The OICW, one of the most misbegotten weapons projects in the history of small arms, may have finally borne fruit. For those of you who haven’t been following this, the OICW was a massive overreach in terms of technology and practicality. The Army wanted a weapon that had (a) a 5.56mm assault rifle, (b) an integrated 25mm grenade launcher with (c) integrated timer/airburst capacity, and (d) integration into the Land Warrior technoproject.
The end result of this was a huge failure, with tons of money sunk into what was an unwieldy, incredibly heavy, overly complex, utterly unreliable weapon amalgamation. Admitting they had a problem, the Army (and Heckler & Koch, the contractor) first disaggregated the weapon, spinning off the assault-rifle component into the XM8, a solid weapon we’ve mentioned before.
Now, it seems the electronics of the 25mm grenade launcher (pictured) have finally been made to work and it is—as it always should have been—a stand-alone system. As Steve Schippert points out, there’s a long way to go before proving that such a complicated, high-tech weapon is field-ready, but this does seem like a promising first step.
The Volgi’s position has always been that this type of weapon is best not given to every infantryman until it’s utterly, dead reliable (likely decades hence). However, like a GPMG or SAW, for a single specialist trained in its maintenance and use in a squad (who can each carry an extra magazine of the weapon’s very heavy ammo), this gizmo, if it works, would be an awesome addition, especially in obstacle-rich environments like urban warfare. Fire one of these things through a window and have it explode in midair in a room…that room is clear. For a demo, check out this Futureweapons segment on the XM307, which fires a similar airburst round of the same caliber. You can zip forward to 3:38, if you’re only interested in the ammunition.
Don’t ask impertinent questions like that jackass Adept Lu.