U.S. Army Buries XM25 Program

In the latest twist of events to do with the 25mm XM25 “Punisher”, it appears the program is coming to a grinding halt after Military.com recently reported that the U.S. Army has completely canceled the program with Orbital ATK after almost two decades of development work. On top of numerous bureaucratic delays and issues that we’ve covered in an earlier post, the program was suffering from the delay of H&K’s delivery of 20 XM25s to ATK, of which the company sued H&K earlier for over 27 million dollars. Because H&K didn’t or couldn’t deliver the product to ATK, the U.S. Government canceled the procurement program completely about a month ago, with the news just surfacing now. Negotiations ensued between the government and ATK but these apparently could not yield an acceptable replacement in time or to satisfy operational requirements.

From the report-

On April 5, 2017, the Army terminated the XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement (CDTE) contract with the prime contractor (Orbital-ATK) after it failed to deliver the 20 weapons as specified by the terms of the contract,” an Army spokesman told Military.com in a May 5 email.

“Despite extensive negotiation efforts, the contractor failed to provide an acceptable alternate resolution to the Government.

….

It’s unclear what the future is for XM25, but Army weapons officials appeared unsure of its status this week at the National Defense Industrial Association’s 2017 Armaments Systems Forum.

Following a presentation from the Army’s Project Manager Soldier Weapons, an audience member asked why the XM25 did not appear on any of the briefing slides covering the Army’s near-term, mid-term and far-term small arms programs.

Lt. Col. Steven Power, who runs Product Manager Individual Weapons, said, “The XM25 is still managed by my office” and then gave a long pause before adding, “I can’t speak right now about the status of that program.”

Power said, “I have been informed that it is not really my place to provide information ahead of other stakeholders.”

Col. Brian Stehle, head of Program Manager Soldier Weapons, said, “There is a requirement within the Army to have an air-burst, direct-fire capability within our formation. The Army is reassessing the actual requirement itself, and we are pursuing material solutions.”

The XM25 was spawned out of the OICW program from the 1990s and saw limited service in Afghanistan of which its combat usage appeared to be favorable. However, after several malfunctions and some close calls, the program was immediately put on hold pending follow-up investigations and proceedings. Since then, the program has down-spiraled into jeopardy and what we see today. It was offered up to the Ranger Regiment as an air burst capability during their raids but the Rangers declined it due to excessive weight and the loss of a rifle due to the operator carrying it. Although not a turning point, it would have been enlightening to see if the program could have been more successful had it received the Ranger’s stamp of approval.

However, there might be some future usage of the airburst technology being employed with 40x46mm low-velocity grenades as the article stated.



Miles

Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia. You can also follow us on Twitter- @Silah_Report

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at miles@tfb.tv


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  • LCON

    So the Contractors turned on each other failed to meet the requirements.

  • 22winmag

    What’s next?

    TFB buries grenade launcher, knife, and flashlight stories?

  • yodamiles

    Another $100+ million program down the drain…no worries guys!!!!!

    • Amplified Heat

      We should totally reward them by buying a bunch of 416s for the Marines, yo!

      • Major Tom

        Nationalize the M27’s design, then field it out to other manufacturers.

        That’s why the M4 and M16 are so cheap.

        • Joshua

          The Marines don’t own the TDP.

          • Major Tom

            Yet.

          • Joshua

            Uh huh.

        • Logic

          Why… its absolutly not great, it greatly lacks in many ways.

          • Major Tom

            Such as? It’s basically a bog standard AR with a G36 piston system and a free floated barrel. It possesses most of the same strengths and deficiencies as any other AR platform.

          • snmp

            AR with a G36 piston (from stoner AR18)

          • Zack mars

            It does nothing a normal ar already does lighter and cheaper?

    • Guy

      You don’t get anywhere by doing nothing- the military has to try new things, even if they sometimes fail. 100 million over five or ten years is *nothing* in the grand scheme of the budget. It’s nothing in the grand scheme of the Army’s budget, let alone the whole of government.

  • The Dude (Noveske Fan)

    What is a grenade launcher?

    • PK

      It launches grenades, Avi.

      • The Dude (Noveske Fan)

        Damn, that’s a fine comment.

