back to article US Army releases new vid of Judge Dredd computer smart-rifle

The US military has released a new video showing the XM-25 computer smartgun being fired in trials. The revolutionary weapon seems to have heavy recoil - unsurprisingly, as it shoots hefty 25mm projectiles to long distances. The vid seems to bear out claims by US Army officials in charge of the programme that the weapon's …

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Bronze badge
Happy

Now the only problem is...

...carrying enough of all the different types of ammo with the gun, and ensuring you have the right type at the right time.

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Troll

I know.

God forbid if soldiers used webbing.

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Troll

Missing the point

a) the 25mm ammo is significantly heavier than normal bullets

b) this puppy is designed to get through said ammo at a large rate

c) as a multipurpose weapon, Murphys Law says you'll probably have the wrong type of ammo stuck up its chuff when you need to use it.

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Silver badge

Judge Dredd?

Per-lease... That was (IMO) ripped off the Sandman's Gun in Logan's Run (the book, not the film or tv show) - that had voice selected munitions years before Judge D got his. (acutally, there are a lot more, erm, similarities, between the Judges and the Sandmen...graphic novelists reading obscure SF for inspiration...who'd have thunk it...)

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Anonymous Coward

Dredd's gun

As we all know, Dredd's gun was never voice-activated. It had a manual selector for the different types of bullets. He only used to shout the different types of bullets as a narrative device because showing the flipping of the selector in each comic strip wouldn't be that exciting. This minor point tended to be overlooked in light of the more major travesties that occurred during the conversion from comic to screen.

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Thumb Up

I refuse to enoble a simple forum post!

I was gonna say more or less the same thing... thank god I don't have to admit to my extreme 2000AD nerdism :D

I believe in the forthcoming reboot, Dredd keeps his hat on as he should

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I dub thee... Sir Forumpost! (I actively seek to enoble forum posts of any complexity)

Anything that makes up for the Dredd vs Death computer game will be a good thing in my book.

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Joke

Taking bets

On how much BAe/ Thales/ insert European military monopoly arms manufacturer here is going to be paid triple the cost to produce a version of this for use by our forces.

Here's my checklist :-

* Needs to have as much US kit in as possible, so we can have enough of a reliance on foreign manufacture for this European capability.

* Got to be made of plastic, so it can be easily cracked.

* Have secure comms built in, so it will be delivered 10 years too late.

* Have its spec changed to that of a main battle tank 10 years into the project. As challenger II will need replacing by then, and we wouldn't want to waste the money, would we?

* Isn't allowed to work without substantial upgrade costs, otherwise where would the manufacturer make their money to invest in US companies?

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FAIL

Mis-quoting Lewis

I think you'll find that Lewis has never claimed that the US defence industry is any better at delivering projects on budget and on time. The valid point that he does make is that the American tax payer and not us bears the cost of those price overruns. The equipment still reaches the export market at significantly lower cost than our own, home-built equipment.

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Joke

Lol

Miss the joke did you?

Diddums.

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Looks like something out of an FPS

especially with the animated sequence in the video.

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Silver badge

During the meanwhile ...

I can drop my .45 ACP Kimber in a muddy, sandy stream, and I know it'll be 100% functional when I pull it out. And it's only stored energy is gunpowder, no battery required! For non-civilians, and moving up in fire-power a trifle, I can say the same for your common or garden 81mm mortar.

Grunts don't need computers to put lead down range ... and no matter how you look at it, grenade launchers are not (and never will be) sniper's rifles. These XM-25 toys are a boondoggle of the first order ... In the right hands, the Milkor MGL Mk14 does pretty much the same thing in combat, but a lot more reliably. And even then, I question the cost/benefit ...

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indeed

same as the merlin mortar round. Great idea. Cost a fortune.

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@Jake

If you run out of batteries, my understanding is that this thing is perfectly happy for you to pull the trigger and put some flying metal out there.

And it's not a sniper rifle. It's not intended to be. However it *is* a grenade launcher, with selectable airburst capability, with greater range than a standard-issue rifle, with a decent sighting system, and with significantly better accuracy than a dumb mortar. If it can work as a combat shotgun for close-range, then all the better. What in this list is a bad thing?

