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Variable-Angle and Optimal Deployment for Anti-Personnel Obstacle Breaching Systems (APOBS)


OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Integrated Sensing and Cyber

The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a technology to identify and set an optimal launch angle for system deployment and develop an engineering solution to minimize geometric shapes in the line charge deployment.

DESCRIPTION: The current Anti-Personnel Obstacle Breaching System (APOBS) consists of grenades, equally spaced on a fabric reinforced detonating cord over-braided in a polyester support structure. It is a self-contained, two-person portable, one-shot expendable linear demolition charge system used by assault elements. The APOBS kit consists of an aluminum shipping and storage container, a front backpack assembly containing a 25-meter front line charge segment, a rear backpack assembly containing a 20-meter rear line charge segment with rear fuze, a rocket motor front fuze assembly, and a MK19 electric squib inside a sealed foil bag or a non-electric initiator (shock-tube) packed in a fabric reinforced, foam lined container.

Currently the launch rod for the APOBS is installed to the front backpack at a static launch angle. During set-up on uneven or hilly terrain, Marines are trained to improvise backpack supports to adjust the angle of the launch rod. This SBIR topic would identify a lightweight engineering design solution and tool to identify and set an optimal launch angle for APOBS rocket motor deployment to prototype an engineering change to the APOBS system to optimize the deployment of the APOBS to minimize geometric shapes.

The optimal deployment of the APOBS' grenades is a straight line. Due to rocket motor thrust, current drogue chute drag or impulse drag of the rear backpack and/or drogue chute, environmental conditions or some unknown factor during deployment results in the grenades deploying with a transverse wave along the detonating cord. This transverse wave can result in arc, u-shape or loops forming along the detonation cord. These non-straight geometric arrangements of the APOBS after deployment may result in unexploded grenades as the grenades detonate from the rear and front fuzes to the center connector.

The technology must meet Threshold requirements = (T)

It is highly desirable that the technology meets Objective requirements = (O)

The system will meet the performance characteristics identified in Reference 1.

Deployment conditions

  1. Emplacement Time:
    1. Shall be capable of being emplaced and fired by a team of no more than two individuals in the delay mode within 120 seconds (T), 30 seconds (O), while wearing the battle dress uniform. The time parameters, though desired, are not required for individuals wearing cold weather and/or Mission Oriented Protective Posture equipment.
  2. Weight
    1. Shall have a maximum system weight (less Shipping & Storage Container) of 130 pounds, where the weight of the Front Backpack by itself and combined weight of the Rear Backpack and Softpack shall each weigh no more than 65 pounds. There shall be one APOBS per Shipping & Storage Container. The weight of one APOBS with one Shipping & Storage Container shall not exceed 230 pounds.

Current Weights:

Current front backpack (59.5 lbs)

Current rear backpack (52.3 lbs)

Current Soft pack (11.0 lbs)

  1. Deployment
    1. Shall have a .95 probability of not exceeding a maximum deviation of plus or minus 15 degrees (T), 10 degrees (O) from the aimed line of fire in a cross wind with a velocity of 15 (T) or 25 (O) miles per hour or less.
    2. Shall have a minimum mission reliability of 0.90 (T), 0.95 (O). If the line charge crosses during deployment and does not consume all energetic components when detonated it is considered a “fratricide” and is counted as a failure.
    3. Shall have a design with an effective range of up to 45m (T, current design); 70m (O).
    4. Shall be effective in clearing terrains up to 40o (T), 60o (O).
    5. If the terrain slope is greater than 18% slope, a tool should be provided to enable the operator to set the optimal launch conditions of the APOBS (T), variable slope up to 45o (O).
    6. Able to be used in all soil types to include gravel, sand, clay, grasslands, and ice.

PHASE I: Develop concepts for APOBS technology that meets the requirements in the Description. Demonstrate the feasibility of the concepts in meeting Marine Corps requirements. Establish that the concepts can be developed into a useful product for the Marine Corps. Feasibility will be established by material testing and analytical modeling, as appropriate. Provide a Phase II development plan with performance goals and key technical milestones, and that will address technical risk reduction.

PHASE II: Develop 30 prototype APOBSs, minimum, for evaluation to determine their capability in meeting the performance goals defined in the Description. Demonstrate technology performance through prototype evaluation and modeling over the required range of parameters. Evaluation results will be used to refine the prototype into an initial design that will meet Marine Corps requirements; and for evaluation to determine their effectiveness in an operationally relevant environment approved by the Government. Prepare a Phase III development plan to transition the technology to Marine Corps use.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Support the Marine Corps in transitioning the technology for Marine Corps use. Support the Marine Corps for test and validation to certify and qualify the system for Marine Corps use. Potential dual-use applications include path/trail clearance and road clearance.


  1. APOBS Product description. Nammo.
  2. “Anti-Personnel Obstacle Breaching System.” Ensign-Bickford Aerospace & Defense.

KEYWORDS: APOBS, breaching, explosive, line charge, mines, obstacles, demolition

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