Researchers, engineers work to improve safety of munitions
By William H. Ruppert, IV, P.E., Program Manager, Joint Insensitive Munitions Technology Program
It’s the year 2045 and your grandchild is deployed to the hot spot of the future, commanding a ground unit combating the latest terrorist group. The vehicle he is riding in is suddenly struck by two rocket propelled grenades. The vehicle interior is breached and the ammunition inside sustains a direct hit, but none of them explode and the crew has only minor injuries. They quickly assume their respective defensive positions from inside the vehicle and return fire on the aggressors, decisively defeating them. Their training and their equipment have not failed them. They will live to fight another day.
This may sound too farfetched or even impossible, but at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, researchers lead and support the Joint Insensitive Munitions Technology Program, or JIMTP, to develop safer munitions with the goal of ensuring the safety of our future warfighters.
The JIMTP is a unique partnership of government, industry and academic partners. The Office of the Secretary of Defense has program oversight, but it’s managed by ARL, and laboratories within the Air Force and Navy provide technical management. The partnership is essential to ensure the maximum return on investment in a time of increasing fiscal constraint.
These partners are working together to reinvent the way munitions work – making them almost impossible to ‘go off’ when the warfighter doesn’t want them to – while at the same time improving the lethality, reliability, safety and survivability of munitions.