01:13 GMT +320 April 2019
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    The XM25 weapon may be cancelled

    Delays, Cost Overruns Mean US Army May Cancel ‘Leap-Ahead’ Weapon

    © AFP 2019 / ROMEO GACAD
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    A shoulder-fired 25 mm airburst weapon may be canceled by the US Army due to delays, increased program costs and an unjustified fielding plan, investigators say.

    The XM25 Counter-Defilade Target Engagement System, designed and manufactured by a partnership between Alliant Techsystems and venerable German handgun manufacturer Hechler and Koch GmbH, is an individually fired, semi-automatic, soldier-portable weapon system which enables small units and individual soldiers to engage protected targets with a 25 mm airburst gun, according to Military.com.

    Received with enthusiasm by the infantry community at first, the 14-pound weapon has subsequently drawn criticism.

    On February 2, 2013, the weapon malfunctioned during only its second test in Afghanistan, causing minor injuries to a soldier. Operational testing of the XM25 was stopped immediately and all samples were withdrawn for study.

    "Army G-3/5/7 officials stated that the malfunction demonstrated that the XM25 weapon needed additional development and was not ready for an initial production decision. [Project Manager Individual Weapons (PMIW)] officials redesigned the weapon and ammunition to correct the cause of the malfunctions," according to the audit. PMIW officials later stated that the failures did not re-occur, following the modifications.

    But on July 19, 2013, after criticism, H.R. McMaster, the Commanding General of the Maneuver Center of Excellence, expressed concerns and made recommendations related to the weapon. "The General's concerns included the unproven lethality of the XM25 system, the weight of the system, and the risks of limiting soldiers' capabilities when carrying the XM25 system. Specifically, the Commanding General was concerned that a soldier would have to turn in his or her rifle to carry the XM25."

    The second obstacle regarding the so-called leap-ahead weapon is attributed to audit issues. As stated in a follow-on report to a March 2014 audit, the service postponed the weapon's initial production decision several times and did not justify a basis of issue plan. Eventually, a decision on whether to continue or cancel the XM25 program must be made, according to the report, after reviewing results of upcoming government tests slated for fall 2016.

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    Tags:
    malfunction, ammunition, weapon, US Army, H.R. McMaster, United States
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