XM25 prototypes

ATK Delivers First XM25 Prototypes to U.S. Army for Testing and Evaluation

xm25pic.jpgThis seems to be the first new news on this weapon for quite some time. I did a write-up (based on a Strategy Page post, actually) back in February of 2004. Check it out for the basics on this smart grenade launcher that was developed from part of the XM29 OICW.

The XM8, developed from the other part of the XM29, is sort of like this baby’s big brother. But the little guy has a good chance of showing up his sibling in the end. While the XM8 hopes to become the new main assault rifle, it’s really just a new generation of an existing idea. The XM25 could usher in a whole new era of infantry weapons.

The XM25 fires a High Explosive (HE), air bursting 25mm round capable of defeating an enemy behind a wall, inside a building or in a foxhole. The advanced design allows the operator to program the round so that it flies to the target and detonates at a precise point in the air. It does not require impact to detonate.

While the trusted M203 has served well for a long time, this new grenade launcher is cutting edge:

The revolutionary fire control system for the XM25 employs an advanced laser rangefinder that transmits information to the chambered 25mm round. As the round flies downrange to the target, it precisely measures the distance traveled and detonates at exactly the right moment to deliver maximum effectiveness. The XM25 increases the warfighter’s probability of hit-to-kill performance by up to 500 percent over existing weapons. It also extends the effective range of the soldier’s individual weapon to more than 500 meters.

Six prototypes have been delivered to the Army for testing. If all goes according to plan, the XM8 could enter production in 2008.


  1. Israeli company Refaim is developing a similar system for it’s rifle launched grenades. Here’s hoping that it can be adapted for the xm-8 or FN SCAR

  2. Here’s hoping the military will actually FIELD this system; allowing our troops to maintain their cutting edge. Instead of years and years of talking it to death, and forming committees and studying it to death. I’ve said for years the goal of 800+ meters for the original 20mm system (in the OICW/M29) was unrealistic, and a big stumbling block to FIELDING the weapon. Pleasing to see they’ve notched back the range expectations for this weapon; reducing some weight and recoil issues. Making it more likely this weapon will actually end up in the HANDS OF OUR TROOPS, where it will do some good. OUCH!!!……….fell off my soap box and skinned my shin again! LOL!

  3. I’ll second the fielding statement. It amazes me that we manaaged to fight WWII in only 4 years. The army has been playing around with this weapon for the past 8 years and still can’t manage to get it into the hands of our soldiers. Now if someone was smart, they would add a couple of metal storm 9mm barrels to the underside of the weapon. That would give the solder an emergy self protection capability.

  4. Yeah, was going to comment also on the lack of self defence for the soldier- which was the reason for the m-203. But.. I guess the operator could always keep a magazine of flechette handy :) Then I guess it turns into one mean shotgun, but I have little idea of how large a magazine capacity it has? Also, from sight of the weapon it is hard to tell, but can it be single loaded aswell?

  5. I’m thinking the Barrett XM109, which is essentially an XM107 with a 25mmm barrel instead of a .50 BMG (easily swapped by field maintenance) is a better platform for the airburst round. While I don’t think the XM8 firing a 5.56mm round is worth the conversion cost; the airburst round might be the biggest advancement in shoulder-fired weapons this century, or at least half-century. I wonder how accurate the air fusing system is. If anyone reading this doesn’t know how it determines when and where to explode, see a link in an A-C-E post today.

  6. I’m pretty sure that a grenadier would carry both an individual weapon and the XM25.

  7. Putting a conventional firearm barrel under the grenade launcher is what got the predecesor to this weapon, the OICW, into trouble in the first place. The OICW had a detachable short barrel 5.56 rifle underneath the grenade launcher. The weapon wound up being too heavy and bulky, even with the lighter 20mm rounds. If they want a self protection capability they can carry a conventional pistol. I wonder what the standard ammo loadout will be. At about half a pound each 40 grenades will weigh over 20 lbs, plus an 18lb weapon.

  8. once again,i find myself the sobering voice of clarity,must speak out.not to dig on the xm-25,BUT,as wonderfull as the new tech is,insofar as increasing soldier capability at hitting targets in defilade go’s,what happens to said target after the thing go’s BANG,is whats more important.will it be able to give the target in question such a lethal fusilade,that one can expect the target to be,i don’t know,dead,kaput, finished?,shuffled off his mortal coil and all that rot?or will it just pepper him with high velocity birdshot,enogth to wound or temporarily incapacitate him,but not take him out of the fight?aren’t we already having a discussion about cartridge effectiveness in the field(5.56 vs 7.62 vs 6.8 ect,ect.)sounds almost like were just hurling a high-tech fire cracker at the bad guy that will either incapacitate him or really annoy him.personally,i would rather not annoy or incapacitate at all,just put him down for the count.lets hope the technicians have the same thought or our guys are gonna be running around with a big plastic,buck rogers ray gun that will look cool,but accomplish nothing.

