No, that’s not a typo. The XM204 Top Attack Munition can strike enemy vehicles from above, an angle of attack that provides a huge advantage when trying to penetrate enemy armor. On July 21, 2022, U.S. Army Contracting Command awarded Textron Systems Corp. a $353,980,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the production and delivery of the XM204.
The XM204 was developed from a need identified by U.S. Army Europe. Part of a new generation of terrain-shaping obstacles, the XM204 is designed to target and deter near-peer enemy vehicles in open terrain. About the size of a suitcase, the XM204 can be emplaced by a small group of soldiers to hold off an advancing enemy mechanized force.
The XM204’s launcher module is armed with four top attack munitions. Using advanced sensors, the XM204 detects approaching vehicles and tracks them. When they close within a certain distance, the XM204 shoots a submunition into the air to fire down onto the target. Top attack munitions, like the FGM-148 Javelin missile, can be more effective than front or even bottom attack munitions against armored targets. That said, the Army is also developing a next-generation bottom attack munition to complement the XM204.
So far, the Army has ordered 117 XM204s, 38 trainer units, and associated spare parts. Textron noted in a news release that delivery is scheduled for fiscal year 2023 in support of an Initial Operational Capability. Subsequent orders could range anywhere from 20 to over 400 units. USACC estimates a contract completion date of July 20, 2027.