Defense

April 1, 2013

Soldiers to get safer artillery rounds

Tags:
David Vergun
Army News

army-artillery1
Beginning March 2014, the Army will take delivery of new artillery rounds which will be safer, but which will also deliver the same performance as those currently used, said an engineer who has tested them.

“Cost, performance and IM” were the deciding factors in the Army choosing IMX-101 to replace trinitrotoluene, called TNT for short, as the explosive material found in artillery shells, said Phil Samuels, a chemical engineer at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.

“IM” or insensitive munitions, is the safety factor that was tested.

“TNT does pretty poorly in IM testing against threats such as bullets, fragments, and shaped-charge impacts and fires,” he said.

The testing is fairly rigorous, Samuels said, simulating worst case situations where enemy fire might impact the TNT or IMX-101 filled rounds.

When normal precautions are followed, the TNT doesn’t pose a significant threat. The Army has been using it for at least 90 years, Samuels said.

Army and Marine Corps artillery units will be the first to receive IMX-101 deliveries next year, in the form of 155mm M795 artillery shells.

Projectiles filled with TNT will continue to be used until they are all gone, he said, which makes the phase-out period difficult to determine due to training and mission requirement uncertainties. But, he expects the transition to take at least several years.

After the artillery round transition, other large caliber rounds which carry TNT will be phased out and replaced by IMX-101, he said.
army-artillery2
Following World War II, there was a surplus of another type of explosive known as Composition B, which contains both TNT and RDX, Samuels said. RDX, like TNT, is also a sensitive explosive, he said. Today, that surplus of Composition B is still being used, but the Army is looking to phase it out just like TNT.
Composition B is used for high performance artillery, mortar, and demolition rounds, Samuels said, meaning higher performance than just TNT alone. Composition B is also being phased out by a formulation called IMX-104, which has properties very similar to IMX-101.

Both IMX-101 and 104 are manufactured by BAE Systems at Holston Army Ammunition Plant, Tenn.

The cost of IMX-101 and IMX-104 are more expensive than TNT and Composition B, Samuels said. However, he said savings will be realized in greater ease of storage and transport, as the IMX requires much less stringent standards for handling and can be stored much closer to the troops in the field without expensive facilities.

The performance of the IMX-101 and 104 rounds is equivalent to the TNT and Composition B rounds they are replacing, Samuels added, meaning their lethality against enemy forces will be just as effective.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines April 21, 2014

News: Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him - Almost 10 years after the friendly fire death of former NFL star turned Army Ranger Pat Tillman, a fellow ranger admits that he may have been the one who fired the fatal shot.   Business: Ship study should favor existing designs -...
 
 

News Briefs April 21, 2014

Navy OKs changes for submariners’ sleep schedules The U.S. Navy has endorsed changes to submarine sailors’ schedules based on research into sleep patterns by a military laboratory in Connecticut. With no sunlight to set day apart from night on a submarine, the Navy for decades has staggered sailors’ working hours on schedules with little resemblance...
 
 

NASA cargo launches to space station aboard SpaceX resupply mission

Nearly 2.5 tons of NASA science investigations and cargo are on the way to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft. The spacecraft launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 3:25 p.m., EDT, April 18. The mission is the company’s third...
 

 

Second series of CASIS-sponsored research payloads launch to ISS

The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space is proud to announce several sponsored research payloads have launched to the International Space Station onboard the Space Exploration Technology Corporation’s Dragon cargo capsule. This marks the second series of investigations headed to the station that are sponsored by CASIS, the nonprofit responsible for managing research...
 
 

Boeing to give California workers $47 million in back pay

PALMDALE, Calif. – Boeing will pay $47 million to hundreds of current and former Southern California employees who are owed back pay and benefits, a union announced April 18. An arbitrator ruled against the aerospace giant in January and laid down guidelines for the payments and interest, but it took months to cull through records...
 
 

NASA selects commercial crew program manager

NASA has selected Kathy Lueders as program manager for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Lueders, who has served as acting program manager since October 2013, will help keep the nation’s space program on course to launch astronauts from American soil by 2017 aboard spacecraft built by American companies. “This is a particularly critical time for...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>