      • n0truscotsman

        😉

    • Form Factor

      Its a CDTE’S – Counter Defilade Target Engagement System

  • Xia Tianhun

    Not a huge shock. As cool as the concept sounds, it simply is one of those unfeasible projects. They never were able to resolve the fusing system and sometimes the rounds would stop in the barrel. Not cool when you don’t know if the fuse worked and its got a warhead. Plus as the article mentioned it did remove a rifle in order to carry a full loadout.

    • Evil13RT

      The question is in capability. There are many targets that rifles just can’t reach. If this gave them a new means to ferret out enemies from behind cover then it justifies its weight.
      Mechanical problems are no excuse for not getting it to the troops. They needed to take the money from the failing contractors and give them to someone more capable of delivering the goods. Preferably before the Chinese start exporting their version of it and we end up on the receiving end.

      • Major Tom

        SAGM offers the same (but modernized!) airburst capacity as XM-25 in 40x46mm and it can be fired from unmodified M203 and M320 launchers.

        • Evil13RT

          What about semi automatic capability and increased ammo count of the XM-25?
          I’d think the launcher would still need to be modified to use the air burst capability. Making a dedicated unit for a smaller round shouldn’t have been so difficult in the first place.

          • Major Tom

            SAGM requires no modification because the round uses a sensor to calculate for itself. It “sees” where it’s going to land and sets the fuse to blow shortly above the target.

            The semi-auto nature of the XM-25 is of limited advantage relative to its absurd weight.

          • Warren Ellis

            Didn’t the flatter shooting trajectory make it easier to send a grenade behind cover, regarding the XM25? Can a similar trajectory be done out of a hand-held 40mm grenade launcher? Are there 40mm grenades that have that sort of flatter trajectory the XM25 grenades had, or the lase and airburst ability it had as well?

  • Major Tom

    Well that was expected, especially after the one blew up in that guy’s face in Afghanistan. (I heard they fixed the issue, but nevertheless…)

    • Joshua

      Did you read the article? It was infighting between the companies manufacturing and designing the rifle.

      • Major Tom

        Yes and in the interim there were other things developed (SAGM) and the one XM-25 blowing up in the guy’s face was a turning point.

        SAGM offers all the capabilities of XM-25 but fits it into a standard 40x46mm grenade usable from an unmodified M203 or M320. Whether the Army or HK deemed it such or not, the XM-25 was merely proven as proof of concept, nothing more.

      • Uniform223

        2nd Lts don’t read. They expect the NCOs and any enlisted personnel close to their vicinity to read it for them.

    • PK

      The NDIA presentations going back to 2007 made it fairly clear where the XM-25 was headed, this whole time. This really shouldn’t be a shock to anyone, not since the pinhead-sized programmable fuzes were developed, and certainly not since the prototype 40x46mm programmable munitions were developed.

    • kjack

      >especially after the one blew up in that guy’s face in Afghanistan

      Yeah, there are a lot of guns on the civilian market that will fail in the same way (basically anything where the tip of the bullet on the cartridge being loaded is angled toward the center of the face of the chamber where the primer of an already loaded cartridge would be). I’ve seen pictures of the aftermath of a similar failure that happened with a Mosin Nagant because the person using it decided to drop a round into the chamber after loading the magazine. The fact that they went back and modified the cartridge case so that even if a grunt is so stupid as to go out of their way to create such a situation again (which already required breaking the nose cap off the grenade, which would interfere with the airburst feature due to greatly changing the amount of drag the grenade would experience anyways) the gun still wouldn’t fail makes that a non issue.

      >once they invented SAGM the XM-25

      Different weapons for different roles. LMGs didn’t render GPMGs obsolete even though they’re both machine guns. The SAGM and XM-25 were meant to compliment each other, with the SAGM offering a fast squad level solution for engaging closer targets while the XM25 offered a more effective and accurate solution for long range targets than the SAGM (which will automatically explode after passing over the first barrier it encounters, which is part of the compromise for making an easy to use squad level solution that doesn’t require much extra training or any additional specialized hardware), not compete for the same role.

