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ATK XM25 25mm Grenade Launcher for Future Infantry. Will it fly?
Defense Review ^ | May 06, 2005 | David Crane

Posted on 05/06/2005 2:58:26 PM PDT by holymoly

ATK XM25 25mm Grenade Launcher for Future Infantry. Will it fly?

Posted on Friday, May 06 @ 12:36:05 PDT by davidc

Soldier Technology and Future Infantry by David Crane

DefenseReview plans to report in detail on the ATK XM25 air-burst assault weapon in an upcoming article. Before we do that, however, we're going to do a little light coverage in this one:

The XM25 is an offshoot of the U.S. Army/JSSAP/Picatinny Arsenal, NJ XM29/OICW. It's no secret that we here at DefRev weren't big fans of this system. The XM29/OICW (Objective Individual Combat Weapon) combined a semi-auto 20mm grenade multiple grenade launcher (MGL)--utilizing high-explosive timed-fuse air-burst grenades--with an underbarrel-mounted 5.56x45mm "kinetic energy weapon" component (a short-barrelled/modified HK G36-type system). There were a lot of problems with that system, including...

excessive size, excessive weight (they couldn't get it below approx. 18 lbs), less-than-optimal ergonomics, excessive cost per unit, lack of lethality of the 20mm timed-fuse air-burst grenades, lack of effectiveness of the underbarrel-mounted assault rifle/subcarbine (because of the abbreviated barrel), and awkward configuration (5.56mm rifle/carbine situated beneath the 20mm grenade launcher). There were even reported problems with the timed-fuse 20mm grenade system. This is unconfirmed/unverified, but the rumor was that the timing system wasn't acceptably reliable.

With the XM25, ATK has increased the size of the grenades from 20mm to 25mm for increased lethality and (wisely) separated the grenade launcher element from the 5.56 subcarbine element, creating a stand-alone semi-auto 25mm multiple grenade launcher (MGL) that just might have solved all of the problems that plagued the XM29/OICW. When I first saw the beheamoth that was the OICW, a number of years ago, I immediately disliked it. One of the first thoughts I had upon viewing it was that the 20mm grenade launcher should be a separate weapon. With the XM25, ATK has done just that--AND simultaneously increased target lethality with the bump-up to 25mm. It's also possible that they've perfected the target acquisition/fire control/timed-fuse air-bursting system, so the system is now combat-reliable.

Basically, the ATK XM25 looks viable, provided that the improved-lethality 25mm grenades actually prove lethal enough on the battlefield, and the targeting system (a.k.a. "target acquisition/fire control system") and timed-fuse air-burst system are acccurate and reliable, respectively. If so, the XM25 could fly. Defense Review will look into it, and report back to our readers.

Here's what ATK (Alliant Techsystems, Inc.) has to say about the XM25 Air-Burst Assault Weapon, on their website):

"The XM25 air-burst assault weapon is a next-generation, semi-automatic weapon system designed for effectiveness against enemies protected by walls, dug into foxholes, or hidden in hard-to-reach places.

The XM25 provides the soldier with a 300 to 500% increase in hit probability to defeat point, area, and defilade targets out to 500 meters. The weapon features revolutionary high-explosive, air-burst ammunition programmed by the weapon's target acquisition/fire control system.

The XM25 integrates ballistics computation in the full-solution Target Acquisition/Fire Control (TA/FC) system. The soldier places the aim point on target and activates the laser rangefinder. The fire control system provides an adjusted aim point. The soldier places the adjusted aim point on target and pulls the trigger. Target information is communicated to the chambered 25mm round. As the round speeds down range, it measures the distance traveled and bursts precisely at the distance preprogrammed.

The XM25 precisely delivers air-bursting munitions in all conditions, including MOUT and complex terrain. It is five times more lethal at the M203 maximum range and continues to provide lethality well beyond the M203's maximum ability. The system is designed for optimum performance at 300 meters but will perform to 500 meters and beyond.

It includes five different types of ammunition:

- Thermobaric

- Flechette

- Training

- High Explosive Air Bursting

- Non-Lethal"

Alliant Techsystems, Inc. (ATK) can be contacted by phone at 952-351-3000, or via email at

TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: bang; boom; experimental; grenade; launcher; miltech; prototype
It is five times more lethal at the M203 maximum range...

M203 40mm Grenade Launcher

Launcher: 3 pounds (1.36 kilograms)
Rifle (M16A2): 8.79 pounds (3.99 kg)
Total (including 30 rounds): 11.79 pounds (5.35 kg)
Bore diameter: 40mm

Maximum effective range:
Area target: 1148.35 feet (350 meters)
Point target: 492.15 feet (150 meters)
Maximum range: 1312.4 feet (400 meters)
Minimum safe range:

Training: 426.53 feet (130 meters)
Combat: 101.71 feet (31 meters)
Unit Replacement Cost: $601

Features: The M203 40mm Grenade Launcher is used while attached to an M16A2 5.56mm rifle. It is a lightweight, compact, breech loading, pump action, single shot launcher. The launcher consists of a hand guard and sight assembly with an adjustable metallic folding, short-range blade sight assembly, and an aluminum receiver assembly which houses the barrel latch, barrel stop and firing mechanism. The launcher is capable of firing a variety of low velocity 40mm ammunition.
The launcher also has a quadrant sight which may be attached to the M16A2 carrying handle and is used when precision is required out to the maximum effective range of the weapon.

