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.

    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 [email protected]


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