Computerized Smart-Gun Can Shoot Someone Behind a Rock

By Jennifer Welsh | December 10, 2010 1:22 pm

computer-gun-insanityNeed to shoot someone hiding behind a rock? The military’s got a gun for that.

The weapon is called the XM-25, Counter Defilade (a word I had to look up) Target Engagement System–basically, it provides a way to shoot someone who is hiding behind an obstacle. It works by shooting a mini-grenade-like round that is programmed to detonate after passing the barrier. The detonation scatters lethal shrapnel toward the enemy target.

The weapon’s computing sight measures the distance to the target precisely using a laser, and corrects automatically for such factors as air pressure, temperature, relative elevation etc. Buttons above the trigger allow the point at which the shells will detonate to be moved nearer or further away. [The Register]

The first set of prototypes arrived in Afghanistan in November and are currently being carried on active patrols. The soldiers are testing them out and suggesting improvements and adaptations to prepare for the weapon’s full roll-out. While the world has known about the XM-25 for some time, the U.S. Army just provided an update on plans for the experimental weapon:

Finally, with testing complete and Army approvals in place, 12,500 systems will be produced and issued beginning in early 2014 – enough to support one per infantry squad and Special Forces Team. [PEO Soldier LIVE]

The mini-grenade isn’t the only egg in this computerized monster gun’s basket. Currently the army is also producing armor-piercing rounds, and future ammunition could include door breaching rounds and non-lethal blunt and airburst rounds.

The airburst non-lethal would be a smaller version of the “flash bang” stun grenades popular with special-ops and police SWAT teams in hostage situations, and the blunt version a more ordinary plastic or rubber bullet. [The Register]

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Image: PEO Soldier LIVE Blog

  • Woody Tanaka

    Great. Does this monster check to be sure there are no innocent children also hiding behind the obstacle, too?
    The new motto for the US military should be “why worry about murdering more innocents when we have neat toys to kill forrign people!”

  • Bigby

    You, sir, are an idiot.

  • Justin

    Well, I think the point Woody raised is the correlation between increases in firepower/armaments and civilian mortality. With grenades, you have a very large increase in potential damage over rifle rounds, and this laser-targeting version is no different.

    So if your target is hiding behind a corner, or under a windowsill, US forces will now be able to detonate a grenade immediately adjacent to that target, greatly improving their odds of a successful kill/injury, while simultaneously demonstrating how difficult it would be for opposition forces to carry on a gunfight with an American platoon. However, you will likely see a dramatic increase in grenades detonating in civilian/insurgent homes and communities, with the corresponding rise in non-combatant casualties. While a sniper, previously, would have targeted and shot an armed combatant directly at up to 500 yards or whatever, you’ll now see a grenade launched an identical distance…and since grenades explode in a spherical pattern, well, you get the idea.

    Of course this has the potential to revolutionize warfare, to give an edge to a better equipped American military (imagine how the guerrilla tactics used by American Revolutionary forces against the British would have worked, if the British troops had weapons like this and thus the American colonists couldn’t hide behind trees and in second story windows, etc.). But also imagine how many more bystanders will be hit by shrapnel, and keep in mind the US military’s policy of not actually confirming the accuracy of civilian casualty estimates that are drawn up before operations.

    I find it hard to swallow that the world will not see an increase in non-combatant injuries, once these grenade-launchers become fully integrated into combat tactics.

  • Woody Tanaka

    Bigby, go to hell if you don’t care about innocent people being killed.

  • epv

    This weapon replaces a 500lbs bomb. Previously an enemy would be in an entrenched position that couldn’t be safely assaulted so an air strike would be called in. Killing everything in the house or everything in a 15-20m radius with substantial collateral damage.

    This replaces that with a 5m kill radius and limited collateral damage.

    And who’s fault is it if someone engages an armed force in an occupied civilian dwelling? If a parent cashes out his kids college fund to buy a car, surely you don’t blame the dealer for stealing from the child.

  • Iain

    Dudes, how many children are dragged onto a battlefield to be a shield? NONE! Human shield is where you hide in houses etc. behind the civilians that would be killed in a bombardment. You don’t drag them around like a Hollywood action pic. The part that really piques my interest is how heavy is it? I know I didn’t like packing around a 17lb ‘gun’ and ammo for it, but being a big guy it was mine.

  • Happy Phil

    What ever weapons we have, can be taken away and used against us. These could be used by anyone, with or without firearms skills. Bad idea.

