So, it's a hand-held flak unit for ground targets?
A radical Judge Dredd style computer smart-rifle able to strike at enemies hiding around corners is to be issued to US special forces units in Afghanistan, according to reports. The weapon in question is of course our old friend the XM-25, long under development by the US Army's weapons boffins. The main idea of the XM-25 is …
The weapon in insurgent hands is most likely PK (leftovers from war with USSR) or PKM (later imports). That does 1500m. The proper way to counter it is a similar class machine gun, or sniper fire, not a Dredd-style rifle. With its 750m range it will be outclassed every time.
The PK may have sights that will ramp up to 1500m but that's for harrassing fire at best, without optics it's doubtful you'd do anything more than scare people at that range on the bipod. You'd need to put it on a tripod and have it locked to a pre-determined fireline for any chance of accuracy at that range.
Then there's the question of eyesight. One of the problems the Afghan National Army has is that many members, even from the urban areas, simply do not get a good diet and so either suffer from eye conditions or have poor eyesight. One of the things their US instructors are doing is trying to get them as early as possible to start taking vitamin tablets and giving them eyetests and glasses or corrective eye surgery. A BATT study in Sierra Leone found most of the locals couldn't even see a man at 300m, let alone shoot straight enough to hit him with an AK that had often seen better days. The Sierra Leonans compensated as many of the Taliban do - they simply kept their AKs on auto and sprayed off a whole mag, often never hitting a thing! The Taliban don't like getting close to the Allied troops were the Taliban can actually shoot effectively enough to get hits because that is also the range the much better trained Allies can return very accurate fire, they are instead using long-range machinegun fire and hit-and-run tactics. Hence the need to quickly bring down explosive fire before they escape.
A 750m range is probably good enough for most engagements, though I do wonder how well the computer will stand up to being hauled around the hills by the average grunt. At least the old M203 was attached to a rifle, which meant the grunt could protect himself at shorter ranges. How do you use the XM-25 if the Taliban is within 5m, like if they are clearing rooms in a house, without killing or wounding your colleagues? Do you leave your XM-25 gunner twiddling his thumbs outside?
You get out to a range and see what a man sized target 750m away look like.
Basically a tiny dot on the horizon. I can just about hit a man sized target at 300m without a telescopic sight ( I'm not bad but no marksman), at 750 you need a very good sight, no wind, and a very very very good marksman to hit any thing at all. At 1500m? Forget it.
Of course there are exceptions - but these are untrained Taliban or similar we are talking about.
You need to meet some of the good ol' boys from Texas who grew up having to shoot well to put food on the table. Taking out a deer at 800 yards with an open sight is common. The younger generation can still put a bullet in the head of a deer at 400 yards while still sitting in their pickup truck.
Or read some of the stories from WW I about the American Units that had recruited from the backwoods regions.
It seems like every military generation thinks that soldiers only have to shoot at point blank range.
For those who are wondering why you would shoot from the cab of a pickup truck. It muffles the sound so the game warden has trouble figuring out if it was a gun shot and what the direction it was.
A hunting rifle doesn't = an assault rifle. I'd like to see one of your good ol' boys use a field worn AK47 with surplus ammo and hit a deer at 800 yards with open sights.
I could see this gun used in urban warfare, if you need to take something out in the open however I think a marksman with a rifle is the best option.
The problem is, not every soldier is a sniper. The reason Napoleonic armies used mass volley fire, and more modern armies use short range assault rifles is because the average soldier is assumed to be incapable of hitting a barn door, so in both cases, plenty of bullets fly in the vague direction of the enemy, hopefully hitting him.
Sure, they are trained, but not all to sniper level. Besides, most snipers operate from a hidden position, not from a crater while trying not to be killed by machine gun fire.
A decent high caliber machine gun can reach 1000m very easily and accurately. Someone with lots of experience (yes the Taliban have lots of this thanks to the Soviets and the post-Soviet civil war) can also rain some very accurate fire at this range. A whisper on the grapevine informs me that a Canadian managed to get a confirmed kill at 1600m using his 0.5cal machine gun. The Taliban are fond of using a huge, scary machine gun of Soviet origin (I forget the name) which they mount on the back of a pickup and can fire an insanely large caliber capable of punching holes in armoured vehicles. That could probably take someone out at 3 miles away if it hits!
The XM-25 is not going to compete with these weapons nor is it designed to. It will however be very useful in urban combat where the nasties are shooting out of windows. And yes, if badly used it will kill lots of civilians. It is however, a less damaging option when compared to airstrikes, grenade launchers or a shoulder launched rocket. Unlikely to be any good for short range room clearance unless they are giving it some kind of shotgun round?
The Canadian reference is to a soldier armed with a .50 cal sniper rifle, not a machine gun.
As to shooting and ranges.. Check out Palma matches. They use a peep site out to 1000yrds.
However they also have a spotting scope and of course no one is shooting back at them.
The rifles are also match grade.