    • Aerindel Prime

      That would be a dump reason though. Accidents are a leading cause of death in the military. Its jut to be expected from time to time, not anything to cancel a whole program over.

      • Major Tom

        Accidents have caused delays, cancellations, revisions and early retirements of many programs.

  • Amplified Heat

    HK is the Ewe Boll of the gun world; their job is to waste customers’ money.

    Between this, the XM8, queering the PDW contract, and the G11, why are we doing business with these con-men again? So the 416/417 works; so what? Plenty of other options from makers who haven’t sustained themselves the last thirty years by ripping off their customers (or rather, conspiring with military officials to pursue costly & wasteful efforts for mutual gain at the expense of taxpayers)

    • Major Tom

      >Implying Uwe Boll has created something of worth in his career.

      • Bull

        His “postal” is actually not that bad! Yeah. It hurts​to say that!

    • Reality

      <- THIS!

    • Joe

      I heard that Tara Reid was so awful in one of his films that Uwe Boll refused to work with her again, which is kinda yikes/wow.

  • valorius

    ROK has already issued their own OICW to their forces. It’s in front line military service as we speak. The K11. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/54a6bc5a3d327ce593b038238d61967a476aa7c081ecc7d0fcf91c0784f8ecb9.jpg

    • Paul Epstein

      The great advantage the K11 has is that it’s a bolt action, not semi-automatic. Admittedly there’s a capability you’ve lost, but it’s not one that would be actually used in the vast majority of cases. But avoiding the semi-automatic mechanism means it’s simpler, lighter, smaller, and cheaper.

      Beyond that, the ROK really only needs to prepare for one major scenario- invasion by the DPRK. 25mm airburst is extremely good when you’re facing waves of infantry. Any other military operation is honestly optional for them and can probably be accomplished with similar arms to resisting an invasion.

      • noamsaying

        ROK should spend their dough on their own nuclear weapon program. When they have the capability the north and south will have a nuclear weapon standoff and we can get out of Dodge.

    • TDog

      I believe China has one as well, the ZH-05. It came after South Korea’s, if I recall correctly.

      • valorius

        In that big DPRK commie parade a few weeks back some of their troops were seen copying a clone of the ROK OICW.

        • TDog

          Knowing the DPRK, it’s pot metal and salvaged driftwood fashioned by hand by some half-blind political prisoner…

  • valorius
    • Major Tom

      US Military Procurement: Does it accept credit cards?

      • valorius

        Tax payer funded cash only please.

      • noamsaying

        It is called the national debt. Do not worry, your grandchildren will be paying for this fiasco. I read a while back where the round was not that effective and the beast was a pain to carry in the field.

        • TDog

          Grandkids only? I think we’re on the our-descendants-have evolved-beyond-being-human sort of payment plan…

    • Baguette

      Hello heres France, we want a bunch of bad and overpriced HK416’s , so please, we need MORE toilets to unload our cash from the Trucks.

      • iksnilol

        416’s aren’t bad.

        • Warren Ellis

          Aren’t they overly expensive M16 variants at best?

          • iksnilol

            I dunno, Norwegian army is pleased with theirs.

          • CommonSense23

            And the Norwegian Sof use Colts don’t they?

          • iksnilol

            Not as far as I know

          • CommonSense23

            Pretty sure they use some DI AR15.

          • iksnilol

            Not really, they used before. Of course they’re trained in their use, but as far as I know they’re getting phased out.

          • MNOR

            Colt Canada(Diamaco) C8 SFW’s to be exact.
            Navy SOF has mostly gone HK416 by now.
            Army SOF(FSK) Desided to wait for the A5 version of the 416.
            Nowadays they have both in use, probably evaluating if one is better than the other.

        • Baquette

          They are really really bad for theyr price. We still need more toilets!

    • phuzz

      Oh, is that what the pocket of a defence contractor looks like?

    • Uniform223
      • Get over it fanbois

        The HK 416 and 417 are superior to the DI POSs they replaced. No matter what the nostalgia ninjas feel is better.

        • Logic

          Verry highly upgraded M4’s are better for …HALF… the Price.

