (SCAR-L), available in 5.56mm NATO, and the SCAR heavy (SCAR-H), which should be initially available in significantly more powerful 7.62x51 NATO chambering, and should be easily adaptable in the field to other chamberings. These other chamberings initially include the well-spread 7.62x39 M43 ammunition of the Soviet / Russian origins, and probably some others (like the proposed 6.8x43 Remington SPC cartridge, especially developed for US Special Forces). The key idea of SCAR rifle system is that it will provide the Special Forces operators with wide variety of options, from short-barreled 5.56mm SCAR-L CQC variation, tailored for urban close combat, and up to long range 7.62x51 SCAR-H Sniper variant, as well as 7.62x39 SCAR-H, which will accept "battlefield pickup" AK-47/AKM magazines with 7.62 M43 ammunition, available during the operations behind the enemy lines. Both SCAR-L and SCAR-H shall be initially available in three versions, Standard (S), Close Quarters Combat (CQC) and Sniper Variant (SV; now it is dubbed Long Barrel - LB). All these variants, regardless the caliber and exact configuration, will provide the operator with the same controls layout, same handling and maintenance procedures, and same optional equipment, such as sights, scopes, and other current and future attachments.

 

Late in 2004 US SOCOM announced, that the winner for the initial SCAR contracts is the FN USA, an US-based subsidiary of the famous Belgian company Fabrique Nationale Herstal. prototype rifles were manufactured by FN Manufacturing Inc, US-based subsidiary to FN Herstal; This company will also handle series production of rifles. Starting mid-2005, first SCAR rifles went to end users in US Special Operation Forces. Since US SOCOM uses Navy-type "mark" designations, SCAR rifles were officially designated as 5.56mm Rifle Mark 16 (SCAR-L / Light) and 7.62mm Rifle Mark 17 (SCAR-H / Heavy). It is believed that Mk.16 and Mk.17 rifles will gradually replace most rifle systems now in service with US SOCOM forces, such as M4 carbines, M16 rifles, M14 rifles and Mk. 25 sniper rifles.

 

As it turned out, FN SCAR rifles are not based on any previous weapons but designed from the scratch. In all variants FN SCAR rifles feature gas operated, short stroke piston action with rotating bolt locking. Bolt system appears to be somewhat similar to that of FN Minimi / M249 SAW machine gun. This system apparently is less sensitive to fine sand, dust and any other fouling inside the receiver, than any system with M16-type multi-lug bolt and plunger-type ejector.

Receiver is made from two parts, upper and lower, connected with two cross-pins. Upper part is made from extruded aluminium, lower part is made from polymer. SCAR-L and SCAR-H use similar upper receivers that differ only in the size of ejection port. Other different parts include caliber-specific bolt, barrel, and lower receiver with integral magazine housing. Parts commonality between SCAR-L and SCAR-H is astonishing 90%. Barrels are quick-detachable, and held in the upper receiver with two cross-bolts. Barrel change procedure requires minimum amount of tools, takes just several minutes and there is no need to adjust the headspace after the change.

 

The trigger unit with ambidextrous safety-fire mode selector switch allows for single shots and full automatic fire, with no provisions for limited-length bursts mode. The charging handle could be easily installed on either side of the weapon, so the upper receiver has respective cuts on both sides. Top of the upper receiver is covered by the full-length integral Picatinny rail (MIL-STD 1913); additional Picatinny rails are mounted on both sides and under the free-floating handguards. Side-folding polymer buttstock is adjustable for length of pull, and is shaped to provide positive cheek rest with adjustable cheek support. SCAR rifles are fitted with removable, adjustable iron sights, with folding diopter-type rear sight on the receiver rail, and folding front sight on the gas block. Any additional type of sighting equipment, necessary for current tasks, including telescope and night sights, can be installed using MIL-STD 1913 compatible mounts.

Mk.16 SCAR-L rifle will use improved M16-type magazines, made of steel; Mk.17 SCAR-H will use proprietary 20-round magazines in 7.62x51 NATO chambering, or standard AK-type magazines in proposed 7.62x39 M43 chambering. Current prototypes of SCAR rifles do not have bayonet mounts, and, probably, will never have one.

