After years of development, the U.S. Army has unleashed a new weapon in Afghanistan — the XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement System, a high-tech rifle that can be programmed so that its 25-mm. ammunition detonates either in front of or behind a target, meaning it can be fired just above a wall before it explodes and kills the enemy.
It also has a range of roughly 2,300 feet — nearly the length of eight football fields — making it possible to fire at targets well past the range of the rifles and carbines that most soldiers carry today.
The first XM25s were distributed to combat units in Afghanistan this month. The 12-pound, 29-inch system, which was designed by Minnesota’s Alliant Techsystems, costs up to $35,000 per unit and, while highly sophisticated, is so easy to use that soldiers become proficient within minutes.
The entire process from aiming to direct hit lasts less than 10 seconds, compared to 10 minutes or longer for traditional mortar fire.
The Army plans to purchase at least 12,500 XM25 systems beginning next year — enough for one system in each infantry squad and Special Forces team.
The military isn’t overly concerned that the weapon might be captured by the enemy, because they would be unable to obtain its highly specialized ammunition, batteries and other components.