back to article US Army inks $66m deal for Judge Dredd smart-rifles

The US Army's futuristic Judge Dredd style computer smart-rifle project, the XM-25, is moving ahead. Developer ATK, which has so far made just five prototype weapons, inked a $65.8m deal this week to move the weapon into manufacturing. A soldier aims an XM-25 smartgun. Credit: PEO Soldier "Freeze, perp! All right, you asked for …

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WTF?

Apart from

firing through windows, what can this do that a section 3 inch mortar can't for a fraction of the cost?

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Well...

Mortars aren't always the fastest or most accurate things in the world and take a little bit of setting up (ok, it is just "a little", but still). This can be pointed at the entrenched position, take a range finder reading, tweak a little (so it explodes just past the sandbags, for instance) and fire away. Simples.

Also, the "fire round corners" bit shouldn't be underestimated.

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Sorry, meant 2 inch.

Yes, not as accurate as this gun (which I'm as enamoured of as anyone else) but a world cheaper to make and fire. Setup consists of putting it on the ground and as the ammo is cheap you can practice a lot. From what I've heard, people got very good with them. To the extent of ToT bursts with a single mortar - probably rubbish mind.

Maybe that's the advantage - less training needed.

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Paris Hilton

Fail?

"it shoots 25mm exploding fragmentation mini-shells which are fitted with a very precise time fuse set at the moment of firing by the gun's electronics"

I wouldn't like to be the soldier's shoes (or gloves) if the damn thing decides to jam.

Paris? She had more than her fair share of the 'money shot'.

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WTF?

Not quite

The rounds are fused based on how many spins the round completes. You know the muzzle velocity, you know the spin rate and the only thing the round needs to know is how many times to spin before bang.

If it fails to fire, but arms the round unless you spin the gun around the barrel axis repeatedly you should be ok...

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Anonymous Coward

from a former miniature fuze researcher

It actually won't be capable of arming until the round has reached a safe distance from the gun. That's a requirement of the NATO standards for fuzes (STANAG 4183).

If you want to find out more, I'm guessing (although I haven't bothered to look), that the fuse is based on the OICW SAU that was developed some time ago by ARDEC. If you want to see how it works you could do worse than google it, particularly the patents.

There are two independant interlocks that keep a fuze from arming. The OICW safe arm unit had setback and spin interlocks and an electronically operated command interlock too (possibly to facilitate programmable arming delay). The safety was provided by an explosive train interrupter that blocks the propogation of detonation from a detonator into the booster/main charge. Until all the interlocks are off, the explosive train interrupter can't move so the thing is safe, even if the detonator goes bang. The settable time delay relates to the ability to detonate based on time of flight.

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Gold badge
Coat

Battery issues.

"ATK are apparently to sort this out as the design develops."

Let me guess. They're going to setup "ATK Genius Bars" in all the world's frontline conflict zones, where soldiers can get a spotty youth with a screwdriver to swap the battery while they enjoy a complimentary cup of coffee.

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Coffee/keyboard

Coffee + Electronics = Disaster

Recently I was forced to visit a Genius Bar to have a warranty repair done on my MacBook. I was parched after I had hoofed across Liverpool to get there, but was informed that coffee or indeed any refreshments were not available, much to my dismay.

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The inherent weakness of today's technology is...

Electrical power. Every device we use is "intelligent" therefore requiring power. Disrupt power supplies and most of Western society will come to a halt. Nothing different about the XM-25.

So you are cut off behind enemy lines and your battery runs out. The nearest wall socket is back at base which the enemy, armed with an AK-47 that requires nothing more than a supply of ammunition and a trigger finger, is attempting to disrupt its power supply. At that point a 1914 Lee-Enfield would probably be more desirable.

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Happy

I refuse to enoble a simple forum post!

While I agree with the general premise of your argument, teh reality is that whichever badass squadie gets to play with this gun, will still have a bunch of mates humping around normal guns.

This weapon will become part of the squad close support section... like MGs for instance.

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They said the same thing about tanks...

There you are, cut off, and the diesel runs out. I bet Zog & Ur had a similar argument about spears (throwing perfectly good flint knives at the enemy? Are you mad? We'll never carry enough!)

Treat batteries like ammunition (you can never have enough) and you won't go far wrong. Note that the manufacturers are working on the 'plug-in' issue, plenty of time to invest in Duracell/Varta/battery manufacturer du jour.

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Pint

Is anyone else imagining

What a cross between this and the energizer bunny would look like ...

On .. BOOM and on.... BOOM and on .... BOOM

Friday!

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Happy

I look forward to the advert

Perhaps duracells next advert could have a contest between their clapping bunnies and one of these.

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Batteries like ammo...

Seems like the best solution would be to have magazines with embedded batteries, then, when you need more ammo, you also change the battery at the same time. As long as the Mag holds enough juice to fire all its shells plus enough extra to last for a while, you should be in good shape.

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Bronze badge

Yes, but...

The thing has a thermal-imager sight.

They can be using it all day, without ever firing a shot.

There was a change in how soldiers used their weapons when the British Army put low-power telescopic sights on everything. This is more of the same.

