Israeli military tests new airburst-style weapon 

10/10/2011 3:00 PM 

The Multi Purpose Rifle being developed by the Israeli military

By Matthew Cox

The Israeli military is testing an airburst-style weapon that resembles the technology inside the U.S. Army’s XM25 counter-defilade weapon. But unlike the stand-alone U.S. weapon, the Israeli design mounts on any rifle and works with a standard 40mm grenade launcher.

The Multi Purpose Rifle System, made by Israel Military Industries Ltd., is designed to dramatically improve the accuracy and range of 40mm rifle grenades, IMI officials maintain.

The system features a computer, laser rangefinder and optic that can be mounted on any rifle with Picatinny rails. Using a touchpad that mounts to a grenade launcher, a soldier can program a special 40mm grenade to accurately explode over a target at ranges beyond 250 meters.

“All a soldier has to do is aim, press and the system does everything else. It measures the distance … it conveys to the ammunition what mode you want and then you just press the trigger and hit the target every time,” said Dan Peretz, corporate vice president for R&D and Business Development at IMI, during the 2011 Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington. “At over 100 or 150 meters, it is very difficult to hit with a 40mm grenade launcher, but with this, you can hit very accurately — from 200 meters you can go right through a window.”

The U.S. Army has fielded the XM25 in limited quantities to soldiers in Afghanistan for evaluation. XM25 is a stand-alone launcher that fires 25mm airburst rounds with the help of its own laser rangefinder and computer. It grew out of the older XM29 duel weapon system, which featured a 20mm airburst weapon mounted beneath a 5.56mm carbine. The system worked, but it was too heavy for the battlefield.

The XM25 weighs 14 pounds with a loaded four-round magazine. The MPRS’s optic/computer, ambidextrous touch pad and connection cable adds about one pound to a rifle equipped with a 40mm grenade launcher, IMI officials said.

The MPRS is in testing with the Israeli Defense Force and could be fielded in early 2012, Peretz said. It uses a 40mm round special coil and programmable fuse.

“You can do point detonation, delayed detonation, airburst and if all those don’t work, the round explodes itself with self detonation in a time period,” Peretz said.

IMI is partnering with General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products to market the system in the U.S., Peretz said, adding that his company has demonstrated the MPRS for the Army and Marine Corps.