          • GD Ajax

            The price doesn’t matter. The M27’s price can be slashed by one third if bought in bulk. The M4 upgrade program is DOA.
            Good luck getting an M4 to do the DMR job as well as any 7.62×51. Because using a 5.56 for the job is crap shoot.

          • Logic

            I meant the Hk416 obviously.

            Still the HK417 lacks insanly in one area, which compromises its performance by an insane amount. The waist of potential is just stupid.

          • Aerindel Prime

            Price doesn’t matter? Wow…you must work for the government.

          • CommonSense23

            Have ever actually used a 416 or M27?

        • Porty1119

          Joglee, is that you?

        • AC97

          Oh look, it’s someone who’s obviously not suffering from the “Ermahgerd HK Effect.”

      • n0truscotsman

        Couldn’t agree more.

        The stupid is very strong.

      • Monty01

        This is a ridiculous comment. Both the G28 and HK416 are excellent weapons by any objective standard. The durability and reliability they deliver is superior to any other AR15 derivative. H&K’s barrel lining technology delivers longevity that Colt simply cannot match. Moreover, H&K is building a US factory now which should enable such weapons to be produced at much more reasonable prices.

        • Logic

          Still… a high end M4 with superior technology and better parts, outperforms it and costs half….

    • Hey, show some respect, buddy– this was a Pentagon procurement program, that toilet cost more than you make in a year.

      • valorius

        LOL

  • Form Factor

    HK : “We eat millions of money for decades – but arent able to provide just 20 units.” Btw, you suck.

    Rather unfortunate news, the only good thing about a delay/cancel is – because the XM25 is verry imperfect in a ton of ways, a much better System could be made for actual adoption.

    • valorius

      We could just license produce the Korean K-11 (OICW).

      • Form Factor

        No, there is verry large potential designing a really good CDTE’s, much lighter shorter, more reach, lighter ammo, better ergonomics, etc.

        Adopting some large, heavy, clunky K11 Ociw isnt that optimal. But i know what you mean.

        • valorius

          The M203 is perfectly fine in my estimation. If you use it as a crew served weapon, with an AG loading the tube and the gunner aiming and firing, it has an amazingly high ROF. Certainly on the order of 20rpm or more. I’ve personally achieved and/or witnessed that high a rate of fire many times at the range and in field problems.

          • Form Factor

            Its good, but doesnt fill certain niches. I has a rainbow trajectory, doesnt manage cover like walls/ small roofs/ sandbags/ entrenchments.
            The XM25 would allow certain performance, but at high tradeoffs, so as i said a really modern perfected light CDTES design would be best.

          • valorius

            Obviously if it has a rainbow like trajectory it DOES address all those things. Takes some practice to get good with it, of course.

          • Warren Ellis

            Haven’t 40mm grenades been found to be sort of too heavy to be used well for “counter defilade?” For handheld 40mm grenade launchers I mean.

            And doesn’t their arcing trajectory make them harder to use for that as well?

          • valorius

            M-79 gunners in Vietnam are reported to have been able to use their 40mm grenades as short range mortars with great accuracy. Like i said, it’s a matter of practice.

          • Bert

            defilade is cover. 40mm’s arc makes it a sort of indirect fire. indirect fire goes over cover. If the intent is windows, rather than fighting positions, you can still put grenades through windows, or hit the walls and put frag through the walls. The xm25 is a tool intended to fill a largely similar role to the m203 and m320.

          • Warren Ellis

            I thought the XM25 was to be used as a sort of point-and-shoot style of warfare? As in you’re suddenly pinned down and you need something to kill whoever is doing it right now?

            And since it had a flatter trajectory and higher muzzle velocity, and longer range, you could more easily throw a grenade behind whatever cover there is instead of having to arc it like with a 40mm grenade?

      • DW

        It is not a better system, it has kaboomed, and has yet to see use, even in small combat trials.
        Personally, I think a grenade rifle ie neostead would more logical, it is after all much lighter,cheaper and does not contain circuits

        • Warren Ellis

          Isn’t the 20mm grenade the Neostead uses too small?

