The US Army has awarded Textron Systems a contract valued up to $353.9 million to produce the XM204 top attack munition, a suitcase-sized anti-vehicle terrain shaping system.
The XM204 precision anti-tank capability began development in early 2020 and will support modernization of the Army’s terrain shaping and counter-mobility capabilities.
The five-year Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) production contract was awarded in response to a US Army Europe Operational Needs Statement and follows a 2019 development and qualification contract also awarded to Textron Systems.
The XM204 is an anti-vehicle munition with stand-off and top attack capabilities designed to support complex terrain shaping operations by denying enemy armored vehicles freedom to maneuver.
Textron says the XM204 can be rapidly emplaced and employed alone, or in multiples or in tandem with other terrain shaping systems.
The system is part of a new generation of terrain shaping obstacles able to target and deter tracked vehicles operated by a near-peer adversary in open terrain. The Army says this system eliminates the old method of hand emplacing land mines.
The size of a large suitcase, the launcher module bears four top attack munitions that, when triggered, launches a top attack submunition into the air. The submunition tracks and identifies threat vehicles and then fires an armor-piercing slug at the target.
As explained by the Army, an obstacle like the XM204 top attack munition “will cause the enemy to reconsider their operational advance due to the risk or realization of costly casualties if they continue down a path of travel that will lead them directly to your location.”
“After hand emplacement of the obstacles, you hightail it far outside the munitions effective range while leaving reconnaissance elements to maintain watch over the obstacles. Several hours later, your over watch element confirms that multiple XM204 top attack munition systems launched sub-munitions that effectively engaged enemy vehicles, causing extensive damage and resulting in the enemy having to change directions.”
“We are supporting the Army’s urgent need with an anti-vehicle munition that helps soldiers control the physical landscape,” said Henry Finneral, Textron Systems’ senior vice president, weapon systems. “Soldiers will be able to create obstacles in terrain where they don’t naturally exist, slowing enemy vehicles down and preventing their advancement. XM204 is a modern solution at a time when modernization is a top priority for our customer.”