Army removes XM25 from service after incident

The Army’s XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement system has been removed from service after a training accident injured a soldier in Afghanistan early last month.

A soldier was injured during a Feb. 2 live-fire training event during which the primer of a 25mm high-explosive air burst round ignited as a result of a double feed, according to Army spokesman Matthew Bourke.

Although the primer and propellant were initiated, safety mechanisms prevented the round’s warhead from detonating. The gun was inoperable after the explosion.

“The gunner training on the weapon system received superficial injuries,” said Bourke. “The gunner was medically evaluated and returned to duty.”

The malfunctioning weapon was part of the latest batch of 12 prototypes sent into theater in January as part of the Army’s ongoing forward operational assessment of the XM25 CDTE system. To date, the system has been fielded for evaluation in small numbers to units in Afghanistan for approximately 18 months.

This is the second XM25 malfunction resulting in primer and propellant initiation prior to the round being fully chambered and locked. The first involved an earlier prototype and resulted in no injuries. This latest XM25 design prototype features design revisions that addressed the cause of the prior malfunction.

“Based on preliminary findings, the most recent malfunction occurred differently than the previous one,” said Bourke, “It’s also important to note that there were nearly 5,900 rounds fired between incidents.”

The Army declined to identify the unit involved or the location of the incident citing operational security concerns.

Alliant Techsystems, Inc (ATK) was awarded a $65.8 million contract in 2011 and another $18.8 million contract in 2012 by the Army’s PEO Soldier for engineering and manufacturing development of the XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement System.

ATK is the prime contractor, systems integrator and ammunition provider for the XM25 program. Program partners include Heckler & Koch and L-3 Communications’ Integrated Optical Systems.

ATK’s spokesperson referred all questions to Army Public Affairs.

Prior to the accident, the XM25 was very popular among soldiers who dubbed it “the Punisher.” The head of PEO Soldier at the time, Brig. Gen. Peter Fuller, called it “a revolutionary weapon … a game changer.”