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Silver badge
Thumb Up

batteries

indeed. Just like clansmen batteries. big fucking heavy bastards and yes you could get lithium ones and one that ran on AA batteries but not for the average platoon. Still they could be packed in your bergan better than spare gpmg barrels.

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Stop

No problem, MountfordD -

as Mr Page will undoubtedly inform you, electrical power, batteries, etc, like GE nuclear power plants installed in Japan always work flawlessly - except when they don't. Even in that unfortunate event, however, the consequences of their failure are always far less severe than reported in the alarmist, fear-mongering press. By contributing to these fears, you risk imperilling the Jetsons future that our descendants might otherwise enjoy....

Henri

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Silver badge

What's round that corner?

> hit enemies lurking around corners

Provided the "enemy" hasn't run off (if they're out of sight, how could you tell) and just left the Mother Superior with her charge of 12 orphans sitting quietly on a park bench, just round the corner from someone armed with one of these toys.

Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but in modern, urban, warfare environments ISTM one of the basic ways of reducing civilian casualties is to be able to see what you're intending to shoot.

> gun's battery system,... must be plugged in to charge up.

Fortunately for all the innocent people unlucky enough to be near the pointy end of one of these, it seems like the range of any combat patrols will be limited to the length of the weapon's power cord.

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Judge Dredd vs Punisher

Most Americans are more likely to know who the Punisher is than Judge Dredd, which is why they are giving it that name. Thank goodness they are not calling it the Sheen.

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Bronze badge
Grenade

'sokay

We can still claim it, most of the writers and half the artists on Punisher in recent years have been British ;)

And the last guy to play him on film was British IIRC, though not much in that mess to be proud of :(

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Oh how we larfed

Tray 1 rubber bullets empty - switching output to tray 2 shotgun

Shoulda seen them demonstrators scatter

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Silver badge
Happy

strictly speaking..

...the ability to detonate at a specific range is more a Strontium Dog thing than Dredd. Though of course Johnny Alpha's detonation beam thing passes harmlessly through the human shield that the target is holding and detonates inside the baddy.... Now that would be good technology!

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Go

Couldn't you manage that with this weapon?

Just shoot an explosive round past the head of the target and set it to detonate, say, 500mm behind him. It blows up, turning your target into a human shield for his human shield (who'd be burnt, shaken and probably in shock from the explosion. But more alive than if you'd shot through him).

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Coat

There was an old episode of Dredd...

set on the moon I think, where they has a competition between the Sovs and the Judges. The sovs had a beam that would pass through things and explode at a preset distance.

Dreddy beat it by charging forward faster than the Sovs could reset the distance.

I'll get my coat because... I'm such a geek.

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Silver badge
Coat

@strictly speaking.

In the Dredd Comic Strip when Dredd was Marshall of Luna City it was actually the Sov Block who first had "range dependent" energy weapons that could even shoot through walls and explode inside the target's body.

Dredd and a colleague managed to figure out how to defeat these weapons by running full speed at the Sovs because the weapons were unable to adjust to the changing range fast enough meaning the energy wave would go through the target and explode harmlessly behind them.

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Grenade

Judge Dredd is a darn sight closer than The Punisher ...

even though that Marvel Character has been managed into just another rehashed monstrosity and may have been a Dredd clone at one point.

I think this system is just a step closer to the weapon system used by the Genetic Infantry (Gene Troopers) in the Rogue Trooper universe / comic / RPG / etc.

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FAIL

Re: The Sheen

Who would want a bipolar weapon that yells to the world about how great it is and then does nothing more than shag the other guns in the amory?!

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Silver badge

Not bipolar

He's bi-winning.

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Silver badge

A real smart rifle...

would put the bullet through the head of the person who pulled it's trigger.

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Silver badge
FAIL

Not exactly precision is it

Can't help but see the similarities between this and cluster bombs, and other non discriminatory weapons of war that we have deemed unsuitable.

Perhaps rather than inventing new ways of killing the worlds population, America could stop invading all the third world countries. You know third world countries, they're the places where only the rich can afford healthcare.. oh snap.

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Doesn't matter how precise or not

The object is total superiority against brown people with AK 47s, the odd RPG and maybe a few bags of fertiliser.

The failure, as always with fuckwit militaristic logic is that if the brave boys on the Eastern Front are impregnable, the farmers will logically target what they can with what they have - that would be you & me, in other words. Epic win.

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WTF?

Third world

You mean the countries that are given billions in aid every year, only to have it all stolen and put in Swiss bank accounts by the rulers, who then blame America for their people going hungry?

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Silver badge
FAIL

The battery is not "customer" removeable?

You have to plug the bloody thing into a wall-socket? I realise that these are prototypes but which dickhead came up with those elements of the design?

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Unhappy

@Tom 38

Absolutely - we manage to get shrapnel mines banned from, well, most places, and reduced the availability of cluster bombs. Then the good ol' USA comes up with a portable alternative. What is it with that country and guns - penis envy?

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Joke

Yes, but will it ever come with a Boxing-Glove round

for crowd control?

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Grenade

Big money and irregular wars

The War Nerd's interesting take on this weapon: http://exiledonline.com/xm25-gee-whiz-how-can-we-be-losing-with-such-cool-stuff/

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April fool

I suppose no one noticed the date this was posted?

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