The U.S. Army is slated to start acceptance testing in early 2016 for Orbital ATK's XM25 - short for Counter Defilade Engagement System - a grenade launcher that allows American soldiers to get out of tricky situations by allowing them to target enemies behind cover.
"The weapon features revolutionary high-explosive, airburst ammunition programmed by the weapon's target acquisition/fire control system (TA/FC)," Oritbal ATK said on its website. "The system integrates ballistics computation in the full-solution TA/FC."
Using this weapon under normal circumstances, a soldier simply needs to aim the weapon at an enemy up to 1,640 feet away, and let the XM25's laser rangefinder determine when the grenade explodes. However, if a target is hiding or under cover, the soldier can dial in extra distance of up to 2,300 feet away and detonate the explosive in mid-air, according to Engadget.
In theory, this means that a soldier would no longer have to potentially expose his or herself to enemy fire while lining up a shot. The soldier would just need to pick a target that's close enough, and fire.
Though the XM25 will have to be tested before it can earn widespread use among the U.S. military, the tests may be more of a formality rather than an actual trial.
Prototypes of the XM25 made an appearance in Afghanistan in 2010 for field testing, reported FOX News. During these tests, Program Executive Officer (PEO) Soldier Lieutenant Colonel Chris Lehner equated the XM25 to other weapons of war such as tanks or machines, highlighting its potential to change the paradigm soldiers employ when in battle.
"The system is less expensive, more precise, quicker to deploy, and causes less collateral damage than mortars, artillery or airstrikes," Lehner asserted in a PEO Soldier press release from 2010. "Our soldiers can remain covered/protected and use their XM25 to neutralize an enemy in his covered position. This will significantly reduce the risk of U.S. casualties and change the way we fight."
So long as the launcher passes the testing phase quickly, it can contribute greatly to ongoing and future U.S. war efforts.