  • Jan

    Any complaints about this weapon can be discounted because we are in a WAR. War is hell and innocent people will be wounded and killed. The problem is the innocents who are killed on purpose by evil people. Not this weapon. My son was ambushed and wounded with the National Guard while he was helping rebuild. No weapon will make war any better.

  • amphiox

    Great. Does this monster check to be sure there are no innocent children also hiding behind the obstacle, too?

    That is the responsibility of the man whose finger is on the trigger of the gun. And always has been. For every gun that has ever been made.

    And always will.

  • chemfro

    Woody and Justin,
    We are the first nation in history to invest billions in R&D as well as billions in purchasing weapons that REDUCE civilian casualties. We build bombs that can can fly into a window and kill one dictator (if we know he’s there). In WW2, it took bombing an area the size of two to three football fields to hit a telephone relay post, now it takes one well placed munition. So Justin, your suggestion that woody is making a point about correlation between munitions and civilian casualties is misplaced. Civilian deaths have decreased, not increased by modern weapons developments.
    There was a time when the finest weapons technology consisted of a 30 lb double edged bronze sword. It was customary to enter an enemy city, raze it to the ground, kill all men, and sell the women and children into safety. At any given time, this would be taking place thousands of locations, all over the world.
    I’ve heard it said that the Samurai sword killed more people in WW2 than any other weapon. While I seriously doubt it, the point is well taken. Japanese soldiers killed some 10 to 20 mil chinese, and often did not want to waste bullets.
    The point is… civilian casualties in warfare correlates more closely to poor governance, societal acceptance, and military professionalism than it does to types of weapons. More precise weapons gives the U.S. a greater chance of avoiding unnecessary deaths. Our intent to do so is evident by the amount of money we spend trying to do so.

  • Idlewilde

    How are the goodguys in movies supposed to win NOW? The badguys always have better equipment, so they’re doomed. Gone are the days when a pleather clad, tanned hero can dodge from one rock to the next,avoiding barages of bullets and fending off meanies with a nothing but a pistol before making a getaway in a convieniently placed van.

  • stilt

    when you have they folks over there using public places and spaces to conduct suicide bombing. your gonna complain that if they are hiding by going into a house, which they were prob in for a ambush, that they get blown up by a new gun. its designed to save lives and to limit the destruction that is caused.
    in the history of warfare no organized army has ever beaten a guerrilla army. also the guerrilla army doesnt care that it kills civilians, and if they do most of them dont care nor listen when someone complains about it. in Vietnam thye used women and children for bombing and also using them for razor blade and knives attacks. they Agans are doing the same thing but with bombs that kill hundreds!!!!!
    sometimes you have to fight the enemy the way they fight you. but with this new gun we dont have to!!

  • jeffrey

    its all means of killing people thats all. why dont we use babanas instead of pistols?

  • chemfro

    Just for the sake of military accuracy, many guerrilla armies have been beaten by organized armies. The Japanese engaged in guerrilla warfare on many different pacific islands … and lost. The U.S. faced guerrilla war against many of the indigenous populations in the Americas, and defeated them. The U.S. faced guerrilla warfare and insurgency in the Philippines near the turn of the century, and General Pershing defeated them. The Romans faced guerrilla forces in Gaul, Germany, and Britain and defeated them (probably elsewhere). Many of the guerrilla groups in Iraq have been defeated. The FARC in Columbia are guerrilla warfare practitioners and are being defeated. The confederates in the U.S. civil war applied guerrilla warfare for a brief period of time, but did not experience any success, and abandoned the strategy.

    History is replete with examples. The U.S. is still dealing with a lack of confidence after being smacked around in Vietnam, and I think that this is the source of this lack of understanding regarding warfare. But its important to remember that it wasn’t just guerrilla tactics that lost us Vietnam. The North Vietnamese had a compelling message, which they propagated successfully. They garnered support from communist China, the Soviet Union, and eventually large populations of the western world. They won the war politically, not on the battlefield.

  • dicka

    Does this replace an existing grenade launcher? What does it weigh. Weight is the foot soldier’s enemy; they are already overloaded. However, if vehicles make long treks unnecessary then weight is not as important, if there is room for transport.

  • Michal T.

    Ii think that we should save the economy

  • Michal T.

    Yo jeffrey, you no we don’t do it to kill people. Ii think we should pull out, though.

  • Brian Too

    Didn’t I see this on Future Weapons or something? They had a gun that fired projectiles on a delayed fuse. The idea was to fire a round into a building or through a compound wall. Rather than exploding against the outer surface the round waited a few milliseconds to punch through. Then it exploded on the other side, causing much more damage.


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