ATK, a Minneapolis-based aerospace, defense, and commercial products company was awarded a $65.8-million “engineering and manufacturing development” contract from the U.S. Army's Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier for its XM25, Individual Semi-Automatic Airburst System. It’s 30-month contract covering continuing design, integration, production, and testing of full-up systems that will determine the weapon's final design meets performance requirements and is production-ready prior to fielding.
The XM25 is a rifle designed to fire a 25-mm “airbursting” round that is programmed by the weapon's integrated target acquisition and fire-control system to detonate directly above an intended target. It’s a system that allows soldiers to engage targets quickly and accurately by displaying an adjusted aim point based on range, environmental factors, and user inputs.
ATK is the prime contractor and systems integrator for the XM25 program, working at its Advanced Weapons Division in Plymouth, Minn. Program partners include Heckler & Koch and L-3 Brashear.
ATK explained that the weapon's target acquisition and fire control integrates a thermal capability with direct-view optics, laser rangefinder, compass, fuse-setter, ballistic computer, laser pointer and illuminator. These features make it possible for the weapon to be fired in any circumstances, day or night, in all weather conditions.
Since last November the U.S. Army has been conducting a “forward operational assessment” in Afghanistan with prototypes of the XM25 prototype weapons. The Army's Project Manager Soldier Weapons conducted new equipment training with select units and is monitoring the XM25's use and performance. U.S. Army patrol units carry the prototype weapons, and soldiers are equipped with them in various combat outposts, “in areas that are experiencing high levels of enemy activity,” according to ATK.
The manufacturer said feedback from soldiers will assist future decisions regarding budget, tactics, basis of issue, and improvements sought for the field version of the weapon.
"The XM25 provides the soldier on the ground a precision weapon to quickly and accurately engage targets behind cover or exposed targets, at ranges and accuracies not seen in today's small arms," stated Bruce DeWitt, vice president and general manager of ATK's Advanced Weapons Division. "A soldier using basic rifle marksmanship skills can effectively engage targets in less than five seconds while also reducing the chances for collateral damage."