BMEWS
 
Death once had a near-Sarah Palin experience.

calendar   Thursday - May 08, 2008

More Mil Blogging - Next Generation of Munitions?

image

Sci-Fi dream or the latest in boom-tech?




Even the Casing Explodes

The Pentagon has quietly been working on a new arsenal of advanced weaponry that replaces metal casings with “reactive materials,” ("RM") normally harmless matter that combines to release explosive amounts of energy on impact, tearing targets apart with violent fury.

In development for more than 30 years, the research is beginning to bear fruit, and may soon spawn more powerful bombs, warheads that tear apart stone and concrete, mines that can be set to stun or kill, and grenades that can swat rockets or mortar rounds out of the sky like flies.

A very long time ago, there was this English guy who invented the exploding cannon ball. His name was Shrapnel. Since that time, almost all military explosive devices have followed his basic concept: shoot something made out of iron at your enemy, and have it blow up when it gets close. The flying fragments - the shrapnel - will inflict the damage, much more than the blast will. But that was back in the day, when the best blast that could be made was provided by black powder. Modern explosives are orders of magnitude more powerful. And we have learned how to focus the explosions themselves. So while a typical standard artillery shell or aerial bomb might be half explosive and half fragmentable iron casing, more modern weapons don’t use much casing at all. Bombs like the MOAB and the Daisy Cutter do their damage based on massive shockwaves, not flying fragments. Focused explosives, otherwise known as shaped charges, came out in WWII (eg the bazooka, an early RPG), and were found able to defeat significant amounts of armor by creating a high velocity plasma jet that burned through everything. Shaped charge weapons are still used today, and we’ve even learned how changing the shape of the Shape makes them even more potent. A simple shaped charge IED with a couple pounds of explosive can defeat a full size tank with ease. So do we really even need shrapnel any more? Well, what if the shrapnel itself was another kind of explosive? How about a plasma jet that cuts through armor and then blows up? Or a shaped charge shell of a given size that’s suddenly 3 times as potent?

Shaped charges are another application where RMs can increase the effectiveness of existing designs. In a shaped charge, a hollow metal cone is surrounded by explosive material, which is then detonated, forcing the blast through the small end of the cone.

“The action is analogous to stamping on an open toothpaste tube, ejecting the liquid contents,” says Douglas Millard of British defense contractors QinetiQ.

Replace the metal liner with RM, and the explosive power of that jet will increase dramatically.

“Such reactions are highly exothermic and therefore lead to the release of large amounts of energy, which is in addition to the kinetic energy within the jet,” Millard says. “An increase in the energy coupled into the target occurs and this results in the creation of greater damage to the target.”

Reactive materials are combinations of materials that are normally stable, but, when subjected to sudden shock—such as striking a target—release a large amount of energy. Depending on the composition and warhead design, the energy can be released as heat, a blast or a combination of the two. Unlike conventional explosives, RMs cannot be set off by fuses. Technically, they are classified as flammable solids, and they are less hazardous to transport and store than explosives.
...
The material can dramatically magnify the yield of conventional bombs, and do away with the waste embodied by a bomb’s inert metal skin.
...
a new bomb could be half the size of existing weapons but twice as powerful.

Pretty damned amazing. But along with the “smaller but more potent” meme comes the “minimal force” meme. Eliminating flying shrapnel cuts down the kill radius of a bomb, which would lessen the chance for collateral damage.

The BattleAxe warhead program is funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The goal of this program is to develop a multi-role, miniature warhead. BattleAxe uses material which allows a smaller warhead to destroy targets completely without causing major collateral damage to the surrounding areas.

Potential targets for the BattleAxe include, unarmored and armored vehicles, buildings in urban environments, and other potential threats. Applications for this warhead include low-cost mini-cruise-missiles and weaponized unmanned aerial vehicles, allowing greater protection for deployed troops in hostile environments.

There are huge advantages to smaller more efficient projectiles. They can be fired faster and further with the same amount of propellent. The guns or missiles that propel them can be smaller and lighter. Possibley they cost less, and since they’re smaller and lighter, more of them can be carried along for a given weight. That the little ones can be as effective, or even more effective, than the older bigger ones is sweet icing on the cake.

