Well here’s the final installment of my coverage of the maneuver conference. I selected the top three coolest, most relevant and high tech weapons I saw though there were plenty of honorable mentions if one has questions just ask. Here are my selections.
The most impressive system I saw was the Extended Area Pro Survivability (EAPS) by Lockheed. It’s an American version of Israel’s Iron Dome system. The EAPS is a point defense system designed to shoot down incoming projectiles and artillery. Not designed to shoot down a Scud but will defeat mortars, enemy artillery and smaller artillery rockets. The picture above features remnants of an engaged mortar shell. It features a semi active seeker, 4-5km range with a booster version (larger than the one pictured) with a 12-15km range. There are 36 rnds/box and multiple boxes can be connected to the boxy radar system. The missile uses a kinetic kill warhead that slams into the target at mach two.
The system can be transported by HMMWV and seems perfect for base defense. The Army hasn’t adopted but has a keen interest in this capability.
The Army is actually interested and testing US made RPG-7’s! These systems made by Airtronic fire existing ammo. You’ll notice the rails for optics/accessories and an M4 style grip. The longer of the two is 13.9lbs. and around $2.1k. The shorter one is 7.7lbs. and around $8k (SOCOM has expressed interest). Both are a steal vs. the $40k a piece Carl Gustav.
The Army is looking to type classify the XM25 as the M25 and go into low rate production late next year.
The XM25 is a “smart” grenade launcher that fires a 25mm shell twice the range of the M203 against area targets and four times the range against point targets (700m). An air detonation allows for the grenade to explode over the target defeating frontal cover. This is accomplished by coupling a ballistic computer, laser rangefinder and programmable round. The gunner “lazes” a target. The computer positions the reticle to achieve the correct elevation. At the press of a button the gunner selects a point, air or slightly delayed detonation and fires.
The system was withdrawn from Afghanistan testing in an overabundance of caution after a double feed caused a primer to detonate (but not the warhead whose safeties engaged). The weapon was damaged and the firer suffered superficial burns. This incident along with sequestration fever was enough for the Senate to withdraw funding in June cancelling a FY2014 purchase. The Army isn’t giving up and is requesting low rate production about 1,100 systems and ammo next year.
Troops nicknamed the XM25 “The Punisher” as it received glowing reports from combat testing. Across nine engagements and 55 rounds fired in anger it consistently caused the Taliban to break contact and withdraw. As evidence of its popularity at the end of the testing period units requested they keep the weapon until all rounds had been fired.
The XM25 weighs about 14lbs loaded with a six round magazine. In comparison, a SAW with 200round ammo box weighs 22lbs and a loaded M203 weighs about 12lbs. With low rate production as opposed to current hand tooling the cost should drop to about $35k each and $55 per round. MAJ Shawn Murray, Soldier Weapons assistant product manager at PEO Soldier said, “Our studies indicate that the XM-25 with HEAB (High Explosive Air Burst is 300 percent more effective at incapacitating the enemy than current weapons at the squad level.”
BOI (Basis of Issue) being discussed is one M25 per rifle squad. The system will be fielded to conventional Infantry and SOCOM units.
Well short of any questions that’s my coverage of Ft. Benning’s 2013 Maneuver Conference. Hope you enjoyed it.Tags: EAPS, Maneuver Conference, RPG-7, XM-25