back to article US Army orders more Judge Dredd smartgun ammo

The US Army has assigned an extra $24m of funding to the futuristic XM-25, a high tech personal weapon which can hit and kill an enemy even if he is hiding behind a rock, in a trench or round a corner. The XM-25 in action in Afghanistan. Credit: PEO Soldier Just shoot him, Kowalski, stop waiting for him to hide first The …

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  1. Daedalus Silver badge
    Boffin

    The plot was lost with the "fuel-air bunker buster" item. While you get about twice the yield from fuel-air devices that you can from similar sized HE rounds, since the HE has to carry fuel and oxidiser in the same package, twice not much is still not much. These are small grenades, after all, and don't do much against moderately armoured targets, whatever the explosive is.

    1. laird cummings
      FAIL

      Hardly.

      Did you read your own words..? "...twice the yield..." from the HE round. How is that 'losing the plot?'

      Sounds like an enhancement, to me. Of course you're not going to drop major bunker with a 25mm shell - no one expects the round to do that, either. What they *do* expect is for it to militarily effective. If an HE shell is useful, how would 'twice' as much power be NOT useful?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Siri, show that mother-crusher who's boss"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.

  3. James O'Shea

    err, no...

    Items called "shaped-charge armour piercing warheads" do not exist. Shaped charges are armour-_defeating_ warheads. AP projectiles do their thing by being big, and heavy, and moving fast and punching through armour by sheer force. Examples range from 30-mm depleted uranium bullets, as fired by the A-10's big Gatling gun, to 15" dreadnought main gun rounds, such as may be found at the Imperial War Museum. See <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:15inchgunsatImperialWarMuseumLondon.jpg> for examples of the guns and rounds for them.

    Armour-_defeating_ rounds use chemical, electrical, or nuclear explosions to smash or tear or otherwise penetrate armour. Shaped charges in particular use chemical explosives to convert a metal lining, often copper, into a focused jet of plasma which propagates at hypersonic speeds and does the actual penetrating of the armour. The shaped-charge round itself moves quite slowly, and this tends to keep the recoil down to manageable levels. It also means that quite small weapons can defeat fairly large thicknesses of armour. A weapon which fired a 25-mm AP projectile would not be man-portable, or capable of being fired from the shoulder. See further the 25-mm Bushmaster automatic cannon fitted to, among other things, the American Bradley fighting vehicles. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M242_Bushmaster> Note how much the thing weighs... Captain America couldn't carry that thing into action.

    1. Asiren
      Headmaster

      Let's see...

      After the target has been hit, is there a hole in the armour?

      Is there any part of the projectile beyond the armour?

      Therefore, has the armour been *pierced*?

    2. Andy Farley
      Thumb Down

      Umm no.

      "Shaped charges in particular use chemical explosives to convert a metal lining, often copper, into a focused jet of plasma which propagates at hypersonic speeds and does the actual penetrating of the armour."

      Nope. No plasma. The copper liners are pushed past their elastic limit and deform at very high speed but they don't turn to plasma.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      According to google 'Armour piercing' is the accepted term for any munition designed to defeat armour regardless of the method it uses.

      Warheads that use kinetic energy to penetrate armour are not always big and heavy; long rod penetrators* are meant to be a small as possible to focus all that energy into one point.

      Something like a HESH round could probably be described as armour defeating but not armour piercing.

      *fnarr fnarr.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Not always big but ALWAYS heavy.

        When it comes to kinetic projectiles, MASS matters (as mass has a direct effect on inertia, which in turn contributes to your penetrating force). So even if you don't want your kinetic penetrator to necessarily be big, you DO want it to be DENSE. That's why the penetrator itself (not counting the sabot that lets it fit into the gun barrel) is usually a solid slug of tungsten carbide (tungsten's denser than even lead) or even depleted uranium (about as dense as you can get naturally).

    4. BoldMan
      Coat

      Ah ha! 15 inch Naval guns to fire 15" Navels!

      Yes okay it works better when spoken out loud!

      Thanks to Neddy Seagoon for the original idea.

    5. Battle Stations

      Like it matters !

      You need to get out more, dude !

  4. James O'Brien
    Coat

    Hmm maybe its just me....`

    "Lead manufacturer ATK" But I read that as lead (as in the metal) manufacture. Kinda humorous when you think about the fact that the ammos primary method of a kill is with lead.....

    Ok im out now

    1. Lance 3

      "the ammos primary method of a kill is with lead"

      Ummm, no. The primary method of a kill is not with lead. Not all bullets are lead based and more importantly, you have FMJ's which is what most bullets are these days.

      1. laird cummings
        Terminator

        More importantly...

        These shells will likely contain no lead at all - After all, for most uses, it's *fragmentation* that does the killing - little bits of steel. either notched wire, or pieces of the casing itself.

        1. James O'Brien
          Coat

          Interesting

          I see that a joke isnt all its cracked up to b nowadays.....

          Coat and im gone

      2. lowwall

        FMJ = Full Metal Jacket

        For most FMJs the thing jacketed is a lead core. In fact most is nearly all, because for fully jacketed ammunition where something other than lead comprises the core, the round tends to be named for the material or purpose of the core. Examples: HE (high explosive core), AP (armor piercing core), frangible. Tracer has a partial lead core.

        BTW, there are bullets made of solid bronze or other hard metal. They are known as "solids" and their use is primarily confined to hunts of thick-boned dangerous game.