The RM project has been going on for 30 years now. There have been many obstacles to overcome. Are we close to seeing these things actually fielded, or is this article just a puff piece for a defense contractor who is up for grant renewal?

Normally new weapons are fielded rapidly if there is a military demand—assuming they work. So far, RMs have not made it into the field, and the technology may not be as mature as developers suggest.  But Pike also notes that there has been an unprecedented surge in munitions development over the last few years, with “all kinds of weird stuff” being developed. So after decades of being kept very quiet, reactive materials may soon be making a lot of noise.


avatar

Posted by Drew458   United States  on 05/08/2008 at 01:48 PM   
Filed Under: • Amazing Science and DiscoveriesMilitary •  
Comments (6) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  
Page 1 of 1 pages

Five Most Recent Trackbacks:

The Brownshirts: Partie Deux; These aare the Muscle We've Been Waiting For
(2 total trackbacks)
Tracked at 香港特首曾荫权和部分高管分别用步行或搭乘公共交通工具的方式上班
西安电加热油温机 香港盛吹“环保风” 专家指市民已从被动变主动 中新网9月29日 淮安导热油电加热炉 电 据香港中通社报道,9月29日晚由香港某环保团体举行的“无冷气夜”,吸引了5万名市民及超过60间企业承诺参加。这是香港最近环保活动不断升温过程中的大型活动之一。 进入九月,香港各界环保活动渐入高潮,层出不穷。特首高官与各界市民齐齐参与,是其中一个最大特色。…
On: 03/21/18 04:12

meaningless marching orders for a thousand travellers ... strife ahead ..
(1 total trackbacks)
Tracked at Casual Blog
[...] RTS. IF ANYTHING ON THIS WEBSITE IS CONSTRUED AS BEING CONTRARY TO THE LAWS APPL [...]
On: 07/17/17 08:28

a small explanation
(1 total trackbacks)
Tracked at yerba mate gourd
Find here top quality how to prepare yerba mate without a gourd that's available in addition at the best price. Get it now!
On: 07/09/17 07:07

The Real Stuff
(2 total trackbacks)
Tracked at Candy Blog
[...] LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND ALL PARTIES IRREVOCABLY SUBMIT TO THE J [...]
On: 06/11/17 10:40

when rape isn't rape but only sexual assault
(1 total trackbacks)
Tracked at Trouser Blog
[...] took another century of Inquisition and repression to completely eradicate the [...]
On: 06/07/17 03:37



DISCLAIMER
Allanspacer

THE SERVICES AND MATERIALS ON THIS WEBSITE ARE PROVIDED "AS IS" AND THE HOSTS OF THIS SITE EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ANY AND ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO WARRANTIES OF SATISFACTORY QUALITY, MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, WITH RESPECT TO THE SERVICE OR ANY MATERIALS.

Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
  1. Keep a firm grasp of Right and Wrong
  2. Stay involved with government on every level and don't let those bastards get away with a thing
  3. Use every legal means to defend yourself in the event of real internal trouble, and, most importantly:
  4. Keep talking to each other, whether here or elsewhere
It's been a long strange trip without you Skipper, but thanks for pointing us in the right direction and giving us a swift kick in the behind to get us going. Keep lookin' down on us, will ya? Thanks.

THE INFORMATION AND OTHER CONTENTS OF THIS WEBSITE ARE DESIGNED TO COMPLY WITH THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. THIS WEBSITE SHALL BE GOVERNED BY AND CONSTRUED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND ALL PARTIES IRREVOCABLY SUBMIT TO THE JURISDICTION OF THE AMERICAN COURTS. IF ANYTHING ON THIS WEBSITE IS CONSTRUED AS BEING CONTRARY TO THE LAWS APPLICABLE IN ANY OTHER COUNTRY, THEN THIS WEBSITE IS NOT INTENDED TO BE ACCESSED BY PERSONS FROM THAT COUNTRY AND ANY PERSONS WHO ARE SUBJECT TO SUCH LAWS SHALL NOT BE ENTITLED TO USE OUR SERVICES UNLESS THEY CAN SATISFY US THAT SUCH USE WOULD BE LAWFUL.


Copyright © 2004-2015 Domain Owner



GNU Terry Pratchett


Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
free counters