At long range engagements, you have two types of tactics. 1) Harassing fire, aka 'spray and pray' 2) Sniping with a heavy caliber rifle. (.338 Lapua or larger)
The interesting thing about the XM-25 is that as a 25mm 'rifle', you have a heavier gauge weapon for a squad. You're able to carry more rounds and have a greater range than the 40mm grenade rounds. So when you enter a situation where you're receiving fire from a fortified location, you have the ability respond and take out the enemy. That's the point.
A tank can fire a shell through a window from a long distance and that will do a far better job of killing enemies taking cover indoors.
Likewise if you aim the tank's crosshairs at the corner of a building it will quickly remove the said obsticle so snipers can have a direct line of fire - if the shell hasn't also taken the enemy out at the same time.
Job done. :-)
A tank is about the worst possible thing you want to bring into any urban environment. There sitting ducks with bugger all mobility, often unable to rotate their turret enough to actually point at what they want to (due to urban obstacles - houses, etc.). And with the prevalence of MANPADS and even your basic grenades in Afghanistan, any tank that enters an urban environment is pretty much asking to wind up a charred wreck within 30minutes...
There's an enemy in a room in the city and you propose shelling with tanks? That's gonna help with the charm offensive, no, those piles of bodies under rubble of collapsed houses?
The idea of sharp shooting is to be extremely cheap and focused, so no lobbing of large things making lots of damage and untold collateral damage, i.e., toldlers without limbs and mothers without lifes and those things that tend to come up on tv in the real world.
Some repetition and spelling out may help, I hoped.
Heckler & Koch have had this capability for more then ten years...
Oh just read page 2 it actually says that in the article :D
If I recall correctly the bullet counts the number of rotations it makes and thereby "knows" the distance it has traveled. This distance has been programmed into the bullet by making use of the laser scope to measure the distance. Pretty cleaver tech.
But this is much more like a Space Marine Bolt Gun than Judge Dredds.
A bullet that detonates moments after impact: Bolt gun.
Multiple round types: Bolt gun.
Used for killing aliens and heretics: Bolt gun.
Used by the elite fighting force of an autocratic dictatorship to put down dissenters: Bolt gun
I don't think so. When the smart bullet explodes, say 1 m beyond the corner or just above the trench, the shrapnel will happily continue their path mainly along the line of flight of the bullet, spreading out in a cone, centered around that flight path. No way it is going to halt its forward momentum and exclusively rain down on the unsuspecting enemy. The XM-25 is already 20 years in development and still they did not find a way to set aside basic laws of physics? Sheesh. Did anybody perhaps think of making an explosive bullet with a delayed contact fuse? Ask your basic artillery-man, we got that stuff for ages already. And to hit someone in a trench you need high angle fire. Our great-grandfathers in the Great War knew that already.
this does sound rather too much like an anti-personnel mine- designed to injure rather than kill outright. If the bullet went _into_ the enemy and exploded then that's excellent- you get a quick kill and with your insides messed up like that you're not going to cling to life in a wheelchair.
But blowing up in mid-air, launching shrapnel into them from a short distance? That sounds like it's got a lot of scope to shoot to the sides- hitting the hostage they're holding or the small child they're protecting. A long-range shotgun rather than a proper rifle.
Also, Afghanistan has approximately 50,000 US troops. At £25,000 a pop you're talking $1.25Bn to roll this weapon out to just the US troops.
And I'm not the world's greatest with weapons costs, but isn't £25k rather a lot more than most other guns? I mean okay it's impressive, but it doesn't seem like £25,000 worth of gun. $25k of parts in the development model perhaps, but if that's the production cost then wouldn't it make more sense to spend that billion dollars on, say, a fleet of UAVs to increase the range the enemy have to keep to stay out of sight?
Wanna know what's going to happen with it? It will be broken a lot. The über rifle is going to be a tad less useful than the Isn't-it-swell-Mattie-Mattel M16 when that thing gets dirty.
.50 cal machineguns have been used to "duel" each other at ranges of a mile. How do you know where your bullets are going? Tracers and binoculars! And yes, it is a problem for the guys downrange because you are sending a good belt of ammo marked "to whom it may concern."
I agree the test of the system is how well it stands up to being dragged around in the field. Mind you, a mate did remind me that similar programmable ballistic computers have been around since the '80s so they should be reasonably robust by now.
But .50 MGs do not get taken out on patrols, they are very much semi-static weapons used in defensive positions. The gun Desk Jockey is probably thinking of is the DShK, a common sight as a commander's gun on most Soviet tanks and roughly equivalent to the old Browning M2. The only problem is the DShK is not exactly easily portable - the gun alone weighs about 75Lb and with the usual wheeled mount we're getting on for 350Lb before you even consider the wieght of ammo! Not something you want to be dragging around the hills or making a quick escape, which is why the Taliban put them in pick-up trucks.
