April 6, 2011 — -- The target is hiding in a building down range, but he's behind cover and won't pop out for a clear shot. But a U.S. soldier takes aim anyway and pulls the trigger, sending a small grenade round barreling through the air -- seemingly too high to even be close to a hit.
Then, at the precise moment the grenade round flies over the cover and is just above the enemy, it suddenly explodes, taking the target down.
That particular scenario is only played out with a model target in a new video of the Army's next generation grenade rifle system, but similar scenes have already taken places in several real firefights in Afghanistan for the few lucky soldiers who are equipped with the experimental XM-25, lovingly referred to as "The Punisher."
The video, released by the Army and posted on Military.com, is the closest look yet at the XM-25 and demonstrates not only the weapon's ability to detonate a grenade at a precise, preprogrammed distance, potentially eliminating enemies' ability to hide behind cover, but also its high-tech sighting system and various ammunition loads.
Five prototypes of the rifles have already seen combat in nine operational missions in Afghanistan as part of what the military called a "forward operational assessment" of the weapon. There, they helped soldiers put a quicker end to deadly firefights, according to a February report by the military.
"The XM25 brought the difference to whether they would stay there 15 to 20 minutes shooting [and] taking pot shots or the actual fight ended after using the XM-25," said Sgt. 1st Class Carlos Smith, Soldier Requirements Division, Maneuver Center of Excellence, Fort Benning, Ga., according to the report.
CLICK HERE to see a PDF from the U.S. military on the XM-25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement System.