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Soldiers want more 'Punisher' smart weapons

After testing five XM-25s in Afghanistan, the Army wants dozens more. The shoulder-braced weapon can fire rounds that explode at a set distance.

Only five XM-25 weapons exist today, but the Army wants to order dozens more.

Soldiers who have used the Army's XM-25 grenade launcher in Afghanistan want more of the futuristic weapon, which can fire rounds that explode at a predetermined distance, defeating barriers that protect enemies.

The Army wants to acquire 36 more XM-25s, according to a report on The first batch might be deployed in a year, but funding has to be secured and the weapons and rounds, which apparently cost some $25,000 and $1,000 apiece, respectively, are still being made by hand.

Mass production won't happen until 2013 at the earliest, according to the report. The site previously said the Army would buy more than 12,500 XM-25s beginning in 2012.

The 12-pound, 29-inch XM-25 can fire 25mm airbursting rounds up to 500 meters (546 yards) for a precision target and 700 meters (765 yards) when firing on an area. As each microchip-equipped round is fired, it counts the number of rotations it makes and then explodes when it reaches the target distance. Check out the old CNN vid below.

A laser range finder on the weapon lets troops check how far targets are. For instance, a soldier can sight the distance to a building protecting enemies, add two meters to that, and then fire the round through a window so it explodes inside.

Troops who used the five prototype XM-25s that went to Afghanistan were impressed by its ability to explode right over the heads of protected enemies, and asked to keep the weapons in their units. They were used on nine operations beginning in December, and helped end firefights in minutes.

"The kids are calling it 'the Punisher,'" Brig. Gen. Peter N. Fuller was quoted as saying. "I don't know what we're going to title this product, but it seems to be game-changing. You no longer can shoot at American forces and then hide behind something. We're going to reach out and touch you."