Feeds

Summer debut for Judge Dredd computer smart-rifle

Exploding wireless mini-shell ammo hits round corners

Business security measures using SSL

US Army officials have announced that the high-tech XM-25 computer smartgun, intended to let soldiers shoot at and hit enemies hiding around corners, will enter field trials this summer. The "counter defilade" gun, similar in size to existing infantry weapons, is expected to reduce the number of controversial airstrikes used in Afghanistan and Iraq.

An XM-25 being demo'd. Credit: PEO Soldier.

Your trench has become your grave.

Regular Reg readers will already be familiar with the XM-25 and its unique ability to strike at enemy gunmen or snipers who are protected by roof edges, corners, rock outcrops, trenches etc. This is accomplished by using a laser rangefinder to precisely measure the distance to the enemy's protection (for instance a low wall). The XM-25 smartgunner then selects how much nearer or further from that location he thinks the target is - for an enemy behind a normal wall, the soldier would choose +1 metre. If the soldier had lased the back of a room or cave through an opening, he might choose -1 or -2 metres.

Then the XM-25's computer calculates the exact angle the weapon's barrel should be elevated to in order to lob a 25mm explosive mini-shell through the selected point in space, and generates a new pipper in the gunsight accordingly. The soldier moves the pip onto his or her original point of aim, so adjusting the gunbarrel to the correct angle.

The shell in the XM-25's breech gets its electronic time fuse precisely set by a wireless transmission from the smartgun computer at the instant it is fired. It flies out on the calculated ballistic arc and explodes exactly in the chosen spot - above the head of an enemy in a trench or on a rooftop, right next to one lurking around a corner, dead in the middle of a room etc. The miniature explosive warhead sprays the target(s) with shrapnel.

Rich Audette, the US Army official in charge of the XM-25, described the weapon's usefulness in a briefing last week.

"In Iraq we had many instances where there was a sniper firing from a rooftop and you have a squad trying to engage that target, but the soldiers couldn’t get to him with the weapons they had, so they’d call in the Air Force to drop a JDAM [joint direct attack munition - a smart bomb],” he said. “We can take out the target at $25 per XM round as opposed to a $20,000 to $50,000 JDAM.”

Quite apart from saving money, less smartbombs dropped would also be a good thing in terms of winning the propaganda war - particularly in Afghanistan at the moment, where US and allied airstrikes are believed to be killing large numbers of innocent civilians.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.