Saturday, April 30, 2011

Okay, Let's NOT Get Technical

In my prior post, I was going to try and craft my final blogpost entirely on an iPad. Research, links, composition, everything. Well, it let me write a title, but then I couldn't type in the white box where blogposts happen. Oh Steve Jobs, you minx.

Anyway, we can get technical in another way. Let's talk weaponry. And none of this hoity toity "less than lethal" stuff. I'm talking stuff that goes kaboom. And better yet, it goes kaboom when you want it to.

Let's say you're in Afghanistan and some BG (read: Bad Guy) starts shooting you from behind a large rock. You shoot back, but he's too well protected. You have grenades, but the target is too far away to hit with a handheld object. You have a standard grenade launcher, but if the projectile falls in front of the rock, the BG will still be shielded. If you aim higher to get over the rock, the projectile will overshoot the target and land well behind him, causing no damage to him at all. If only there was a way to aim RIGHT over the boulder and then have the projectile explode JUST as it sails over the BG's head. Oh wait, there is and it's been called the Punisher. Okay, the formal name is the XM-25, but come on! THE PUNISHER!

The fancy new grenade rifle system takes something vital away from the enemy: cover. With a state-of-the-art aiming capability incorporating lasers and math, the XM-25 allows a soldier to send a 25mm straight to a BG, all from a safer distance than would be required with a standard grenade launcher.

The Punisher is already being used by Army troops on a trial basis in Afghanistan. As a matter of fact, the Department of Defense last month signed a $65 million contract with ATK, the munitions contractor responsible for making and testing the weapon. Because it is an experimental weapon at this time, there are only 5 Punishers in existence. But assuming that the weapon continues to deliver in tests, there is reason to believe that another 36 will be available in 2012.

In referring to the XM-25, Brigadier General Peter N. Fuller stated that it "seems to be game-changing. You no longer can shoot at American forces and then hide behind something. We're going to reach out and touch you." What a quote. One sergeant stated, "The XM25 brought the difference to whether they would stay there 15 to 20 minutes shooting [and] taking pot shots or the actual fight ended after using the XM-25." That's a glowing endorsement if I've ever heard one.

If you've seen Restrepo, then you know how the fighting in Afghanistan can take place over incredibly long distances. As awesome as this weapon is, however, I'm curious as to why it's taken this long to be developed.

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