back to article Futuristic Judge Dredd smartguns issued to 101st Airborne

It's all go in the world of futuristic Judge Dredd style guns today. Reports suggest that a battalion of US airmobile* troops in Afghanistan are to be equipped with the XM-25 computing smart-rifle, able to strike enemies hiding round corners or in trenches. A successful "proof of concept" of a guided homing bullet for use in …

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Heart

Can we..

...go back to the good old days of jousting & fisticuffs? All these "state of the art, bang bangs" we buy, could we not just use the money to feed & cloth the Kenny McCormick's of the world?

MAKE TEA NOT WAR!

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Grenade

EXACTO knife?

Isn't an Exacto knife more-or-less american for Stanley knife? Actually, google sez it's more those smaller ones with multi-part snap-off retractable blades. AKA a "box cutter". That'll be why they like that acronym. Surgical strikes and all that. Yeah right.

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Contrived acronyms

So long as the acronym forms a vaguely recognisable word, and they don't have to rename the project something like "Bang! Incredible Zany Zapper, Large Explosions!" to make it happen, the Americans are happy.

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Boffin

Exacto is more than just a 'box cutter'

Exacto is a brand of disposable knife blades and not just 'box cutters'.

They are used for smaller precision cuts. Used by hobbyists to build model airplanes, cutting pieces out of balsa wood.

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Friendly fire

Now able to hit your own side and your allies from 4miles away.

And with the steering ability you are no longer safe even standing just behind them.

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Tis true

Making "friendly fire" ever more deadly.

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Anonymous Coward

What's in a name?

"EXtreme ACcuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO)".

Que lawsuit from well know hobby knife company.

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Joke

Settle out of court?

""EXtreme ACcuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO)".

Que lawsuit from well know hobby knife company."

I'd back a few US Marines armed with these over the company's lawyers any day :)

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Trademarks...?

I don't think Elmer's Products Inc, owners of the X-Acto precise craft-knife trademark will be best pleased. But of course the Pentagon is above petty laws, isn't it?

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Stop

You just blew the argument.

The exact spelling of the knife is X-ACTO. Little things like this are important in trademark arguments. Now, there IS a company known as EXACTO, but they produce agrochemical products. And I think there is precedent for sharing a name between two dissimilar industries (the name "Cracker Barrel" springs to mind).

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Pint

Oh Dear

Elmers Products?

Is it a bit of FUD ( Elmer Fud?)

Ok, I'm outa here. TGIF, I'm off down the Pub for a pint of 6x

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Big Brother

RE: Trademarks...?

"I don't think Elmer's Products Inc, owners of the X-Acto precise craft-knife trademark will be best pleased. But of course the Pentagon is above petty laws, isn't it?"

First off, the name is different, so there is probably nothing to litigate. Even if there is a collision, the knife guys would be well-served to take advantage of it.

Either way, the Pentagon is not above the law - that's Congress' job.

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Anonymous Coward

Wot no...

...mortar round?

Seems an obvious thing to produce, probably easier as well.

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Mortars are loudish and slow...

...this fires a similar round directly at chosen target and explode how you wish.

I say loudish because there is kit now that picks up when ordinance is being fired and where its heading too, so this gun could beat it by speed.

Still sure this thing could be made to mortar fire.

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Boffin

RE: Wot no...

Guided mortar rounds do exist, but they have a high trajectory which means they cannot be fired into the middle of a room through windows or into a cavemouth in the same way as a flatter trajectory "rifle" launcher. There's also the issue of having to carry a hefty mortar (to get to the 2km+ range you're talking one of the 81mm jobs, not really suitable for patrols) and carrying a number of hefty mortar rounds (probably in the 12Kg range) - not good if you're going up and down Afghan hills! And the large mortar round does incur the risk of unintentional collateral damage to civillians in the target area (though some are of the opinion that the tiny warhead on the XM-25 round will do little more than upset anything more then the tiniest of target areas). UK forces have also underlined a fourth factor - cost - by using the only weapon they have which is portable enough but has the range and blast damage to do the same, namely the Javelin anti-tank missile. One of the superduper-grenade-cum-bullets will still cost a lot less than a Javelin missile, and the carrier will be able to carry several magazines for sustained fire.

