Today, they are not only highly effective long-range anti-personnel weapons, with the ability to punch through walls and other types of cover favoured by infantrymen, but with the use of advanced ammunition types are also effective against soft-skinned or lightly armoured vehicles.
An alternative approach to the anti-personnel role is represented by the OCSW (objective crew served weapon) programme which is intended to enter US Army service by 2008. The 25mm gun, which fires at 220 rpm, weighs only 10.4kg (around 17kg with mount and fire control system and 29kg with 60 rounds of ammunition) and is intended to be carried and operated by a crew of two. The effective range of 2,000m is not much further than the 40mm AGLs, but the OCSWs major advantage is the fire control system, which incorporates a rangefinder and electronic fuze setter. The time fuze is set as the projectile leaves the gun to ensure that the HE shell is detonated directly above the target. This airburst facility dramatically increases the lethality, especially against troops in defilade (i.e. out of line of sight) who have taken cover against direct-fire weapons. Effectiveness in comparison with the 40mm AGL is calculated to be four times greater against standing troops but nearly fifty times greater in defilade. In addition, a HEAT round is being developed to penetrate up to 51mm of armour.
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