Background: The M203 was designed and procured as the replacement for the M79 grenade launcher of the Vietnam era.

(Source: U.S.M.C. Fact Files)

1 posted on 05/06/2005 2:58:26 PM PDT by holymoly
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To: holymoly

Cool weapon!

I hope it works as well as they claim.

2 posted on 05/06/2005 3:05:42 PM PDT by Fractal Trader (Free Republic Energized - - The power of Intelligence on the Internet! Checked by Correkt Spel (TM))
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To: holymoly
Will it fly?

It better, or we're going to need Carl Lewis to get away from the shrapnel!

3 posted on 05/06/2005 3:12:37 PM PDT by IllumiNaughtyByNature (If Islam is a religion of peace, they should fire their P.R. guy!)
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To: holymoly
As the round speeds down range, it measures the distance traveled and bursts precisely at the distance preprogrammed.


4 posted on 05/06/2005 3:19:49 PM PDT by keepingtrack
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To: holymoly

When I was in uniform, in artillery, I would not have minded having the XM25.

The OICW Sabre did look quite bad design wise.
I don't know anyone who could have handled it well under fire.

The XM25 looks alot more manageable, but that's without actually looking at it in person.
Hoping it actually is useful.

5 posted on 05/06/2005 3:21:32 PM PDT by Darksheare (There is a flaw in my surreality, it's totally unrealistic.)
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To: holymoly

Attach it to a helmet mounted remote sight might make it a winner.

6 posted on 05/06/2005 3:22:17 PM PDT by Domangart (4+)
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To: holymoly

I thought the old M-79 was fine!

7 posted on 05/06/2005 3:40:15 PM PDT by Redleg Duke (Don't let Terri's death be in vain!)
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To: Fractal Trader

Yep, hope it is everything we want it to be.

8 posted on 05/06/2005 3:50:29 PM PDT by spetznaz (Nuclear tipped ICBMs: The Ultimate Phallic Symbol.)
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To: spetznaz
I can see issueing one per squad, but trying to turn this magilla into a practical weapon for every grunt is a nightmare waiting to happen.


9 posted on 05/06/2005 3:57:14 PM PDT by Lurker (Remember the Beirut Bombing; 243 dead Marines. The House of Assad and Hezbollah did it..)
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To: holymoly
With the XM25, ATK has increased the size of the grenades from 20mm to 25mm for increased lethality

According to the Fire, Fusion, and Steel weapon generation system, 20mm is really the minimum caliber feasable for explosive munitions - and that only at the higher tech levels, or with direct hits. 25mm is an excellent compromise between small grenade size and munitions effectiveness against soft and lightly armored targets. Funny how a game system appears to have gotten it right.

10 posted on 05/06/2005 4:05:58 PM PDT by lepton ("It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into"--Jonathan Swift)
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To: lepton

Works like a champ in FarCry. ;)

11 posted on 05/06/2005 4:08:17 PM PDT by rpierce (Tagline? I can have a tagline?)
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To: Lurker

I think the right answer would be to make the Grenade SMALLER, say 18.3mm or 12 gauge. Then the soldier could use currently developed shot, slug, baton, bean bag and rock salt rounds as required. A smoothbore grenade of that diameter would be able to penetrate ~10 times the diameter, or 180mm of Rolled Homogeneous steel.

The 40mm grenade is used in an urban setting by targeting just below the window the enemy is using as a firing port. That pushes the whole wall onto him. The Russians use a 30mm round the same way. The 20mm round is intended to shoot through the window, and then has to go boom inside, with all the fancy range finder stuff. Of course the soldier has to lase-range the wall, then stroke the distance measurement up a meter, then hit the open window. A simple one step has not become a 3 step operation.

Problem: What if the guy is shooting through a loophole, through a knocked out brick? The 20mm or 25mm is unlikely to shoot through the hole, and you are back to trying to blow out the wall, with a much smaller warhead.

I hope it works, but am frustrated that the smaller 12 gauge would be much lighter and more maneuverable. I see the grenadier becoming vulnerable, as was the M79 guy in Viet Nam, with no close quarters weapon. That was the problem that the M203 was supposed to fix, giving the guy a M16.

I submit that a 12 gauge with a 5.56mm rifle, both bullpup with downward ejection could be used ambidexterously, with appropriate weight. It could be so much better.

12 posted on 05/06/2005 4:13:30 PM PDT by Donald Meaker
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To: Donald Meaker

I'd like to see a 12 gauge grenade, too. They will never do it because they fear that the civilian black market will allow anybody with the money to get a box. I think it would be a great idea, of course, since I could use them in my Remington 870. Its the same logic behind the civilian 37 mm flare launcher vs. the 40 mm M203.

13 posted on 05/06/2005 4:19:53 PM PDT by 45Auto (Big holes are (almost) always better.)
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To: Fractal Trader

Made in Minnesota too- cool. this'll drive the moonbat
Wellstone-worshipping kooks insane!

14 posted on 05/06/2005 8:55:31 PM PDT by Rakkasan1 (The MRS wanted to go to an expensive place to eat so I took her to the gas station.)
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To: Thud


15 posted on 05/07/2005 7:36:59 AM PDT by Dark Wing
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To: holymoly

I love my M203! ;-)

16 posted on 05/07/2005 7:40:37 AM PDT by mad_as_he$$ (Never corner anything meaner than you. NSDQ)
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