The weight of such traditional long-range weapons is why there has been the development of lighter .50 sniper rifles, though even weapons like the Barret M107 are 30Lbs before you consider optics, ammo, and the inconvenience of losing two men in your squad to a sniper team. What is quickly forgotten is that the whole XM-25 project was kicked off by reports of how poor US Army shooting was with the old M16A1. The M16A2 with it's heavier barrel and some better training seem to have helped a lot, and having rifles such as the M16A4 with optics really makes a difference not just to shooting but also to acquiring targets in the first place. The problem was these were heavier than the old M16A1 which led to calls for the soldiers getting the lighter M4 carbine - which is actually a step backwards if range is the problem. I suppose the answer will have to be to give up the idea of one standard rifle and have fireteams with a mix of M4s, M16A4s, M249s and at least one dedicated marksmen/sniper team per squad. With maybe one XM-25, just in case.
Perhaps you've not heard of Corporal Harrison who took out 2 Taliban on a machine gun post with his L115A3 british made sniper rifle at a range of 1.54 miles - with only 2 shots.
The gun is rated at 1100m+ for first shot kill and the ammo costs the same as a pint of beer.
As it weighs only 6.8kg I suspect its a lot more practical for rapid deployment
Yes, you can hit at that range if you are an accomplished sniper, but ONLY if the winds are not shifty and strong, and of course if your target isn't moving too fast. Great when it works, and worthy of a pint for the sniper, but if you are defending against massed enemy attack at range you may need something that you can deploy in larger quantity and is guided. This weapon looks like a nice option.
Whenever someone tells tale of great sniper shots, I always want to ask - but how many rounds did he MISS at that range?
Mine's the one with the RPA Quadlock slung across the back...
CountZero: before going on about a physics fail, you might want to consider the shape of the fragment cloud of a grenade detonating in all directions at 2000 feet per second while moving forward at a few hundred feet per second. Going to look like a bit like an egg, with the 'pointy end' along the axis of travel.
Not very much like a cone, in other words.
Fail for physics fail fail.
Laser guided 60mm patmor (patrol mortar) was developed back in the 80's here over the pond. Sure, the standard 60mm patmor was heavy to cart around (tube, base plate and rounds)... but the assault rifle of today is only really effective at up to 400m or so. The good old 40mm is also pretty useless at longer ranges.
If the engagements happens at 700m or more on average, I would have the platoon pack more LMG's and make liberal use of the old 60mm. And with laser guidance... that will have pin point accuracy to deal with the attackers.
Not just the Yanks. In the UK we had a program called Merlin for an anti-armour weapon that could be launched from 5km away by L16 81mm mortar, that would seek out armour in the target area by millimetric radar. I don't think it ever made it into production, but some genius suggested something similar for the 51mm mortar that is still lugged around at the platoon level. The PTB (Powers That Be, aka The Brass) didn't think much of the idea, said the 51mm round didn't have enough range. So the boffins went away and made a two-stage 51mm round, with a small charge to launch it out of the tube and a rocket to send it up to 3000m from where it could steer down onto the target, guided by laser or a Maverick-style TV monitor. The new 51mm round was almost as heavy as the normal 81mm round, but the 51mm mortar was unchanged so still much more portable than the 81mm version. However, the PTB's weren't interested, as there wasn't enough space in the warhead for a shaped charge large enough to punch through the turret armour of a T-80 tank. The problem was they were completely fixated with the old NATO scenario of facing a Soviet tank invasion across the German plains, who would needed an infantry-portable precision weapon that delivered a grenade-sized fragmentation warhead out to only 2km?
So, now we're in a different war scenario, spending millions on looking for a lightweight solution that can hit MG nests quickly at medium ranges....
... that boffins spend huge swathes of cash developing killing machines, instead of spending huge swathes of cash fixing the planet, researching alternative fuels, water desalination, flood defenses, farming techniques.
To geeks who think this is a cool 'gadget', perhaps you'd like to visit a field hospital sometime.
How about a trip to Afghanistan, eh? Watch your buddies get shot to pieces. Maybe see some kids as the victims of this particular weapon? Cool huh?
Sickening. Just shows how truly fucked up this world is.
> To geeks who think this is a cool 'gadget'
You know, I think the "guys on the ground" who are getting "machinegunned" by the "taliban" might think this is a "cool" "gadget" "too". You should pay a visit to a hospital where a few of them have ended up, and tell em how selfish they're being.
But thank you for your patronage, dragging us poor old nerds out of our ivory towers. Gosh, we'd never understand what the real world was like without folks like you. You should tell more folks that war is bad, mmkay, and I'm sure it'll be stopped right away!
You've been playing too much "Battlefield 2142". To my knowledge, there is no EMP weapon available at present that is not nuclear, especially to people like the Taliban.
If they had nukes, I'm sure that they would not be using them to disable american technology on the battlefield. Much richer pickings in Pakistan or India, and can you imagine what one would do in New York or Washington?
A MANPAD (MAN-Portable Air Defense) is sod all use against a tank ;)
The Lawgiver couldn't explode a bullet at a pre-set range. It was a Sov beam-weapon that could pass through solid matter and explode at a manually-selected range in the story 'War' when Dredd was running Luna-1 (Luna City? - can't remember) [Prog 51]. It was defeated by running like buggery towards the enemy, the enemy not able to set the correct range quick enough, and giving them the old 'standard execution' round.
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