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@AC:13:56

"Yeah but last I looked they weren't quite so effective at making bullets bend rapidly midflight round corners to hit concealed targets."

Uh ... I think you are confused. An object in motion, and all that ...

"Soldiers nowadays aren't fighting in large open battlefields where accuracy at range is key, they're fighting in confined street scenarios with many places for opponents to hide and ambush them."

The mind boggles. You've never actually been in combat, or studied it, have you? Have you any idea how big Iraq and Afghanistan are? They look like tiny little towns on telly, but trust me, they are quite a bit larger than you seem to think they are[1]

"They need something that'll give them the advantage there, and this is it, because enemies can no longer rely on cover to keep them safe."

Here's a hint: Grenades, mortar rounds, and the spalling effect of high-energy rifle/gun-fire already produces the same result ... without the added R&R cost, training cost, and related supply-side logistics.

[1] Note that I think that the entire mid-east theater is just that ... political theater. Far too many lives (on ALL sides!) are being wasted for nothing more than political/religious/commercial posturing.

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@Graham Bartlett

"If you run out of batteries, my understanding is that this thing is perfectly happy for you to pull the trigger and put some flying metal out there."

Then why the added weight/complexity/logistical hassle of the electronics? Grenade launchers aren't exactly used as surgical tools ...

"And it's not a sniper rifle. It's not intended to be."

It's being marketed as a "precision weapon". Grenade launchers aren't precision, by any stretch of the imagination. At least not in my book.

"However it *is* a grenade launcher, with selectable airburst capability"

More complexity, with more to go wrong, under battlefield conditions, equals "better" HOW, exactly? Especially when we've had simpler kit for half a century (or thereabouts) that does exactly the same thing?

"with greater range than a standard-issue rifle"

Uh ... I can hit a human sized target with a bog-standard 30-06 rifle at well over 1,000 yards (never mind my .416 Barrett). Maybe you miss-typed?

"with a decent sighting system"

Not applicable in this conversation. Sighting systems are sighting systems.

"and with significantly better accuracy than a dumb mortar."

I'll take on one of these thingies with an 81mm, on the range of the designer's choice, at ranges from 100 to 1,200 yards in 100 yard increments. I'll bet you a nickle that the ground-based tripod will beat the living crap out of the shoulder-mounted boondoggle ...

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Joke

In 2025 the Australian Army takes delivery with special voice activated ammo.

[Voice: Command]

Explosive

Flechettes

Armor

Dildo

Smoke

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Flame

Enemy behind cover?

So now we can shoot people around corners or behind walls? Wonderful. Let's expect a corresponding increase in collateral damage as trigger-happy soldiers shoot yet more terrified civilians trying to find somewhere to hide.

Anyone else still remember the video from Israel of the unarmed Palestinian man trying desperately (and sadly unsuccessfully) to shield his son from the bullets of Israeli soldiers?

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Anonymous Coward

God, I hate guns.

God, that's some sexy tech.

God, I'm conflicted...

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Alert

You appear to be confusing...

collateral damage (accidental casualties caused by mis-directed fire, blast boundary effects or malfunctioning ordnance), with a war crime,(Israeli Defence Force soldiers deliberately shooting unarmed civilians).

I take your point though and share your worries, the usual US Rules of Engagement (shoot anything that moves, then shoot it some more, then check identifying markings/IFF, then say sorry) do not fill me with confidence.

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Anonymous Coward

The US need to scrap this project....

and all others that can actually kill and retrain all their troops in how not to shoot British troops in the back when they are policing the world. Then maybe the effectivness of their army would actually be at a level where we can go to war without the allied troops killing more of their own than the enemy has.

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Pint

Hopefully with a weapon like this...

the British troops would be close enough to be drinking out of the same keg than to be in the line of fire.

