The US military has released a new video showing the XM-25 computer smartgun being fired in trials.
The revolutionary weapon seems to have heavy recoil - unsurprisingly, as it shoots hefty 25mm projectiles to long distances. The vid seems to bear out claims by US Army officials in charge of the programme that the weapon's computing sight can make one of its mini artillery shells explode in midair just where the user wants - for instance just above the head of an enemy protected by hard cover to the front, as in a trench or behind a boulder. This then sprays him with shrapnel: the same effect could be used to strike around corners.
The vid also shows several types of different ammo: not just the airbursting frag shell, but training rounds and armour-piercing ones working on the shaped-charge principle. Officials have also said that other types - airbursting flash-crash stun bombs, rubber or plastic riot slugs, door-breachers, and "anti-personnel" rounds could all be developed. The latter would be rounds firing a cluster of flechettes - metal darts - or perhaps spherical shot similar to that from a normal shotgun, though probably made of tungsten in this case for better penetrating properties.
The XM-25 scatter-shells could simply hurl their projectiles out of the end of the barrel for massive closeup firepower - so replacing the combat shotguns sometimes used by Western infantrymen - or use the gun's airburst properties to deliver a pattern of shot or flechettes to a target area at a distance like an artillery "beehive" shell.
The original five XM-25 prototypes are in use in Afghanistan, where troops have apparently dubbed the weapon "the Punisher". We here on the Reg crazy-guns desk can't help feeling that it needs merely the addition of a voice-command ammo selector (or merely a military procedure requiring smartgunners to shout out what sort of round they've selected as they fire, similar to that in force in the Mega City One Justice Department) to make it the ideal longarm for Judge Dredd.
The project is moving forward, with manufacturer ATK recently landing a $66m contract aimed at moving the XM-25 into production. ®