 

Off my soap box.....sorry :blushing:

 

s/f Gy Dan

"Hi, I'm Dan, and I too collect Flight Jackets"

Collector of USAF/USMC/USN Flight Gear (1940 - 1990)

Trades/Buying/Selling

 

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The FN SCAR has been well received in the SOF community. Unfortunately, for the Big Army, fielding it force-wide is not an option because of costs and the money (and political and career - military and civilian - capital) already spent on the OICW family. On the other hand, SOCOM is small enough and has its own Title funding for procurement, so the SCAR can be limited fielded within SOCOM dispite the Big Army. The Marine Corps is also possibly small enough to field the SCAR force-wide if it so choses. (Which remains to be seen.)

 

It's also worth noting that to date the SCAR is the result of less than 10 years of R&D and the cost has been chump change compaired to what's been spent on the OICW. In fact, early prototypes of the SCAR were fielded and in combat use in only about 3 years from the time SOCOM contacted manufacturers about a new rifle.

 

Bugme: Not to be argumentive, but...

 

You'll note that I did say that the weapon you originally posted (the XM-25) was the grenade launcher version. You should also note, that the "scenario" you posted is pure fiction. It's nothing more than an advertisement that promises a lot of performance but is not based on any actual use. It is not, in spite of its use of the current situation, a description of actual combat.

 

The grenade launcher version of the weapon will likely be fielded if for no other reason than the costs of developing the ammunition and supporting electronics. What is not clear yet, is if that ammo will live up to the hype that's surrounded it for the last 15 years while the egg heads have been trying to work the bugs out.

 

Anybody here remember the M202 Flash Rocket Launcher - the flame thrower of the future? Hmmm... no? Well it had some pretty good press when it was being fielded, too. The only reason it stayed in the inventory as long as it did was because of how much money the Army spent buying them to put in ammo bunkers.

"Hope is not a course of action." Sean P. Kelly, SSG, 1st US Ranger Battalion

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post-344-1258665642.jpg

 

Hi All. I think you should give credit where credits due, it's quite obvious that this is a first generation rifle - trail bike, they have achieved the rifle part and are currently working on the hang-up of the drop down wheels, meanwhile the hands free sandwich dispenser slot has been a problem, it turned up on the opposite side of the butt to his mouth.

 

But they are working on it, give it a while. ;)

 

Cheers Lewis

.

Young enough to care and enjoy militaria - Old enough to remember as surplus

 

" Life's too short for reproductions "

 

 

Life is like a tank of gas, the closer you get to a quarter tank, the faster it goes 

 

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Bugme: Not to be argumentive, but...

 

You'll note that I did say that the weapon you originally posted (the XM-25) was the grenade launcher version. You should also note, that the "scenario" you posted is pure fiction. It's nothing more than an advertisement that promises a lot of performance but is not based on any actual use. It is not, in spite of its use of the current situation, a description of actual combat.

 

Very true and your not being argumentative, you were being factual. So, no offence taken here. I just thought it was an interesting weapon, "IF".... in fact this thing really does work as advertised.

 

The grenade launcher version of the weapon will likely be fielded if for no other reason than the costs of developing the ammunition and supporting electronics. What is not clear yet, is if that ammo will live up to the hype that's surrounded it for the last 15 years while the egg heads have been trying to work the bugs out.

 

Whats with this "bugs out" quote? You trying to get rid of me? :rolleyes:

"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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SGM,

 

You are right on. the SCAR was developed extremely fast in DoD acquisition terms. I saw the weapon when it was a prototype and got a chance to fire it in both 5.56 and 7.62 in Belgium when working the M3M/GAU-21 program, with at the time the CG of MARCORSYSCOM. the coating on the 7.62 rifle was still tacky!! :rolleyes: I knew then that FN had something. And, that SOF/SOCOM would benefit from this weapon greatly.

 

Yes, Mother Army and Mother Marine corps has a decision on their hands of the next generation infantry rifle. However all of the funds in OICW are "sunk" costs. go back to Pentagon Wars, and I am sur eyou know what I mean. everytime we turn around someone wanted something else on the rifle. But, I also applaud Big Army for canceling a certain Helicopter program a few years back and they had $8Billion in that program, that is a B for Billion not million. they cut their losses and moved on. PEO Soldier can do the same.