But I still think the XM-25 is a waste of money.

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The numbers suggest that it would be issued to one man in each rifle squad of eight.

In the days of the Lee-Enfield the British Army patrol comprised eight rifles and two Bren . The firepower was in the Bren.

From this distance that looks a much better idea. War is unpredictable, one weapon with one specialist user is too vulnerable.

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Not when...

...every other member of the squad carries the tried-and-true M16. It's not like the X25 is going it alone; it's going to be a complementary tool to fill roles ordinary guns can't fill. The best thing to do now is let the boys give it a try and see what they have to say.

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WTF?

A bit rum!

If an expensive gun able to fire around corners doesn't solve the worlds problems, then I don't know what will.

/sarcasm

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Boffin

Really?

"Snipers armed with existing heavy rifles could potentially pick off targets four or five miles away with a single shot - and these targets could be moving unpredictably as well, as it would be easy to hold a laser dot on them"

It's non trivial to generate a genuine dot at 5 miles (rather than a big fat blob)

Additionally atmospheric disturbances also affect light (twinkling lights across the bay anyone?)

I'm sceptical that it's easy - although clearly it's possible

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Boffin

RE: Really?

I too laughed at the line "as it would be easy to hold a laser dot on them" - ever tried messing around with one of those laserpens that were all the rage a few years back? Ever tried using a laser pointer during a presentation? The tiniest movement of your hand is magnified with range, so the longer the range the larger the amount the dot dances around. True, the aiming devices used for 2km+ are a bit more substantial than laserpens but then that leads to more weight for the team to carry, and as they are designed to guide area affect weapons like 750Lb bombs they are not ideal for targetting a small and possibly manouvering target like a fleeing Taleban machinegun team. That would take an extraordinary amount of skill and co-ordination between the sniper and his spotter/marker, the latter probably having to hold his breath throughout both the sniper's taking aim and the flight of the bullet.

Whilst it might work for a temporarily static target (the same enemy MG team when they are still firing rather than fleeing), a better option might be a light-machinegun with a long-range scope, firing a burst of unguided but longer-range rounds (maybe the .338 Lapua Magnum round?).

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There can be a lot in five miles.

Including rugged, uneven, hostile, or otherwise hard- or impossible-to-traverse terrain. Meaning closing the distance may not be an option. And don't forget that a .50 sniper round is actually considered anti-materiel. That means people aren't the only possible targets for this thing. A round or two into a vehicle, tent, or other Big But Important Thing could give anyone inside a serious problem.

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Zorg ZF1

I'm waiting for them to invent the Zorg ZF1 with it's "replay" feature. Seems like they're on the way to it...

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But will I be able to bulls-eye Womp Rats in my T-16?

A .50 calibre round would take less than 8 seconds to travel 4 miles - and while moving at this blistering rate it is calculating and correcting it's trajectory? Pull the other one. Even if it could calculate it's own position relative to a target in a fraction of a second IT WOULDN'T BE THERE ANY MORE!!

And I nominate "This can be used to spray deadly shrapnel into an enemy" as this century's wrongest arrangement of words so far.

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That was taken into consideration.

The round's exact target is a laser spotter, and the round is supposed to be capable of tracking the spot even if the spot moves. So if the spot moves to stay on the desired thing to hit, the bullet will supposedly see it's now off course and correct.

So be careful about that other leg. I hear someone's been replacing the bells with bombs.

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Title goes here....

Great, so now they can kill hostages from even further away!

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FAIL

RE: Title goes here....

