The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Armaments Center at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ is working to develop technologies to mitigate the violent reaction of a 120 mm warhead, loaded with an aluminized HMX-based enhanced blast explosive, when subjected to the NATO Insensitive Munitions (IM) Fragment Impact (FI) test. As per NATO STANAG 4496, FI testing is conducted at 8300±300 ft/s with a 0.563” diameter, L/D~1, 160˚ conical nosed mild steel fragment. Reaction violence resulting from FI can be mitigated by the use of liners or barriers applied to the munition itself or its packaging, commonly referred to as a Particle Impact Mitigation Sleeves (PIMS). Previous development efforts for this item focused on a lightweight plastic warhead support which was able to reduce the severity of the input shock sufficiently to prevent high order detonation. However, violent sub-detonative responses were still observed which occurred over several hundred microseconds, consumed part of the explosive charge, and ejected hazardous debris over large distances. These responses are driven by rapid combustion coupled with damage to the explosive as well as mechanical confinement. Quantitative modeling of these scenarios is a challenging active research area. Prior experimental results and modeling guidance have shown that mitigation of these reactions requires a more substantial reduction in the overall mechanical insult to the explosive. In particular, steel and aluminum PIMS have been able to efficiently provide the necessary fragment velocity reduction, breakup and dispersion in typical packaging applications. Packaged warheads were tested at the GD-OTS Rock Hill facility with several PIMS designs incorporated into the ammunition containers. Several designs were demonstrated to provide benign reactions with minimal added weight. Future iterations will attempt to further improve the design using advanced lightweight barrier materials.

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