Korean Fat Lads Been Watching Aliens

#21
What I have read about the XM25 and other similar kit suggests that there may be a genuine use for it in certain specialist applications, but that it isn't a game changer and it isn't useful enough to make it worth issuing to all infantry to be used all the time.
As much as I had been thinking of it (which isn't very much), I was seeing one being carried at platoon HQ, rather than everybody getting the new toy.

Oh and haven't some of the Chinese efforts, been ordered?
 
#22
As much as I had been thinking of it (which isn't very much), I was seeing one being carried at platoon HQ, rather than everybody getting the new toy.
The whole thing started off as part of a US master plan to revolutionize small arms, and like all of their other plans along these lines went nowhere due to having over-reached themselves. It started with the concept that conventional small arms technology had been taken as far as it could go and that any new advancements would have to come from air burst ammunition.

The new rifle was to include both a 5.56mm carbine and a 20mm grenade launcher with programmable air burst. There was to be a new machine gun which was also to fire the 20mm grenade. There was also to be some sort of PDW, but that is a bit outside our scope. Some US defence contractor managed the project in general while H&K was to supply the 5.56mm rifle bits.

The 20mm grenade was found to be a bit too anemic once you took out enough explosive to accommodate the programmable electronics. It was therefore increased to 25mm. That did nothing to help with the size and weight problems which had been plaguing the project from the beginning.

Eventually the project ground to a halt and was abandoned as a failure. They had ended up with a compromise system that was poor as a grenade launcher, worse as a rifle, and weighed more than a machine gun.

The XM-25 was an attempt to salvage something from the wreckage. I don't think there was a clear demand for it, just a hope that they could find a use for it after having spent a load of money with so far nothing to show.

Oh and haven't some of the Chinese efforts, been ordered?
Supposedly they are in service with Chinese special forces. From that I suspect that they are in the armoury and can be signed out if thought to have a use in the mission at hand. I've not seen any news which suggests that they will become general issue.

The South Korean K11 had binned the automatic loading aspect in favour of bolt action, and the Chinese one took that further by making theirs single shot only. They did this supposedly to save weight and bulk.

The French had their own version some years ago called PAPOP. After some study they concluded that the smallest effective air burst grenade was 35mm, so they developed a grenade and launcher system in that calibre and integrated that into a bullpup rifle. The grenade launcher was an auto-loader, but only carried two grenades. They dropped the whole thing as impractical back (I think) in the 1990s.

Canada has something called "SIPES", which is a bullpup rifle with a Metal Storm 40mm grenade launcher module on it. I'm not sure if this combination was to ever include an air burst capability. So far it hasn't gone beyond the prototype stage and it is more of a technology test bed than a finished weapon design.

Personally, I'm skeptical about the integrated combination weapon concept. If someone were to pitch something based on the idea of an improved under-barrel grenade launcher to replace existing UGLs, then that might be more realistic. The laws of physics work against it though if you want to combine a worthwhile size of grenade with significantly longer range and not have something that is too heavy and kicks like a PIAT.

The South African Neopup/PAW superficially resembles the XM-25, but is pitched at a much less ambitious market. It fires "dumb" 20mm grenades based on standard 20mm shells with cut down cartridge cases, so ammunition is much less expensive. It is also supposedly intended for specialized roles rather than general infantry issue. Suggested roles include things like vehicle checkpoints where you want to stop an oncoming vehicle (e.g. car with a suicide bomber) and maritime security where you want to stop a small boat (e.g. suicide bomber again). In these roles it would be issued only as required when needed.
 
#23
The whole thing started off as part of a US master plan to revolutionize small arms, and like all of their other plans along these lines went nowhere due to having over-reached themselves. It started with the concept that conventional small arms technology had been taken as far as it could go and that any new advancements would have to come from air burst ammunition.

The new rifle was to include both a 5.56mm carbine and a 20mm grenade launcher with programmable air burst. There was to be a new machine gun which was also to fire the 20mm grenade. There was also to be some sort of PDW, but that is a bit outside our scope. Some US defence contractor managed the project in general while H&K was to supply the 5.56mm rifle bits.

The 20mm grenade was found to be a bit too anemic once you took out enough explosive to accommodate the programmable electronics. It was therefore increased to 25mm. That did nothing to help with the size and weight problems which had been plaguing the project from the beginning.

Eventually the project ground to a halt and was abandoned as a failure. They had ended up with a compromise system that was poor as a grenade launcher, worse as a rifle, and weighed more than a machine gun.

The XM-25 was an attempt to salvage something from the wreckage. I don't think there was a clear demand for it, just a hope that they could find a use for it after having spent a load of money with so far nothing to show.
While I was aware of the whole OICW, XM-8, XM-307 and the XM-25's relationship to them, I hadn't heard of the Canadian or French efforts.

You seem to be talking about a Fancy sight and a bit of wiring down to the UGL though as the next logical step and likely most useful?
 
#24
(...) You seem to be talking about a Fancy sight and a bit of wiring down to the UGL though as the next logical step and likely most useful?
The big question is what do they really want that is actually achievable? If the real desire is just for air burst grenades, this is already on offer in 40mm LV UGL from ST Kinetics to work with existing rifles and existing UGLs.
https://ndiastorage.blob.core.usgovcloudapi.net/ndia/2011/smallarms/WednesdayInter12330Hok.pdf

Here's an example of an arms sales company who offer it for sale in both LV and HV versions. Scroll down to see it in there list of 40mm grenades.
Medium Caliber St Kinetics | GTDS

The following video demonstrates includes it in the list of products. The audio is intermittent, but you can follow the text descriptions.

Note that in the above literature and video, the UK SA80 rifle (as they refer to it) is one of the examples shown. It is quite possible that they did a demo for the UK MoD at some time.

Other manufacturers have this in 40mm HV version, so it is conceivable they could develop an LV package if there was a demand for it.
Nammo AS - Airburst

If the desire is for more range, well there are extended range versions of 40mm LV. Here's an example. Note that air burst versions are shown although they're not listed in the table.
https://www.stengg.com/media/30293/40mmlv-er.pdf

One of the problems with anything of this type (including the XM25) however is that they are much more complex to use. You don't just point and shoot. You have to find some visible surrogate target which is close to the real target (since you don't have line of sight or you wouldn't bother with any of this), find the range with the laser range finder, set the programmable mode, then aim the grenade launcher and fire the grenade. This is reportedly much more complicated in practice than even this description suggests, especially as you are doing all this while attempting to fire from the shoulder rather than from a mount.

If you want a really simple and cheap solution, a number of companies sell "bouncing" grenades based on the Russian VOG-25P (the standard Russian grenade used in UGLs, but also widely used elsewhere). A "bouncing" grenade has a small bursting charge in the nose which on impact kicks it back up into the air to burst above the ground after a short delay. The idea has been around a long time in various forms. Here's an example. If there was a genuine demand for it I imagine that manufacturers of western style 40mm grenades could offer something equivalent. It won't do everything that the programmable versions do, but does it do most of what people actually want?
40mm Round ARFG-25P (VOG-25P) - Air Burst Bouncing High Explosive - Self Destruct Grenade (ABHE-SD)

So it goes back to the question of what do the customers really want? I understand that the Americans have been looking at the ST Kinetics system (with an American defence contractor acting as front man in return for a piece of the action as always), and this may be the reason that they have pulled the plug on the XM25 completely.
 

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