"....so now they can kill hostages from even further away!" If you are referring to Linda Norgrove I think you'll find it is now thought that she was killed by a fragmentation grenade thrown into her room by her kidnappers, and not the US Special Forces trying to rescue her. In light of the fact that those same US Special Forces were also selflessly risking their own lives in trying to save her from almost certain death I think it would be a bit more appropriate if you just sit down, shut up, and show the tiniest bit of respect.

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Didn't realise ...

... you were part of the team currently investigating the incident. Nice of you to share the report before it's been written.

"US Special Forces were also selflessly risking their own lives"

Fuck off, mate. Elite soldiers are in it for a whole host of reasons. They get a kick out of being elite and from all the risk-taking. Have you ever actually served, or do you just have a hard-on for the war hero trope?

I do, however, selflessly build applications for people because I love humanity so much.

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C.R.E.W.

Scarry how what you read in sci-fi turn up the next day in reality...

I am looking forward to my hand gun that can shoot down a starship*

*starship also required

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WTF?

Re: C.R.E.W.

I see. In exactly what way is this a Collimated Radiation Emission Weapon?

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Stop

How long

before technology makes war irrelevant?

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Lets hope soon.

But don't forget not everyone has the highly computerised forces of the US yet.

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Changing my opinions...

For a while I've regarded projects like this (intelligent bullets, exo-skeletons, etc) as technically clever but highly cost-inneffective when compared to five or six people armed with cheap AK-47's for a hundredth the price.

But you can't have cheap advanced technology without first having expensive advanced technology. Rolling stuff like this out in five years time doesn't mean that you're not paying enormous amounts of money for little gain. But it might mean that in fifteen years time, you can roll out cheap advanced technology. The trickle down effect is a joke in economics, but I wonder how well it translates to military hardware.

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Unhappy

Military technology would be great...

If we were actually at war with anybody. At this point the government is grasping desperately at any reason to go shoot people... "terrorists"... "insurgents"... *sigh*

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Stop

RE: Military technology would be great...

".....the government is grasping desperately at any reason to go shoot people...." I think you'll find that one of the great problems with the West in the last thirty-odd years is that we have been far too reluctant to grasp the nettle and deal with threats before they got out of hand. Shooting wars are very unpopular with most politicians as they think bodybags on TV mean certain loss of votes, so it is more of a case of them grasping desperately at any reason NOT to go shoot people.

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Grenade

But is the ammo change voice controlled?

You have to say, "Number Four Cartridge!"

And how long will it be before an X25 specialist kills himself and the rest of his squad by aiming at a target around a close corner?

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Coat

Did anyone else....

...read the title and think "new guns for 101 stone american troops".

OK, so the yanks normally talk in pounds, but there are some big mf troops.

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Unhappy

@h4rm0ny

Unfortunately, by the time you get your cheap advanced technology, the rest of the world will have the cheap Chinese (or other) copy at hand. Let's just hope everybody bothers to look around the corner before the shooting starts!

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Sounds cool.

This is just paving the way to another hugely fat american with an xbox contolling a defensive perimeter, where turrets with massive machine gunes can unleash hell many miles away. Tomahawks, UAV's the predator drones and now bullets.

But I can see this technology working quite well on something like a ship. Easier to have three or four central turrets and hundreds of little laser pointers round a boat, the turrets just fire and the bullets home in where needed. Couple of decent multi core CPU's and you can then fire a controlled burst at dozens of targets based on threat level, would see off the iranian guard mob tactic, or the chinese air force, or a swarm of missiles.

It also saves the normal design and configuration drawbacks of front facing turrets, side facing etc. You are then in into the realm of star trek, with port side nacelles, firing where they need to, not where they can. Imagine a strip of laser emitters all down the sides of USS whatever, just 'blinking' light at targets and letting a central turret fire upwards.

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Anonymous Coward

Homing bullets

If it has such a range, then wouldn't it be better to have a series of networked laser spotters that target and a gun miles away.

Then someone close to target can laser point it, details networked to sniper and gun bullet automatically programmed.

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