Weapons – Maneuver Conference 2013

Posted on: November 3rd, 2013 by Will Rodriguez 16 Comments
Extended Area Pro Survivability (EAPS), Lockheed

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. 

EAPS Radar & Launcher

EAPS Radar & Launcher


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.

Airtronic RPG-7s Photo by SoldierSystemsDaily

Airtronic RPG-7’s Photo by SoldierSystemsDaily

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. 

XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement (CDTE) System

XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement (CDTE) System

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: , , ,
Be Respectful, Candid and Pertinent. No Posers, No Trolls…
  • Ed Swaner

    Great info, Will.  I’m surprised the military hasn’t adopted the RPG already considering how successful the opposition has been with them.  Cheap and plentiful.

  • LauraKinCA

    Ed Swaner  I love the Carl Gustav, but the price diff… you can throw a lot of fire power down range with that RPG, and cheaper. We’ll see if it is effective.

  • clluelo

    LauraKinCA Ed Swaner  Huge price Diff. I hope it tests well !

  • Ed Swaner I’m not surprised we haven’t adopted the RPG-7.  The Germans could have easily copied the T34. DUH!!!
    On the other hand, we make some kick ass weapons ourselves.

  • BSchroe

    Interesting  weapon evolvement. The RPG has been around for a long time and still used a great deal from my recent reading.Versatile weapon system .
    The XM25 is interesting weapon too. Tested in combat as well . A heap of potential I think.

  • travisarnold1

    Ive never understood why the Army has never adopted the Mk153 SMAW, the Marines have had excellent results with it.

  • travisarnold1LOL, I’ve asked myself the same questions about why the Corps didn’t adopt the Carl Gustav which was fielded before the SMAW.

    Fires more types of munitions, twice the range, 3lb heavier (SOF version is 2lbs lighter), shorter when loaded .

  • Ullr

    “…the top three coolest, most relevant and high tech weapons…”
    What, no love for the giant 2.5″ Warrior Chip challenge coin?  Can you imagine getting beaned in the head with one of those?  Great backup in case the M25 ammo runs out.

  • Ullr   Great company.  Would like to have some “GRUNTSandCo” poker chip type coins in the future.
    A weapon?  Not so much but funny none-the-less.

  • 5000area375

    The thing I like most about the idea of adopting the RPG 7 is we can use the enemies stuff if we run out of ammo. If your in a fight like Mogedishu and resuply is going to be exceptionally dificult or the fight I was in with the republican guard commando brigade. We were cut off by the muddy MSR and if we needed resuply we would have been screwed. Lucky for us they didn’t have the guts to put up a legit fight. The next morning there were RPG rockets every place that could have wiped our unit or made the day in the fight by resupllying our guys. When I mean the rockets were everywhere I mean they were like the occupy people responding to a free Doritos and pot line.

  • LauraKinCA

    5000area375   lol.. descriptive as always 🙂  Question for you or Will. Are RPG-7s the same as what the enemy are using? The launchers look different. Are the rounds diff too or would our troops be able to use captured rounds?

  • 5000area375

    It is the same weapon just upgraded and we can use their ammo. 🙂

  • LauraKinCA

    5000area375  Even better reason to like this development. Thanks!

  • LauraKinCA 5000area375 The launchers are slightly different (grips, added rails, one version is lighter).  They can fire enemy ammo 🙂

  • YankeePapa

    …As for the Punisher…  I trust no plans to equip our gallant allies the Afghans with these?

  • YankeePapa  No, we’re safe.  the fewer than a dozen that havebeen made are under lock and key and the money to put these in production has yet to happen…