Chapter IV. Technology Development
Army Science and Technology Master Plan (ASTMP 1997)


I. Conventional Weapons

1. Scope

The ultimate goal of all weapons systems is to destroy the target. The Conventional Weapons Technology area develops conventional armaments for all new and upgraded non-nuclear weapons. It includes efforts directed specifically toward non-nuclear munitions, their components, and launching systems, guns, rockets and guided missiles, projectiles, special warfare munitions, mortars, mines, countermine systems, and their associated combat control. There are six major subareas: (1) Fuzing—Safe and Arm, (2) Guidance and Control, (3) Guns, (4) Mines/Countermines, (5) Warheads/Explosives and Rocket/Missile Propulsion, and (6) Weapon Lethality/Vulnerability.

2. Rationale

The Conventional Weapons Technology Area strongly supports the needs of the Army in both tactical and strategic mission areas. It responds to the Army’s operational needs for cost-effective system upgrades and next generation systems in support of the top five Joint Staff future warfighting capabilities. Performance objectives focus on projecting lethal or less than lethal force precisely against an enemy with minimal friendly casualties and collateral damage. Objectives address the need for affordable all-weather, day-night precision strike against critical mobile and fixed targets; all-weather defense against aircraft, ballistic missiles, and very-low-observable cruise missiles; an effective mine detection and neutralization capability to permit movement of forces on land; more lethal/lighter weight gun/missile systems to support current and advanced air/land combat vehicles; vehicle self-defense systems; and lightweight, high-performance gun systems for artillery applications.

Conventional weapons technologies, when developed and demonstrated, have both an excellent historical record of transition and many future transition opportunities. Examples of the latter include systems currently under development [Javelin, Line-of-Sight Anti-Tank (LOSAT), Enhanced Fiber-Optic Guided Missile (EFOG-M)]; potential upgrades to existing systems (Patriot fuze); and potential new systems [Intelligent Mine Field (IMF), Crusader, Precision Guided Mortar Munition (PGMM), Autonomous Intelligent Submunition (AIS), 155mm Automated Howitzer (AH), Extended Range Artillery Projectile (ERA), and Low Collateral Damage/Less than Lethal (LCD/LTL) munitions].

Dual-use applications include use of fuze technology to provide aircraft precision altimeters, accelerometers for automobile airbag release, and automobile collision avoidance sensors; countermine technology to provide de-mining in affected areas; guidance and control technology to provide real-time medical imaging; new explosives for oil well drilling; and nonlethal technologies for law enforcement.

3. Technology Subareas

a. Fuzing—Safe and Arm

Goals and Time Frames

Fuzing—Safe & Arm technologies address issues associated with advanced future threats, both air and surface. Primary emphasis is on advanced sensors, signal processing algorithms, guidance integrated fuzing, Global Positioning System (GPS), miniaturized solid-state components, countermeasure resistance, electronic safe and arm, reliability, and affordability. Major products include a second launch environment sensor demonstration in FY96; laboratory prototypes of long stand-off fuzing for Active Protection Systems (APS) defeat in FY97; a Guidance Integrated Fuze (GIF) demo in FY97; an ECM/EMI resistant All-up Round Fuze demonstration in FY98; and algorithms to direct and fuze aimable warheads in FY99.

Major Technical Challenges

The primary technical challenges for guidance integrated fuzing are in the areas of simulation and modeling, sensor and signal processing, target characterization, and testing. The challenge for gun munitions is to develop affordable fuzes that will function at the desired point in an adverse environment [electronic countermeasures/electromagnetic interference (ECM/EMI), obscured targets, cluttered battlefield].

Specific challenges:

b. Guidance and Control

Goals and Time Frames

Guidance and Control (G&C) of conventional weapons is the application of sensors, computational capability, and specific force generation that allows a weapon to engage both fixed and moving targets with improved accuracy and lethality while minimizing collateral damage and casualties. The major milestones are as follows: By FY97, complete the evaluation of data compression methods that minimize error rates on an automatic target recognizer (ATR). By FY98, demonstrate performance gains in ATR from multispectral sensor identification of aircraft utilizing high range resolution radar profiles, electronic support measures, and jet engine modulation. By FY98, complete hardware-in-the-loop evaluation of prototype guidance sections of 2.75-inch precision guided rockets. By FY98, demonstrate, through simulation and both sled and flight testing, a man-in-the-loop fiber-optic guided missile system with a 40 km range. By FY99, demonstrate a low-cost, ultraminiature, manufacturable fiber-optic gyro. By FY00, demonstrate a strapdown laser seeker for a precision guided 2.75-inch rocket.