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Unhappy

Not just Brits

They've proven adept at killing Canadian troops as well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarnak_Farm_incident

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Anonymous Coward

Because as we all know

only US soldiers kill friendly troops.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article3070875.ece

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Grenade

Brits Invented Friendly Fire

1471-Barnet, War of the Roses; 1815-Light Dragoons, Waterloo; 1939-HMS Oxley; 1941- HMS Sheffield;1945-Lubeck Harbor; 1982-AAC Gazelle, 3rd Battalion Paras vs A and C companies, SBS vs SAS, Falklands; 2003-Queens Royal Lancers, Iraq; 2007-Danish Royal Life Guards, Afghanistan; 2009-Royal Military Police Officer, Afghanistan; etc, etc.

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Canned whining or what?

I don't know where you're getting this idea about friendly-fire casualties being more numerous than enemy-inflicted casualties, but my best guess is your arse.

Besides, British troops /never/ do anything dumb with their guns...

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Gordon Dickison's

Dallygun* made large.

*Dial a gun, he was making fun of a concept that he had just came up with.

The future is now; Ok, now we know that the future should go away for a while.

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Grenade

Recoil?

This isn't a "Target Engagement System" as the DoD describes it. This is shoulder artillery. Doesn't the Academy of Law teach heavy weapons handling to cadets anymore? Recoil is nothing. Just be glad you weren't issued a Stub Gun.

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FAIL

Maybe like the movie

they can get the bullets tagged with the DNA of the trigger-happy mongoloid who fired it, so we can actually find out which one killed our own troops.

And the Stallone movie showed how far voice recognition has come if it can understand Slys vocal intonations in the middle of a gun battle.

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FAIL

That'll be the Daewoo

The US brings their next generation grenade lanuncher into the filed with massive fanfare, despite costly delays and breaking apart the XM29 platform.

Korea quietly steps up with the K11 that encompasses both a 5.56 rifle and a 20mm airburst system and gets it working and deployed in Afghanistan. Nobody notices.

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Grenade

armour peircing..

As I predicted earlier the ability to detonate a shaped charge the right distance from armour is a bit of a game changer.. can't wait to see the damage from on of these AP rounds, I suspect that 4" of steel plate is easily pierce-able..

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@Jake

No mistyping. Maybe your 30-06 will reach that far, but the rifles the lads in Afghanistan are using are (in)famously shorter-range than the Kalashnikov-derivatives the Afghanis use. Hence my choice of the words "standard-issue".

You also seem to have problems with the concept of "better". This thing behaves like a grenade launcher, but has accurate range beyond standard-issue (see above) rifles. Your approach is to say "ah, but grenade launchers aren't accurate". Correct - they're not, right now. Which is why an *accurate* grenade launcher with improved range is an improvement. Sure, stuff has been around for half a century which individually can do all of the jobs - mortar, grenade launcher, combat shotgun, armour-piercing, long gun. Individually, each of these is probably better than this fancy-pants gun... but you'll get one per squad if you're lucky. Now roll it all into one package that gets you 90% of all of them, and dish them out one per fireteam.

Sure, reliability is the unknown element. But you can't just wave hands and say "oooh it's got electronics, bad juju man". Radios, GPSes and all manner of sights are equally electronics-based, and somehow the infantry still manage to keep them running OK.

The real test is whether it works in the field. Neither of us have seen one. However reports so far from guys who *have* used it are pretty positive, wouldn't you agree?

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@Graham Bartlett

I'll take an M-16 over a Kalashnikov, any time, at any distance, sniping, semi or fully-auto. The Kalashnikov is great for untrained forces, but it's hardly accurate.

It's not the electronics that are bad in my mind ... it's the application of electronics in down-in-the-dirt infantry personal weaponry that I have issues with. It's the "more to go wrong in a combat scenario" that is bad ju-ju ... Especially seeing as we already have the tools that cover all the bases that this thing does, sans electronics. I'm an old Unix[tm] hacker ... many tools that do one thing well are better than more complex code. My Kimber is bash; this thing is Windows 3.1SE.

Please note: the guys using these so-called "smart rifle" things in the field aren't grunts. They are hand-picked weapons experts. Of COURSE they are going to be high on it ... They are going to need a job somewhere, once they get out of the military.

Accuracy is relative. Some folks can hit the big, purple, "reply to this post" button. Some folks miss it entirely. And a few note the difference between "j" and "J" ...

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