Enhanced grenade lethality: On target even when enemy is concealed

Army engineers worked to integrate sensors and logic devices to scan and filter the environment and autonomously airburst the fuze in the ideal spot. (U.S. Army graphic by Chris Boston)

Army engineers work to integrate sensors and logic devices to scan and filter the environment and autonomously airburst the fuze in the ideal spot. (U.S. Army graphic by Chris Boston)

By Eric Kowal, ARDEC Public Affairs

How does the warfighter launch a grenade at the enemy and ensure it hits the target, especially when the enemy is in what is known as defilade, or concealment, behind natural or artificial obstacles?

Steven Gilbert and a team of about 10 engineers within the Joint Service Small Arms Program are trying to solve that counter-defilade puzzle, which also doubles the grenade’s lethality in the process.

Gilbert is a project officer with the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center. The engineering team is in the final phase of a project known as Small Arms Grenade Munitions, or SAGM.

The goal is to provide warfighters with the capability of shooting a 40mm low-velocity grenade out of an M203 or M320 rifle-mounted grenade launcher–with the certainty that if their target is hiding under cover or behind an object, damage will still be inflicted.

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Picatinny “squeezes in” solution for MRAP ammo stowage

Modular Ammunition Restraint SystemPICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. — Duct tape, bungee cords, straps, netting, plywood. Do these items sound like safe and secure ways to store 200 pounds of ammunition on a combat vehicle in the middle of a war zone?

For years, Soldiers have been relying on their own makeshift methods to secure ammo containers inside Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, because they were not provided with any other solution. Virtually every cubic inch within an MRAP is occupied with mission-essential equipment, making ammunition stowage a challenge.

The situation posed several problems. Once Soldiers cut the straps or removed the bungee cords, it was difficult (and sometimes impossible) to re-secure the ammo again, especially in the rapid pace of a combat mission. Moreover, in the event of a roadside bomb or an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), loose ammunition containers could trigger a disaster.

But as a result of the innovation and expertise of the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC), Soldiers are now using an Army-approved ammo stowage system that is safe, reliable and effective.

The system is called MARS, which stands for Modular Ammunition Restraint System. ARDEC has already sent more than 700 into combat zones. But that is only the beginning. The Army estimates that several thousand MARS will be sent to Iraq and Afghanistan within the year.

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