After we posted the video on Tuesday of the XM-25 in action in Afghanistan, Kit Up! reader Tim asked several questions in the comments section that brought up some interesing issues.
So I pinged PM Soldier weapons and got a partial answer, then dialed up ATK -- which is the prime for this program -- and got a few more blanks filled in.
So here goes...
First, Tim asked "What's the minimum engagement range?"
This is a question I reminded myself to ask during both the PEO Soldier round table and the follow up interviews I had with Lehner et al, but simply forgot to query about. Basically, according to ATK, the 25mm round does take some distance to arm. In a blog post on the issue at PEO Soldier's web site, Lt. Col. Lehner posited a scenario where a Soldier fires his XM-25 at a target 452 meters away and the HEAB round "arms at 30 meters."
For obvious reasons, ATK was reluctant to say just exactly how close is too close for the XM-25 to be used, but if the PEO blog post is accurate to all ranges, the round arms in 30 meters.
Second, Tim asked: "What is the maximum lethality blast circumference?" Neither ATK nor PM-SW would give me precise distances, though Lehner did say in an online interview that the blast is about the same as a hand grenade -- which, for the M67 is about five meters in lethality, 15 meters in wounding. One thing the ATK official added was that the XM-25 round is designed to explode down, not in a 360 degree circumference, thereby maximizing its kill potential.
Third, Tim wondered, "how quickly can an operator range and fire?"
This is a tricky one because there's a process to targeting and engaging with the XM-25. The PEO Soldier post says it takes about five seconds, but the ATK guy said it's really a matter of shooter skill...but it's not instantaneous. There is a red dot reticule in the sight that ranges whatever it's pointed at and feeds that information to the HEAB round as soon as the trigger is pulled.
To get the full counter defilade effect, the Soldier must range the obstacle, toggle in one or two meters more distance, aim the weapon above the obstacle and pull the trigger. The site accounts for atmospheric conditions, shoots the information into the 25mm round and the Soldier pulls the trigger. As the round travels down range it counts the number of spins and detonates when it's reached the proper distance based on the number of turns.
The overall context of Tim's questions were the personal weapon issue. Bottom line is if you're in the stack, you're going to need another weapon to deal with the threat.
I hope that answers the mail on some of the detailed capabilities of The Punisher. Thanks to the readers for their engagement and keep the feedback coming.