 

The next infantry rifle is far to important to keep flooding this RDT&E money to an empty hole that produces nothing. with the designated marksman program alive and well in both services, we owe it to our men and women to find a battle rifle that works in "todays" fight. Amazing that I am seeing the very same rifles I packed up in a warehouse some 10 years ago (M-14's), and running them through SOCOM modifications then throwing them out to the warfighter as fast as possible, because they NEED them.

 

I am not going to debate the validity of 5.56 on the modern battlefield, but we all know it ain't working. Is 7.62 the answer? Back to old 30.06? No, they are too heavy for the soldier to carry around, but a mix could be the answer. Or, a new caliber 5.7mm? :think:

 

Thanks for the sounding board SGM.

 

s/f - Gy

"Hi, I'm Dan, and I too collect Flight Jackets"

Collector of USAF/USMC/USN Flight Gear (1940 - 1990)

Trades/Buying/Selling

 

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The next infantry rifle is far to important to keep flooding this RDT&E money to an empty hole that produces nothing. with the designated marksman program alive and well in both services, we owe it to our men and women to find a battle rifle that works in "todays" fight. Amazing that I am seeing the very same rifles I packed up in a warehouse some 10 years ago (M-14's), and running them through SOCOM modifications then throwing them out to the warfighter as fast as possible, because they NEED them.

 

This is the definition of the problem and current solution should be going in a direction to solve it. The general purpose forces need a new rifle that incorporates all of the technological advances in small arms development that have occured since Eugene Stoner developed his proto-design in the 1950's. (That's when the M16/M4 design of today was born. It's MUCH older technology than most people think.) The FN SCAR is a fine example of what can be put into the hands of the troops based on current technology. And much like Stoner, the manufacturer has born most of the burden for development of the SCAR, not DoD.

 

The M14 has indeed been "resurected" and reworked rifles are in the hands of the DRMs today. What many people don't know is that the money spent on this effort has been mostly direct from the end-user units. That is, MACOMs, divisions, and brigades heading to the Sand Box combed through their arms rooms for the M14s (M21s) that they had on-hand and then sent those rifles out to be commercially refurb'ed at their own costs. These rifles, and the DRM program, are filling the tactical need that our forefathers filled with the M1903A4 and would have fielded the M1C/D to superceed. Squads and platoons need precision rifle fire at the direction of the squad / platoon leader, and that's what the M14s and the DRMs provide. (Interestingly enough, most of the DRMs use an M16/M4 with the ACOG and not the M14/M21. Also interesting: the ACOG is another SOCOM developed and fielded device. Do you see a trend here, maybe?)

 

The SEALs have gone even further with their modernization of the M14, but that's an on-going effort and something that they have been doing for a long time, not just since 9-11. However, many of the SEAL-only developments are finding their way onto re-furb'ed M14's going to DRMs.

 

The demand for M14's has now out-stripped the services on-hand supplies, and at least one manufacturer is now posturing to produce all new M14s for the military. Again, though, these will be small in number and only intended for DRMs and snipers. The M14, although a fine rifle, is not the solution to a new general issue rifle. If only a tenth of the R&D money which has been poured down the OICW-drain had been spent on developing a new rifle cartridge instead of a single-purpose, computerized "lite" grenade round, there would be a dozen new rifles designed around it to chose from because that's what gun manufacturers do naturally if free-enterprise is allowed to work. (See all above re: FN SCAR)

 

7.62mm might not be the best answer possible, but in the (IMO criminal) absence of anything better, it's certainly a contender. In terms of absolute lethality, there's not much debate that it's better than the 5.56. However, there are tactical load considerations, mostly weight vs. number of rounds carried. With the 5.56, the pendulum swung towards lighter weight at the expense of lethality. A rational R&D program would have gone far to redress this imbalance and bring more lethality back into the equation.

 

It's not too late, but the Big Green Machine needs to wake up, cut its loses with the OICW, and start doing right by the troops.

 

PS: Bugme - That whole "work the bugs out" thing... You know, man... I love you... I didn't mean anything personal, there... :hug:

"Hope is not a course of action." Sean P. Kelly, SSG, 1st US Ranger Battalion

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