U.S. Army engineers develop safer, ‘greener’ propelling charge for 105mm artillery cartridges

Engineers at Picatinny Arsenal are developing a new propelling charge for the family of 105mm artillery cartridges that are safer for the warfighter by eliminating the use of lead and other toxic substances present in the current charge. Above, Oklahoma National Guardsmen from Battery A, 1st Battalion, 160 Field Artillery, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, fire 105mm Howitzers during annual training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, June 3, 2015. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Bruce, 145th MPAD, Oklahoma Army National Guard)

By Ed Lopez, Picatinny Arsenal Public Affairs

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. (Nov. 9, 2015) — Engineers from the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, or ARDEC, are developing a new propelling charge for the family of 105mm artillery cartridges that are safer for the warfighter by eliminating the use of lead and other toxic substances present in the current charge.

The current propelling charge, called M67, contains seven bags to achieve desired range.

The charge uses a thin lead foil sheet sewn into the zone 5 bag to chemically remove copper that is deposited on the gun tube when a round is fired.

The lead is toxic, and the warfighter is exposed to it in the form of lead foil protruding and flaking from the bags before firing, along with exposure to lead liquid and particulates in the air after the propelling charge is fired.

When a round is fired, copper from the rotating band on the projectile is deposited on the inside of the gun tube. If the copper is not removed, it will begin to affect performance of subsequent rounds, such as decreased muzzle velocity and range.

DOD collaboration researches munition safety

U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center Chief Scientist for Energetics, Dr. Jamie Neidert presents an overview for the Munitions Area Technology Group II concerning minimum signature rocket propulsion goals. (U.S. Army photo)

By Nikki Montgomery, AMRDEC Public Affairs

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (Oct. 23, 2015) — Government, industry, and academic partners are working together to improve the way munitions function to protect the safety of our future warfighters.

The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center, or AMRDEC, hosted a Department of Defense collaboration to discuss Insensitive Munitions at the Dynetics Solutions Complex Oct. 20–23.

The Joint Insensitive Munitions Technology Program convenes biannually to exchange research information focused on improving the lethality, reliability, safety, and survivability of munitions and weapon systems, as well as ensuring IM compliance. IMs describe those munitions that will not react to unintentional triggers causing catastrophic damage that impairs warfighting capability.

The Office of the Secretary of Defense directs the approximate $32 million dollar program while it is managed by the U.S. Army Armaments Research, Development and Engineering Center, another U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command organization.

JIMTP Program Manager, Anthony Di Stasio expressed the anticipated improvements gained from the Fall Review. Continue reading

RDECOM wins three safety awards

The U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center won the Chief of Staff of the Army Composite Risk Management Award and Army Industrial Operations Safety Award. (U.S. Army photo by Conrad Johnson)

The U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center won the Chief of Staff of the Army Composite Risk Management Award and Army Industrial Operations Safety Award. (U.S. Army photo by Conrad Johnson)

By Dan Lafontaine, RDECOM Public Affairs

The U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center won the Army Exceptional Organization Safety Award. (U.S. Army photo by Tom Faulkner)

The U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center won the Army Exceptional Organization Safety Award. (U.S. Army photo by Tom Faulkner)

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Aug. 28, 2015) — The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command has won three safety awards for fiscal 2014, officials announced. This is the first time that RDECOM has won three Army-level awards in a fiscal year, said Cliff Wendel, RDECOM safety and surety director.

The U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, won two awards. The U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center at Detroit Arsenal, Michigan, earned one award.

Both organizations are part of RDECOM. Maj. Gen. John F. Wharton, commanding general, commended the workforce.

“Army scientists and engineers operate at the leading edge of their fields to develop decisive overmatch capabilities for the Army and the joint warfighter,” Wharton said. “That means our scientists and engineers face some of the Army’s greatest safety hazards outside of combat. That really puts the achievement of the ECBC and TARDEC safety teams in perspective.

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Joint Insensitive Munitions

Researchers, engineers work to improve safety of munitions.

Researchers, engineers work to improve safety of munitions.

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.

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