Specific challenges:

Major Technical Challenges

G&C technologies, involving guidance information and signal processing, inertial sensors and control systems, and missile system sensors and seekers, present three major technical challenges: precision guidance of small diameter weapons, enhanced target acquisition including masked target detection, and operational performance measures for multispectral missile seekers. Responding to these challenges will require the infusion of a number of emerging technologies that are not currently in the G&C program. The G&C program is coordinated with the technical objectives in the Manufacturing Technology program to achieve manufacturing and producibility goals and extensive use of simulation is made to reduce overall R&D costs.

c. Guns—Conventional and Electric

Goals and Time Frames

The Guns subarea develops both conventional and electric gun technologies for all new and upgraded gun systems (small arms, mortars, air/surface combat vehicles, tanks, and artillery). It includes efforts directed toward future, advanced, generic technologies and system technologies for small, medium, and large calibers, including barrel/launcher, ammunition/projectile, power supply and conditioning, weapon mechanism/ammunition feeder, propellants/ignition systems, and fire control. Products include the Objective Crew-Served Combat Weapon demo in FY97; low collateral damage/less-than-lethal munition demo in FY97; a demo for a large footprint munition and sensor concept (Damocles) in FY97; the LAH demo in FY98; and the Precision Guided Mortar Munition demo in FY99.

Major Technical Challenges

Major challenges include improving hit probability and lethality on target, extending the maximum range, reducing the weight of the total system, all-weather operation, and reduced barrel wear. Advances in composites, new propellant initiatives, and sophisticated electronics hold promise of overcoming many of these challenges.

Specific challenges:

d. Mines and Countermine

Goals and Time Frames

The Mines/Countermine subarea includes all efforts pertaining to the development or improvement of land mines, and all efforts pertaining to detecting, marking, breaching, neutralizing, or clearing land mines. The major products include the Intelligent Mine Field (IMF) demonstrating long-range detection/tracking and autonomous, intelligent attack of mobile targets by FY98; a two- to fourfold improvement in individual mine detection for anti-personnel mines and neutralization capability by FY99; a portable, stand-off detector and neutralizer for buried antitank and anti-personnel non-metallic mines at maneuver speeds in FY00; and demonstration of high-speed reconnaissance and breaching of minefields in FY05.

Major Technical Challenges

Major technical challenges include the ability of acoustic sensors to accurately identify and track targets, the maturation of sensor fusion algorithms, and the implementation of tactical response algorithms. Mine detection, neutralization, and minefield breaching have challenges: rapid detection of mines (most false alarms eliminated) and the requirement for 100 percent assurance of removal, destruction, or neutralization.

Specific challenges:

e. Warheads/Explosives and Rocket/Missile Propulsion

Goals and Time Frames

The Warheads/Explosives and Rocket/Missile Propulsion subarea develops conventional warheads, explosives, and rocket/missile propellants for anti-air, anti-surface warfare. It includes efforts directed specifically toward advanced non-nuclear warhead concepts, advanced kill mechanisms employing multi-option warheads, new warhead materials, material process techniques, analytical design tools, advanced explosives, and adaptable, minimum smoke, insensitive propellants for rockets and missiles. Products include a demo for a focused reactive frag warhead in FY98; a FY00 demo of liquid propellants to combine the specific impulse and energy management of liquids with the field handling simplicity of solids; demonstration of more energetic explosive formulations; and a 90 percent reduction in the emissions from explosive processing and demilitarization by FY05.

Major Technical Challenges

The major challenge is to provide affordable performance optimized and matched to a broad range of targets and intercept conditions, while maintaining or reducing the weight and size of the warhead/rocket. Promising new materials, such as tantalum, molybdenum, and tungsten, may provide dramatic improvements in warhead lethality. The challenge is to understand the relationship between microstructure and plastic flow of tantalum, upset forging optimization of tungsten, and parametric process variations in molybdenum/tungsten alloys. Higher performance requires more compact, higher energy density insensitive explosive formulations.

Specific challenges:

f. Weapon Lethality/Vulnerability

Goals and Time Frames

Weapon Lethality/Vulnerability (L/V) refers to the science of understanding the mechanisms by which a warhead or other ballistic mechanism can defeat a target. Vulnerability, a characteristic of a target, describes the effects of various damage mechanisms to the physical components of the target and the resulting dysfunction. Lethality, normally used from the perspective of the attacking weapon, includes the ability of the weapon to inflict the damage mechanisms upon the target, as well as the effects of those mechanisms (target vulnerability). The L/V subarea addresses the tools, methods, data bases, and supporting technologies (e.g., solid geometric modeling tools, modern coding environments, supportive hardware configurations) needed to assess the lethality and vulnerability of all U.S. weapon systems including aspects of design, effectiveness, and survivability. Products include incorporation of tri-Service fragmentation and blast models in FY97 and FY99, respectively; and a tenfold decrease in software preparation time in FY05.

Major Technical Challenges

The biggest challenge is to begin the complex task at the earliest possible stage in the weapon development or upgrade cycle, where inexpensive changes can lead to large increases in the survivability of crew and materiel and enhanced battlefield performance. To complicate matters, new penetrators (e.g., hypervelocity missiles, top attack systems, tactical ballistic missiles) must be modeled against an increasing list of sophisticated targets with new materials and novel armor designs.

Specific challenges:

4. Roadmap of Technology Objectives

The roadmap of technology objectives for Conventional Weapons is shown in Table IV-I-1, below.

Table IV-I-1 Technical Objectives for Conventional Weapons

Table IV-I-1 Technical Objectives for Conventional Weapons cont.