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.


 
 

 
Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez

Smart-mortar will help Soldiers more effectively hit targets

Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez Nick Baldwin and Evan Young, researchers with the Armament Research Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, Pennsylvania, discuss the 120mm Guided Enhanced Fragmentation Mortar ...
 
 

Air Force assigns new chief scientist

The Air Force announced the service’s new chief scientist to serve as a science and technology adviser to the secretary of the Air Force and the chief of staff of the Air Force, May 21. Dr. Greg Zacharias will be the 35th chief scientist and is ready to “dive in” to his new role. “I...
 
 

TSgt promotion release delayed to allow system validation

Technical sergeant promotion selection results, originally scheduled for release May 28, will be delayed to enable the Air Force to continue to validate extensive system changes to the Weighted Airman Promotion System, officials announced. The 15E6 technical sergeant promotion cycle is the first to incorporate recent changes in the enlisted evaluation and promotion system. Recent...
 

 

Freedom completes rough water trials

The littoral combat ship USS Freedom completed Seakeeping and Structural Loads Trials, commonly referred to as Rough Water Trials in late March the Navy reported May 21. The U.S. Navy must demonstrate the seaworthiness and structural integrity of each new ship class. One of the primary ways the Navy verifies these qualities is through a...
 
 

Air Force releases Strategic Master Plan

The Air Force officially released the Strategic Master Plan May 21, which is the latest in a series of strategic documents designed to guide the organizing, training and equipping of the force over the coming decades. The SMP builds on the strategic imperatives and vectors described in the capstone document, America’s Air Force: A Call...
 
 

HYT extension possible for SrA-MSgt in 35 career fields

Eligible senior airmen, staff sergeants, technical sergeants and master sergeants in 35 Air Force specialties will be able to apply for a high year of tenure extension and, if approved, will be able to extend between 12 and 24 months past their current HYT. The Air Force is introducing several personnel and manpower initiatives to...
 




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>