  • Whitechapel Charlie

    Bout time…

  • Rnasser Rnasser

    about time… good bye $$$$$

  • Monty01

    Medium velocity 40 mm in a multi-shot GL, something like the Milkor X32, with the latest optical sights and PAB ammo is superior to the XM25 in terms of cost, lethality, reliability and ease of use. Putting the XM25’s sight on a 40 mm GL is a no-brainer and will do much to ensure the cost of investment is put it in fieldable system.

    • kjack

      >Medium velocity 40 mm in a multi-shot GL, something like the Milkor X32

      And after putting the sight from the XM25 on it, it will weigh slightly more than the XM25 (the Milkor MGL is only 2 lbs lighter than the XM25, and the scope on the XM25 weighs about 2.5 lbs). Not to mention how much more the normal low velocity 40mm grenades weigh than the 25mm grenades, and the MV grenades weigh more still. One also has to consider that the flatter trajectory that the 25mm grenades offered makes them better suited for the task (40mm MV grenades leave the barrel at ~400 FPS IIRC, the 25mm grenades would leave the barrel at 690 FPS). I would argue that a launcher for this role with a more rainbow like trajectory and heavier ammunition would be less effective and therefore the less lethal option.

      • iksnilol

        Milkor in 25mm then?

      • Warren Ellis

        Isn’t another issue with 40mm grenades is that they’re too heavy almost? Like you can’t really get them close enough to do good airbursting? For hand held systems I mean.

      • John

        I think the ultimate answer is that the U.S. military just issues Stinger and Javelin missile launchers to the troops instead, so if they need to blow something apart, they can do it reliably from a mile away.

      • Monty01

        I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said. What I do believe, however, is that the death of XM25 will drive the development of new 40 mm MV multi-shot grenade launchers and, more important, new 40 mm medium velocity ammunition natures. The trajectory of MV 40 mm is too high and a more aerodynamic round would definitely improve things.

        Another interesting area is the possibility of downloading a 30×113 mm cannon shell (used in M230 chain gun) as the basis for a new programmable airburst round. It packs a healthy amount of HE and shoots much flatter than 40 mm. The recoil on the current 30×113 mm round is intense, but we really don’t need the kind of range it delivers. A reduced power round could still hit targets at 1,000 metres in a low recoil weapon.

  • USMC03Vet

    This was one of my fav weapons in battlefield 4.

  • TheUnspoken

    In reading around from the HK side it seems either HK lawyers or German politicians got cold feet and determined they would be in violation of German treaties from 1893 if they delivered the weapons without signed assurances they wouldn’t be used to directly kill people. Apparently they are allowed to use a grenade to kill people indirectly but not fire it straight at someone. Though it seems the point of the XM 25 is indirect fire, but that point seems lost on the them. At least that is the argument they made. Maybe they saw the writing on the wall and decided to cut their losses.

    • Warren Ellis

      But the US isn’t a signatory to those treaties i imagine, or the 1868 St. Petersburg Treaty against expoding ammo less than 400 grams in weight. And why would an arms company suddenly get a conscience?

      • iksnilol

        Doesn’t matter if the US is signatory or not. HK (a German company) would be breaking a German signed treaty.

        • Warren Ellis

          Funny how no one has a problem with fragmenting ammo despite that probably violating the spirit of those laws against creating “unnecessary suffering” that caused expanding ammo to not be used for warfare.

          • iksnilol

            I don’t think this has to do with the Hague treaty.

          • Different treaty altogether.

          • Warren Ellis

            I know it’s a different treaty. I just find all these restrictions on various things weird. What makes it legal to blow you up with a projectile over 400 grams in weight but illegal to blow you up with a projectile under 400 grams in weight, just because the original treat was written up 148 years prior to anything like airbursting grenade rounds being developed and thought of?

            What makes it legal to blow you up with a JDAM but not kill you with an expanding bullet? They’re utterly goofy!

    • Rocky Mountain 9

      As if a single German from 1914 onward cared half a rat’s behind about any treaty.

  • Kamen Rider Blade

    In the end, it’s all HK’s fault for not delivering a measly 20 units.
    I hope we own the Technical Data Package.
    And why make this Semi-Auto?
    Why not just make it pump action?

    • jcitizen

      They already made a damn good pump action in Vietnam. Search for the China Lake 40mm grenade launcher. It is way lighter too.

