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The Army's 'Punisher' Airburst Weapon Is Officially Dead
After years of delays and cost increases, the Army has officially pulled the plug on the XM25 Counter-Defilade Target Engagement System, the 25mm shoulder-fired airburst weapon lovingly nicknamed 'The Punisher,' Stars and Stripes reports.
Originally touted as a “leap-ahead” enhancement to soldiers' arsenals in Afghanistan, the XM25 semi-automatic weapon that uses a target acquisition and fire control system to identify targets, determine range, and program specially-designed, high-explosive ammunition to explode in proximity to enemies nearly 2000 feet away
A Soldier aims an XM25 weapon system at Aberdeen Test Center, Md. It features an array of sights, sensors and lasers housed in a Target Acquisition Fire Control unit on top, an oversized magazine behind the trigger mechanism, and a short, ominous barrel wrapped by a recoil dampening sleeve.U.S. Army/PEO Soldier
The program has been in limbo since May 2017, when the Army's senior leadership canceled its contract with Orbital ATK after the defense firm "failed to deliver the 20 weapons as specified by the terms of the contract,” as service spokesman told Military.com at the time.
The termination of the contract came after Orbital ATK sued Hechler & Koch for more than $27 million the previous February over a breach of contract involving the weapons system, passing the blame for the missing prototypes on the German gunmaker and putting the XM25 contract — and, in turn, the program — in jeopardy
The Punisher was doomed well before that. The Department of Defense's Office of the Inspector General released a report in September 2016 urging the Army to cancel the program due to "two years of delays, increased program costs, and an unjustified fielding plan," per Military.com. Indeed, the OIG report for the system frequently malfunctioned during operational testing:
Part of the problem started Feb. 2, 2013, when the XM25 malfunctioned during its second round of operational testing in Afghanistan, inflicting minor injuries to a soldier, the audit maintains.
The Army halted the operational testing when the XM25 experienced a double feed and an unintentional primer ignition of one of the 25mm high explosive rounds, Army officials said at the time.
The warhead did not detonate because of safety mechanisms on the weapon.
The service removed all prototypes from theater to determine the problem’s cause.
The XM25 had completed one 14-month battlefield assessment and was in the early stages of a second assessment when the double feed and primer ignition occurred during a live-fire training exercise.
Orbital and H&K; aren't totally to blame: as with all other future weapons systems, Army officials “could have managed the schedule, affordability, and quantity requirements of the XM25 program more effectively," according to the DoD OIG audit.
RIP 'The Punisher.' We're sure you'll find a second life in the reboot of Demolition Man.
While the U.S. military wants to keep roughly 8,600 troops in Afghanistan, the Taliban's deputy leader has just made clear that his group wants all U.S. service members to leave the country as part of any peace agreement.
"The withdrawal of foreign forces has been our first and foremost demand," Sirajuddin Haqqani wrote in a story for the New York Times on Thursday.
In the wee hours of Jan. 8, Tehran retaliated over the U.S. killing of Iran's most powerful general by bombarding the al-Asad air base in Iraq.
Among the 2,000 troops stationed there was U.S. Army Specialist Kimo Keltz, who recalls hearing a missile whistling through the sky as he lay on the deck of a guard tower. The explosion lifted his body - in full armor - an inch or two off the floor.
Keltz says he thought he had escaped with little more than a mild headache. Initial assessments around the base found no serious injuries or deaths from the attack. U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted, "All is well!"
The next day was different.
"My head kinda felt like I got hit with a truck," Keltz told Reuters in an interview from al-Asad air base in Iraq's western Anbar desert. "My stomach was grinding."
A video has emerged showing a U.S. military vehicle running a Russian armored truck off the road in Syria after it tried to pass an American convoy.
Questions still remain about the incident, to include when it occurred, though it appears to have taken place on a stretch of road near the Turkish border town of Qamishli, according to The War Zone.
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
We are women veterans who have served in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Our service – as aviators, ship drivers, intelligence analysts, engineers, professors, and diplomats — spans decades. We have served in times of peace and war, separated from our families and loved ones. We are proud of our accomplishments, particularly as many were earned while immersed in a military culture that often ignores and demeans women's contributions. We are veterans.
Yet we recognize that as we grew as leaders over time, we often failed to challenge or even question this culture. It took decades for us to recognize that our individual successes came despite this culture and the damage it caused us and the women who follow in our footsteps. The easier course has always been to tolerate insulting, discriminatory, and harmful behavior toward women veterans and service members and to cling to the idea that 'a few bad apples' do not reflect the attitudes of the whole.
Recent allegations that Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie allegedly sought to intentionally discredit a female veteran who reported a sexual assault at a VA medical center allow no such pretense.
Survival expert and former Special Air Service commando Edward "Bear" Grylls made meme history for drinking his own urine to survive his TV show, Man vs. Wild. But the United States Air Force did Bear one better recently, when an Alaska-based airman peed in an office coffee maker.
While the circumstances of the bladder-based brew remain a mystery, the incident was written up in a newsletter written by the legal office of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on February 13, a base spokesman confirmed to Task & Purpose.