Army weapons officials are waiting on Congress to approve a request for nearly $25 million to buy 36 XM25 counter-defilade weapons for the war zone. If approved, the money would satisfy an "operational needs statement" from commanders in Afghanistan.
Thirty-six guns doesn't sound like a lot, but "it’s a battalion's worth of weapons -- one per squad," Col. Doug Tamilio, the head of Project Manager Soldier Weapons, told Kit Up! recently.Now, before anybody breaks out their calculator, the $24.7 million request will also buy a bunch of spare parts, ammo and testing support, Tamilio added.
The Army currently has five XM25s in Afghanistan. The so-called "punisher" has been performing well and is a popular item out on patrol, weapons officials maintain. Fielding more XM25s will make it easier for Army weapons experts to collect additional data and help determine how effective these 25mm air-bursting rounds really are against live enemy targets.
Unlike the prototypes that were sent to Afghanistan, this next batch of XM25s will be slightly more refined. They will likely have a "carbon-fiber backbone" that should shave about a half pound off of the 12-pound system, Tamilio said. The jury is still out on whether future XM25s will continue to be black, he said.
"I would hope Congress would act on this in the next month," Tamilio said. "It should take about a year to 18 months to get the weapons built, tested and fielded. Then one battalion going to theater will go fully outfitted with X25s."