  • Steven

    I find it hard to believe a 25mm grenade is worth all the effort and weight. The reports from Afghanistan I read always went something like “the grenade went off over their heads and they ran!” Not there were 6 KIA enemy in the burst radius. I have been inside the burst radius of a 40mm without receiving a scratch. A 25mm is going to be better?

    • HB

      That’s actually the same problem of Korean K-11 weapon… They’re saying it’s a wonder weapon but all they killed during last 10 years with K-11 were many party balloons and very thin plywood targets…. I think K-11’s 5.56mm bullets can kill more enemy than 20mm grenades once it actually going into action!

  • Uniform223

    I wonder what the SAS opinions about the XM25 when they used it in Libya.

  • Rusty S.

    Perfectly good airburst capability is available from an FFV441 HE round fired by a Carl Gustav M3 or M4…

  • nova3930

    Expect even more litigation between ATK and HK now.

  • Nunya Bidniz

    Here’s an idea [based upon the 80/20 rule:] Use rifle-grenades (remember those?) and a calibrated modern laser-rangefinding optical sight to put them where they’re needed every time. 80% of the functionality of the ungodly expen$ive XM25, at 20% of the weight and cost!

    • Blake

      Uh… I don’t think you understand the “Counter Defilade” part of the Counter Defilade Target Engagement weapon. There isn’t any currently fielded weapon in the US arsenal that has the ability to program grenades on the fly for detonation directly above the target. The counter defilade capability is 80% of the point.

      I’m sure something could be developed where a wirelessly connected laser rangefinding optic and launcher could program the round currently in the tube for correct detonation, which is where I bet they look for this capability with this program apparently cancelled.

      • CommonSense23

        The MK47 is capable of airburst.

        • Blake

          …you mean the giant tripod or vehicle mounted M47 Striker? Yeah not exactly what we’re talking about.

      • Um, such a system (and ammunition to boot) is ALREADY on the market. A clip-on gadget that attachs to *existing* grenade launchers, and uses RF to program 40mm programmable grenades… without eliminating the ability to use the old, “dumb” ammo. Heck, the new, programmable ammo can be happily fired through the old “dumb” grenade launchers, because it retains an impact fuze.

    • John

      So… what the French are doing right now?

      • HB

        Just buying rifles from Germany…

    • n0truscotsman

      Something like pike, but in rifle grenade form? not a bad idea.

    • Young Freud

      Rifle grenades? Eff that. Bring back the Rifleman’s Assault Weapon. I bet with modern manufacturing, the thing could be dual-purpose EFP, with point and airburst capabilities, and be dirt cheap to give them two or three to every infantry man.

  • gunsandrockets

    So much for the attempt to salvage something useful from the nutty OICW project, now both the spin offs have failed, the XM25 and the XM9. I feel sorry for any of our allied nations which were seduced by the promise of the OICW, to try their own copy of the concept.

    Now if only the Army would put the danged 5.56mm LSAT into production!

    • Form Factor

      Its not ready. Also the 5.56 is only a comperasion to its brass counterpart and not the slightest aerodynamicly optimized.

      • gunsandrockets

        Rather than spend another 10 years and umpteen millions of dollars “optimizing”, just use the current M855a1 5.56mm bullet in the telescoped case of the LSAT ammo and call it a day.

        5.56mm bullets are optimized enough for minimal weight per round of ammunition, and minimum weight is the greatest benefit the LSAT LMG provides.

        • Form Factor

          …..it has an FF of 1,169 and an BC of 0,151 that is just completly hilarious, and an absolut insane waist of potential.

          My 5.56 Projectile, for the same muzzle energy – has 200% energy downrange, FAR less wind drift, FAR flatter trajectory, FAR higher supersonic range.

          • gunsandrockets

            Even if true, so what? Why waste time delaying introduction of such a fantastic improvement as the LSAT, when in combat it would fire 90% of its ammunition at ranges less than 400 meters?

          • Form Factor

            Yeah be stuck for DECADES with a round that COMPLETLY underperforms for no good reason. Than what can be done at the same weight NOW, and since years!
            Ive got everything on my table, a single simple Folder full of data, nothing magical.

