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Soft Catch System for Large Caliber Ammunition

Description:

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Weapons, 

OBJECTIVE: Design and build a system that can stop large caliber ammunition with minimal damage to the external and internal features and components. 

DESCRIPTION: During various phases of large caliber ammunition development, there is a requirement to assess internal ballistics, strength of design, and function of critical components, requiring a need to perform "soft catch" testing, where the munition can be fired at operational velocities, and captured in a way that does not damage the projectile. This is often needed to assess the performance of munition behavior during setback and the effect on fuze function, or that subcomponents (such as deployable fins) survive firing and launch. Current soft catch methodologies use hay, water, sand, and ballistic gelatin. Although there has been a limited level of success using these methodologies, a significant portion of test munitions are damaged during firing and recovery, which requires additional testing and prototype munitions, causing a medium risk to systems under test, due to increased cost and timelines. The system developed under this effort must be able to consistently catch large caliber ammunition regardless of the features and fill such as pyrophoric white phosphorus, high explosive agents, sensor heads and other electronics, deployable aerodynamic features, submunitions, and depleted uranium (DU) penetrators with minimal damage to munition’s external and internal features. The system developed under this effort must meet the following performance specifications: Stop munitions up to 400 lbs Stop munitions up to 16” in diameter Stop munitions with kinetic energies of 20 MJ at a minimum Must be able to catch and recover up to 10 munitions in a 10 hour period Rugged: • Temperatures from -40 to +140°F • Water and dust proof 

PHASE I: Perform a feasibility study in support of the development of a soft catch system for large caliber ammunition which meets the specifications above. Evaluate innovative technologies which may be used to build, integrate the system and leverage existing technologies. Perform trade-off analysis to determine the best approach to the soft catch system, and develop a preliminary design for the system. Metrics: Develop a model of concept design with detailed analysis and predicted performance. Provide modeling and simulation analysis on key components along with limiting factors of the materials to be used. 

PHASE II: Develop a prototype system. Demonstrate the system technology and characterize its performance. Metrics: design and develop a prototype based on Phase 1 modeling. Prototype must be able to: Stop munitions up to 400 lbs Stop munitions up to 16” in diameter Stop munitions with kinetic energies of 20 MJ at a minimum Must be able to catch and recover up to 10 munitions in a 10 hour period 

PHASE III: The system developed under this topic could be used by other test and training ranges to increase safety and reliability when firing and recovering large caliber ammunition. The system could also be marketed to foreign militaries for use on their training and test ranges. 

REFERENCES: 

1: Technical Manual 43-0001-28, Army Ammunition Data Sheets

KEYWORDS: Artillery, Large Caliber, Soft Catch, Recovery, Internal Ballistics 

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