Weapons - The XM-25 rifle has programmable bullets that explode automatically at a set distance

by | May 13, 2010 11:00 AM ET

If you are in a field with your enemy and you can see him, chances are you can hit him with a bullet. But what if the enemy is hiding behind a hill, or crouched in a trench, or protected by a brick wall? Then it is a lot harder - nearly impossible sometimes - to get to the target with a rifle or machine gun. You could lob a grenade, but that only works up to a certain distance.

What a soldier needs in these situations is an explosive bullet that knows exactly when to explode. The bullet is essentially a small grenade with a very precisely timed fuse - it explodes exactly where the soldier intends.

That is the idea behind the XM-25 - a new $25,000 rifle that you can see in this video:

Longer version

"The XM-25 takes away the enemy's ability to hide behind cover."

This is not the first gun with grenade-like bullets. As seen in the following video, the AA-12 automatic shotgun can fire small grenades (jump to the 2:00 point to see the bullets):

The AA-12's grenades explode on impact however - they are not programmable.

There is also the M-32 grenade launcher, which shoots larger (40mm vs. 25mm for the XM-25) grenades:

The advantage of the M-32 (besides the larger grenades) is that the Mercury rounds can go half a mile (800 meters)

See also:

U.S. Special Forces Set to Carry XM-25 Laser-Guided Smart-Bullet Weapon into Battle

The XM-25 resembles a highly sophisticated grenade launcher that fires laser-guided smart rounds. The laser gauges a distance to target and allows the warfighter to set where the round will detonate, adding or subtracting increments of 3 meters from the laser-spotted point. Then the scope tells a microchip inside the round how far it should travel before exploding.

XM-25 “Smart” Grenade Launcher heading to Afghanistan

The XM-25, which fires a 25mm airbursting, high-explosive round, packs a whole lot of smarts to go with its punch. With the click of a button, a laser rangefinder quickly determines how far away the target is, and that distance gets displayed in the weapons optics, along with crosshairs already adjusted for factors such as temperature and air pressure. The built-in target acquisition/fire control capabilities also program the relevant data into the sensor- and microchip-equipped ammo.

See also:

- How Grenades Work

- How Rocket-Propelled Grenades Work

- Apache Hellfire Missiles

[[[Jump to previous weapon - Prompt Global Strike (PGS) – the weapon with the ability to hit any target anywhere on earth in one hour]]]

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