          • Porty1119

            BC of 0.151….?

            Wow.

            That is bad. As in, cast-lead pistol bullet levels of bad.

          • Form Factor

            G7 BC ofcourse, not G1. Still verry verry verry far from its maximum potenital that as said is nothing magical and reachable with ease since years, everything else would be an completly insane waist of potential.

  • Kekistani

    This is really gonna affect my BF4 loadout in support class.

    • Q

      The game has a garbage damage model anyways.

      • Kekistani

        You mean people cant really take 10 rounds from a 25 mm cannon? GTFO. Armor plating dude, pshhh.

  • Warren Ellis

    I’ve heard H&K dragged their heels due to this:
    “H&K dragged their heels and didn’t provide the prototypes to ATK because H&K questioned the legality of troops using airbursting weapons. The US is not signatory to the 1868 St. Petersburg Declaration banning explosive rounds under 400 grams, so it was just H&K being ninnies as usual. A real shame, too, because the XM25 was a very effective weapon.
    Another thing that hamstrung the project was one of the prototypes experiencing a double feed on a shooting range that caused a catastrophic failure. The nose of the preceding round set off the primer of the following round while it was out of battery, the case ruptured, and the receiver exploded in some dude’s face. So, they sent it back for re-engineering, again. This was supposed to be the new round of prototypes, but H&K suddenly grew a conscience.”

    Any of this true regarding H&K?

    • Bert

      Unlikely. HK wasn’t making the ammo, were they? ATK was responsible for that and the sight, I thought. Besides, they would have backed out or never got on board in the first place if it was illegal for them to do so, and this project has been in the works in one form or another for a LONG time. More likely it doesn’t work as intended, and the role imagined never appeared.

      • LCON

        HK did want a issuance of a Clarification on Rules of use of the weapon. Remember they did make the Rifle. The Army refused. and Calamity ensued.

        • Bert

          Yeah…but it’s a BS excuse. Again, they have been working on this thing and it’s predecessor since the early nineties. If they didn’t have a problem with the even smaller 20mm round for the xm29, which was also intended for shooting people with explosives, then they shouldn’t be suddenly upset today. Either the German government is upset with HK over the less reputable arms dealings in the third world and/or the G36 debacle, or they can can’t make it work right or light enough or whatever, and are throwing out excuses.

          • LCON

            it was intended to shoot explosive rounds at targets behind barricades that gives it a special niche that might be legal, but only if a restriction on use is put in place.
            but yeah something happened between the contractors, ATK is left holding the bag now. The only way things could change now is if ATK can buy HK out of the program.

          • Bert

            You keep assuming this is a legitimate grievance. It is not. One does not develop a weapon over the course of three decades for a known purpose to suddenly demand the customer adhere to a treaty they are not signatory to. If there was a reason for HK to be concerned about whether or not this violated the 1868 St. Petersburg declaration or any treaty that followed it, the time to address it would have been at bidding, not 20-30 years later. Or they could have addressed it when it was used in combat seven years ago. If they didn’t have a problem with it in combat, why have a problem now?
            If HK was worried the United States was skirting an international law, then they should have never bid on a contract to build such a gun. They know it doesn’t, we didn’t sign the pertinent treaty, and we don’t need to sign paperwork saying we will use the gun to shoot at people, but not shoot at people. Now I know the next part of this is a German company can’t violate a treaty Germany signed, well then don’t contract to do so, and I doubt it ever did. How can a weapon functionally identical to the first one they contracted to develop violate a law that the first one did not? Why do they need clarification on whether or not these airburst rounds are bullets, but didn’t need such clarification before for the same thing? If they needed clarification before, why does the first clarification, if it happened, not apply to the “mature” technology?
            This is a BS cop-out on the part of HK. They knew the US wouldn’t tangentially agree to adhere to a treaty we are not signatory to, and they want out of the contract. The reason we may never know, but this definitely not a legitimate excuse.

          • LCON

            Actually I think it was HK and ATK getting into a pissing contest over the contract. Eventually the two were going to have a problem. HK was going to need to transfer production to HK USA, And were worried ATK might try to buy them out of the product,

  • Ark

    God damn the whole OICW concept was a waste of time and money.

