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.


 
 

 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Matt Short

‘Grim Reapers’ introduce Oceana to F-35C

An F-35C Lightning II aircraft makes an arrested landing during a test flight at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. The F-35C is the carrier variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.   The “Grim Reapers” of Stri...
 
 
Army photograph by Tom Faulkner

Army evaluates DARPA’s futuristic soft exosuit

Army photograph by Tom Faulkner Spec. Rafael Boza, a Soldier from the 1st Infantry Division, tests the prototype smart suit on a three-mile course of paved roads and rough terrain at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., Oct. 3, 2014. ...
 
 
Marine Corps photograph by SSgt. John Jackson

Marines, Brits turn over Helmand bases to Afghan forces

Marine Corps photograph by SSgt. John Jackson Marines and sailors with Marine Expeditionary Brigade Afghanistan load onto a KC-130 aircraft at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, Oct. 27, 2014. The Marine Corps en...
 

 
DOD photograph by Air Force TSgt. Nathan Gallahan

Senior enlisted leaders tour California units

DOD photograph by Air Force TSgt. Nathan Gallahan Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, senior enlisted adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, conducts a ceremonial oath of enlistment ceremony at the Los Ang...
 
 
Navy photograph

Navy to commission submarine North Dakota

Navy photograph The PCU North Dakota (SSN 784) during bravo sea trials. The crew performed exceptionally well on both alpha and bravo sea trials. The submarine North Dakota is the 11th ship of the Virginia class, the first U.S....
 
 
Army photograph by David Kamm

Army advances technology at Base Camp Integration Laboratory

Army photograph by David Kamm Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, listens as Bob Graney explains details of the energy-efficient rigid-wall shelter system, Oct. 22, 2014...
 




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>