Having trouble shooting at wild boars who keep hiding behind trees? Blow up the tree and nail them dead with the military’s latest rifle. Called the XM25, it fires a bullet that can pierce through walls and other types of cover, then explode once they’ve made their way inside.
Combining the accuracy of a rifle with the ability of inflicting range damage like a grenade, the firearm removes the need to call in an artillery fire when enemies are shielding themselves using battleground infrastructure. Enemies hiding inside a room? Pfffft. Taking refuge behind a wall? Ho-hum. Closed-quarter combat and ground encounters will never be the same again.
The rifle uses a laser rangefinder to calculate the exact stretch from its location to the barrier, which the soldier can then manually adjust (+/- 3 meters) depending on how much further the actual targets likely are. A chip inside the bullet (developed by Alliant Techsystems) processes this information and triggers the explosion as soon as it travels the distance, piercing through all obstacles in its way.
What exactly does this mean? Let’s say you’re robbing a bank and you pull down the blinds so snipers can’t take a crack at you. If someone even catches a glimpse of you sitting two meters from a wall, all the shooter (provided they can get their hands on an XM25) has to do is aim at that side of the building, add in two meters to the range measurements and blow you to pieces with one shot.
Unlike grenade launchers and javelin missiles that come with cost and range issues, the XM25’s bullets are predicted to sell for only $25 apiece and will be able to travel distances similar to regular rifle ammo. While not yet in use, they are now scheduled for prototype testing in both Iran and Afghanistan, with expected field use commencing in 2012.
[New Scientist via io9]