At the time of the 2004 SPIE Defense and Security Symposium the optical, electrical and mechanical components of the fire control system for the PDRR program phase of the XM29 combat rifle were being delivered and the build of the systems was about to begin. In the following four months the hardware was integrated and extensively tested in both laboratory and field environments. Fully tested fire control units were delivered to Alliant Techsystems (ATK) in August '04. The XM25 rifles, the weapons for delivering the 25 mm High Explosive Air Burst (HEAB) rounds of the XM29 system, were delivered to Alliant a few weeks later. After only twenty days the weapon, fire control, system battery and ammunition system components were successfully integrated and the first demonstration of air burst fuzing of the 25 mm high explosive rounds was conducted successfully.
This paper presents test results for the 2&1/2 lb fire control system with its 25-μm uncooled thermal imager, direct view optics, laser rangefinder and low power fuzing electronics. The paper also discusses the HEAB testing and provides an update on the XM29 program and the progress towards a Milestone B decision.
The detailed design of the Target Acquisition/Fire Control (TA/FC) system for the XM29 combat rifle was completed in mid-2003, not long after the system was first presented to the SPIE technical community at the 2003 AeroSense Conference. The system which was described at that time successfully underwent its Critical Design Review. Prototypes were built and tested for the 25-μm pixel pitch uncooled thermal imager, laser rangefinder, display, processor/ballistic computer, environmental sensors and digital compass. Weighing less than 2.6 lbs, the highly integrated package meets both its weight requirement and a projected run time of over 15 hours on a single rechargeable battery, while performing its required mission. In addition the laser rangefinder is expected to operate at twice its required range. This paper provides an update on the final design of the fire control system, the development status and the XM29 program itself.
The paper briefly describes the XM29 (formerly OICW) weapon, its fire control system and the requirements for thermal imaging. System level constraints on the in-hand weight dictate the need for a high degree of integration with other elements of the system such as the laser rangefinder, direct view optics and daylight video, all operating at different wavelengths. The available Focal Plane Array technology choices are outlined and the evaluation process is described, including characterization at the US Army Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD) and recent field-testing at Quantico USMC base, Virginia. This paper addresses the trade study, technology assessment and test-bed effort. The relationship between field and lab testing performance is compared and path forward recommended.