  • John

    1. China already employs a 20mm grenade launcher system. No reason for them to copy state-of-the-art U.S. weapons, especially with world events expected to heat up.

    2. The 40mm grenade has more room for propellant, explosive and electronics. They’ll probably work on something for that instead, using existing 40mm launchers.

    3. The XM25 was meant to salvage the OICW program. And that was a rifle meant to fight a pre-Afghanistan, pre-Iraq type of war. Among other inventions, the 1913 rail system, the advancement of holographic battle sights, and the use of drone warfare have made the OICW truly obsolete. So there’s no reason to keep it going anymore.

  • Swede

    My guess is the Carl Gustaf M3 is way more capable and a fraction of the cost. Although a bit heavier as a system.

    • Logic

      Heavy, unwieldy, far less ammunition, long multi personal reload. Not the same niche for sure.

  • How much of this thing’s projected capabilities could have been duplicated by using (comparatively dirt cheap) COTS rangefinding gear and developing a handheld unit that could dial a specific range/detonation profile into a programmable warhead for existing 37mm or 40mm rounds, loaded singly into existing launchers? Mount a rangefinder on the side of a grenadier’s rifle so he has the exact target range, give him a unit like a standard inventory scanner that lets him dial in that range and how he wants the round to detonate, transmit it to a round that then gets loaded into an underbarrel launcher with a digital angle of fire indicator to take out a lot of the aiming guesswork, and for the cost of a few extra seconds between shots you’ve saved millions of dollars of development to send a significantly more effective payload downrange.

    • There is ALREADY an OTS equivalent that is SUPERIOR to the XM25. Has been for several years.

      Singapore has been marketing a “clip on” widget (under a pound) that can be attached to just about *any* grenade launcher (worst case, you’ll have to design a bracket — it literally just clips on, like a MILES emitter). They also market a line of programmable 40mm grenades (IIRC, both low velocity 40x46mm and the higher velocity 40x53mm ones used in the MK19 and similar GMGs… of course, the new projos from the 40x46mm rounds could be easily adapted for use on the 40x53mm cases if I am mistaken…).

      The widget programs the warhead of the next round fired using Near Field RF for the detonation time… and the rounds *retain* pyrotechnic impact fuzes in case of “unprogrammed” use or if they hit something early.

      The new rounds function just fine (albeit as impact fuzed, like current standard 40mm grenades are) through older weapons without the widget, and older style non-programmable rounds work just fine through weapons equipped with the widget (although, obviously, they aren’t airburst).

      AND, you get the effect of a 40mm warhead going off — SIGNIFICANTLY larger area of effect than the 25mm grenades the XM25 (remember, volume increases by the CUBE of the increased diameter).

      Want it on the GL for each rifle team? No problem — it clips on neatly to M203 or M320 equipped M4s. Want it on a multishot GL? No problem — it clips on the M32, too. It can be clipped on the MK19s. So, you don’t need new grenades, grenade launchers, AND sights (including the programming feature), and have no backward compatibility with older gear — you buy the new programming widget, put it on your old grenade launchers, and can fire either old or new grenades with ease. Plus, if you inadvertently issue the new programmable grenades to a unit that doesn’t have the widgets yet, well, they’re no worse off than they were with the old style ammo…

      The tiny little grenades of the entire OICW/XM25 program only made sense when the system was intended for general issue throughout the rifle squad — size and weight of the grenades HAD to be minimized, but the system and ammo were STILL too large and heavy for that purpose.

  • kyphe

    This program was dead the day they decided the weapon needed a thick steel receiver to protect the operator from misfires. The weight from that point on was too much and every penny put into this system from that point on was toilet food.

  • CharlesH

    Darn, I really wanted this program to succeed. I love futuristic weapon systems and air-burst weapons are up there with guass rifles for weapons I want to see in service by infantry forces. I probably watch to much sci-fi…..

  • R.D. Armstrong

    HK needs to go ahead and die. That or switch over to strictly hollywood blank firing stuff only

  • Bad Penguin

    It was the victim of incompetent govt and military types running the program and adding capability requirements it wasn’t designed to do. Adds $$$$$$$$$$.