  5. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Wirelessly detonated

    Hope they have better security than the predator drones

    1. F111F
      Boffin

      Fire and "Forget Him"

      The wireless portion of the sequence is the arming command while it's still in the barrel. The computer tells the ammo to explode after "x" rotations (distance), not "EXPLODE NOW!". That would be silly and require maintaining contact (and exposure for the operator) with the ammo during flight (and during a firefight this would be a BAD THING).

  6. sueme2
    Happy

    bang

    Now we have -- The iGun (tm)

  7. LarsG

    I WANT ONE

    NOW!

  8. Drew V.

    All that fancy cutting-edge hardware makes zero difference when you're fighting determined insurgents who want you out of their country. Sorry, America, they'll still be downing your blackhawks with ancient but dependable Soviet-made RPG-7s.

    1. Naughtyhorse

      I agree

      Now our boys have even less places to be to avoid the obligatory blue-on-blues that are part of any alliance with the merkins

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Like this?

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/jul/11/military.afghanistan

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Another reason for this gun.

          It's a little easier for the GroPos to be able to distinguish the friendlies from the enemies since they likely were the first to encounter the enemies and usually have a better idea of their location, not like the chopper crews who fly into the scene later on and have to look from a greater distance.

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Thing is...

      You have to be somewhere to FIRE the thing. And once your location's pinned down, this thing could come in handy. Hidden inside a building? Airburst through the window. Down in a trench? Airburst overhead. Behind rocks? Airburst behind them. The phrase "you can't hide" seems to be the driving force behind this weapon design.

    3. laird cummings
      Terminator

      Utterly missed the point

      This is nothing to do, in any way, shape, or form, with what the enemy does to us - only what we can do to *them.* We're already killing them in job lots - this means merely that it takes fewer shots to do the job, and will likely reduce - somewhat - the numbers of casualties we take in the process. Even REALLY angry guerillas respond predictably to being suddenly made dead.

  9. Jon B
    Terminator

    Custom ammunition?

    Sounds just like those fancy coffee machines that make you buy proprietery coffee sachets that only fit that brand. The manufacturer of this gun are onto a winner here - doing the HP Printer method of making most money on the cunsumables.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When the Chinese call in the bailiffs...

    ... they'll own the IP on all these fancy toys.

  11. Shagbag

    Double Edged

    How long before Arms Dealers get their hands on these and start using them against our boys? I hope the answer is 'never' or at least after they've evacuated the 'stans.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Probably be a while.

      There aren't that many, and it uses unique ammo. It's not like you can hop down to a local ammo dump and acquire stuff that'll work in this thing. Much like Confederate soldiers getting their hands on the odd Union gun during the Civil War. Only one problem—Union guns had a different chamber and Confederate ammo wouldn't fit.

      1. Morg

        Depends ...

        TerrorTourists like afghans, iraqi and such will never have anything like a decent weapon, mostly due to economical reasons.

        Top-notch private security companies or mafia on the other hand, tend to get their hands on the stuff way before random privates - who will still be using an M16 for another decade (hell, why give them a gun that costs more than their life - from an employer perspective that is ...).

  12. Andy Farley

    Very slightly better

    Than a 2 inch mortar for a thousand times the cost.

    Sounds about right.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Mortars...

      ...aren't nearly as precise as the XM-25's rounds. And their very nature makes them rather difficult to get the range right, especially if the situation calls for a one-shot hit. The XM-25 can also be reliable shot at low angles, whereas mortars tend to be lobbed, making them less than ideal for urban combat.

    2. laird cummings
      Terminator

      Again, point missed.

      Seriously, when was the last time ANYONE used a mortar as a precision tool? The whole point of the XM-25 is to get a reliable, repeatable, ACCURATE shot immediately and under any circumstances, instead of wating for the mortar lads (slogging along in the background) to set up, lay in, drop a few spotting rounds (in process maybe killing folks you don't necessarily want dead) before discovering that the emey is under hard overhead cover.

  13. tmTM

    The obvious advantage

    The US is moving from firing the 5.56x45mm NATO to having each soldier wondering around spraying the place with 25mm cannon rounds.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Give them credit.

      The Army's not THAT dumb, and they understand the constraints of budget (thus why modern M-16s can't fire more than a three-shot burst at a time--to conserve ammo). In its current setup, the XM-25 is a SQUAD weapon, not a soldier weapon. Much like having a heavy machine gunner in the squad, now (or instead) you have a specialist gunner wielding this weapon to handle tactical situations.

      1. John 62

        3 shot burst

        isn't the 3 shot burst for accuracy and lowering recoil fatigue as well as ammo conservation?

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Perhaps.

          But they are likely secondary to the issue of the cost of ammo. And they had a good reference point. After a number of "spray and pray" issues in Vietnam, one of the first things modified in the transition from M-16 to M-16A2 was to remove full auto.

  14. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Down

    Sounds about as pleasant

    as cluster bombs. Or white phosphorus. How long before one is fired into a room suspected of holding a gang of militants, only to find out a school of children were hiding from the fighting?

    As with any weapon, as soon as undesirables (or whoever fits your definition of undesirables, and certain US and Israeli troops fit mine) get hold of them, they can be used for very bad things indeed.

    Any development in weaponry that encourages non-lethal or highly-targeted fighting should be lauded. This is most definitely not.

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