  9. This weapon is totally due, I always thought H&K would create an XM25. What they should really do is take it to the next step and put either a 10mm (25-30 round) underneath or if possible the new MP7, but 10mm would work out better, smaller, but yet oh so powerful. This XM25 is the answer the commies RPG, that is a lethal weapon against our forces right now, this weapon is perfect for taking out the RPG guy or snipers. Take it another step and put the Laser GPS enabling system that USAF Combat Controllers use for accurate bombing, and now you have a group of Combat Controllers with even a broader view of the battlefield, Force Control Tactics. But what I want to know is how many rounds does the XM25 hold…???? 5+1 in chamber

  10. Is a magazine fed grenade launcher really the best way to go for this system? There are at least 5 different types of ammuntion available: Airburst, Flechete, Thermobaric, PD & DPD, and shaped charge but only one chamber. What if you’re loaded for bear (shaped charge for light armored vehicle) and you come upon a sniper where an airburst round would be best? What the army really needs is a ‘timeout’ switch so soldiers can stop the battle long enough to reload with the right ordanance. Or maybe they should do something crazy like develop a revolver style feed system like the South African special forces.

  11. They should really try to combine the XM25 on to an FN-90 with a 3 round 25mm and 50 round 5.7x28mm SS190 ammo and a serious weapons sight system- Laser GPS, Thermal, Infra-red, 5th Generation Night-Vision. All that in a compact size with programmable 25mm munnition, the weapon sight system could aquire the target and select the proper round for the target, or the soldier could do it manually. That would give a serious edge for our SF and Central Command againt the terrorists.

  12. There have been some good comments posted on this page about the possibilities of adding things to the XM-25 to make it a better weapon for soldier but the thing nobody seems to realize is that all of that cool crap y’all wanna put on there is going to make it a lot heavier… even a 27 lb machine gun is a pain in the but for soldiers like us to carry. Take it from me, I’m a Cav Scout in the army and I have to carry all of this crap you all are talking about putting together. If it isn’t made to a reasonable weight, then it will never get produced because no smart soldier is gonna want to carry the damn thing. That is what threw down the XM-29 system is that it is still too weighty for feasable use.

  13. Well they have also been putting up articles about this on the strategypage.com off and on for a while. The payload of the shell is comparable to the 25mm round out of the Bushmaster gun on the Bradley. It doesn’t have the velocity of course. I haven’t been able to come up with an exact kill radius for it. But everybody involved seems pretty sure about that aspect of it. The question is will the complex targeting system and the gun itself be reliable in the field. The weapon is going to be leathal even if it isn’t loaded with the exact ammo you want to use. If you don’t have flechete up the spout but someone pops around a corner, a torso hit from a 25mm frag round that hasn’t armed is still going to ruin the targets day. Also the grenadier is going to be part of a team. Someone will be the designated rifleman with an scoped M-14 or accurized M-16, someone will have a SAW, the rest M4’s or M8’s maybe. I don’t think they’ll have to do like they did with the single shot M-79 and throw an extra man into a squad. That is one of the advantages of this thing being semi-auto. Frankly I wouldn’t mind having one around even without the air burst feature. Let say accuracy is lousy and it would only group within 12 to 24 inches at a 300 meters. If you had an itty bitty kill radius of one meter (39.6′) and you fired two quick frag rounds at the target. I do believe you might kill him or them. My $0.00 opinion for what it is worth.

  14. XM25 today weighs in at about 16lbs unloaded, expected to be 14lbs unloaded once some sight interface issues are worked out. Not something you want to hold from a standing off-hand position for very long. The magazine holds 4 rounds — and is so large, a soldier would probably only carry five magazines total, ’cause that’s all you can fit on your body. That’s a lot of weight for not many rounds, no matter how lethal they are — and if you have to fire one in ‘dumb’ mode, there goes 1/20th of your very lethal basic load … The fire control is pretty amazing, though (Yes, I’ve seen it up close & fired, at Ft Dix last month). Will be interesting to see where this goes.