News 1998 Army Science and Technology Master Plan

8. Conventional Weapons

The ASTMP Chapter IV includes milestones for extending the range and lethality of conventional artillery and antiarmor rounds. Conventional weapons objectives are directed towards a variety of technologies for increasing the lethality and mission effectiveness of guided and unguided weapons and mines. Russia, France, Germany, and the U.K. are major developers of conventional weapons, followed closely in capability by Italy, Sweden, and Israel. Japan, which is prohibited by its national legislation from exporting weapons, has significant indigenous capabilities as well as strong capabilities in certain lay component technologies such as gallium arsenide (GaAs) microwave components and neural net and fuzzy logic pattern recognition, and hypervelocity propulsion.

Armor and antiarmor technologies represent a special subset of operational capabilities toward which many of the subtechnology developments discussed below will be directed. Technologies of interest will include improved lethal mechanisms, advanced sensing techniques for optional delivery of the lethal mechanisms, and better methods of M&S of weapons effects and system vulnerabilities. Army objectives for improvements in tungsten alloy penetrators may be furthered by cooperation with other countries, including the U.K. and France. France has strong capabilities in explosives and propulsion systems, including air–breathing hypervelocity propulsion systems. Japan has also taken steps to improve its technological capabilities in aerospace materials and aerodynamic design for hypersonic propulsion systems. Both of these could contribute to development of long–range hypervelocity systems for the Army.

Opportunities are to be found in a variety of subareas identified in the ASTMP Volume I, Chapter IV, as illustrated in the Table E–11.

Table E–11.  International Research Capabilities—Conventional Weapons


United Kingdom




Asia/Pacific Rim


Other Countries

Fuzing, Safing, & Arming 2s.gif (968 bytes) Overall 2s.gif (968 bytes) Overall 2s.gif (968 bytes) Overall 4s.gif (949 bytes) Components     Italy

5s.gif (958 bytes)

Guidance & Control 2s.gif (968 bytes) Overall 2s.gif (968 bytes) Overall 2s.gif (968 bytes) Overall 4s.gif (949 bytes) Components     Israel, Sweden

5s.gif (958 bytes)

Guns—Conventional & Electric 1s.gif (931 bytes) ETC gun 2s.gif (968 bytes) Overall 1s.gif (931 bytes) ETC gun   Australia, ROK

5s.gif (958 bytes) Rail guns


5s.gif (958 bytes) Overall


2s.gif (968 bytes) ETC gun

Mines & Countermines 2s.gif (968 bytes) Overall 2s.gif (968 bytes) Overall 2s.gif (968 bytes) Overall     Russia

2s.gif (968 bytes) Overall

Italy, Canada

2s.gif (968 bytes)

Warheads, Explosives, & Rocket/Missile Propulsion 2s.gif (968 bytes) Overall 2s.gif (968 bytes) Overall

4s.gif (949 bytes) Hypervelocity propulsion

2s.gif (968 bytes) Vehicle integration 4s.gif (949 bytes) Hypervelocity propulsion   Russia

2s.gif (968 bytes) Overall


2s.gif (968 bytes) BMD missile

Sweden, Switzerland

5s.gif (958 bytes)

Weapon Lethality & Vulnerability 2s.gif (968 bytes) 2s.gif (968 bytes) 2s.gif (968 bytes)        
Note: See Annex E, Section A.6 for explanation of key numerals.

The following examples illustrate international cooperative programs that might contribute to meeting Army objectives.

a. Safing, Arming, Fuzing, and Firing

Any country with an armaments industry can produce simple contact, time, and proximity sensing fuzes. Capabilities to contribute to advanced fuzing for programmable/smart ordnance and aimable warheads and look–down/shoot–down antiarmor weapons, are primarily in the United Kingdom and France, with possible niche capabilities residing in Germany, Italy, and Sweden.

As noted previously, while Japan is generally prohibited by its constitution from export sales of weapons, there are a number of specific areas where Japanese technology might enhance U.S. Army safing, arming, fuzing, and firing (SAFF) capabilities. These include optical and IR lasers and detectors, millimeter–wave (MMW) components, and ANN and fuzzy logic for use in target detection and aimpoint selection logic.

b. Guidance and Control

Germany, the United Kingdom, and France, have leading capabilities in terminal guidance and control. Germany was involved in the design of a MMW seeker for the advanced precision–guided munition (APGM) prior to that program’s cancellation. Sweden (e.g., the Bofors BILL) and Israel (Arrow) both have demonstrated capabilities in terminal guidance and control.

c. Guns—Conventional and Electric

Advanced gun technology is an important component of the Army’s R&D program. Weapons able to deliver effective payloads from longer range and with greater accuracy give a well–trained soldier a decisive advantage on the modern battlefield. Current propulsion technology is focused in three areas: advanced solid propellants, EMP (rail gun) and electrothermal chemical (ETC) propulsion.

The United States currently has an active EM launch technology development program in cooperation with a strong program in the United Kingdom. The United States leads in the difficult challenge of developing an electric power generation unit capable of producing the required pulsed power within the confinements of a vehicle. The Netherlands and Germany have small–scale research in this area. Korea is starting a development effort in this area but has yet to develop a significant capability. Several countries are working toward integrating electric power units into vehicles.

d. Mines and Countermines

Humanitarian concerns have led to increasing international pressures to outlaw land mines. At the same time, mines are seen by military forces worldwide as meeting critical mission needs. The growing global concern about increased proliferation of mines and countermine capabilities point to the need for international development and adoption of new design standards and mine clearing capabilities.

The technological solution—more intelligent mines and minefields—is of global interest. Opportunities for cooperation in intelligent mine/minefield technologies will be found in countries that couple historical capabilities in state–of–the–art land mines with strong capabilities in advanced sensors and electronics, such as the U.K. and France, followed closely by Italy and Germany. Canada is doing substantial work in the subarea of mines and countermines. There is currently an MOU between CECOM and its Canadian defense laboratories counterpart in staffing to expand cooperation. Russia has been a major operational user of land mines and should have substantial empirical experience from which to draw.

e. Warheads, Explosives, and Rocket/Missile Propulsion

A number of countries (including certain developing countries) have some capability of producing standard explosives such as TNT, RDX, nitroglycerin, ammonium perchlorate, metal fuels, hydrazine, and related compounds for military use. The U.S., France, the U.K., and Japan are the world leaders in formulation and production of advanced explosives and propellants.

Advances in hypersonic/hypervelocity (Mach 6–8), shortening engagement cycle times, and increasing system lethality threat handling capabilities will enhance close combat and short–range air defense missions. The development of hypervelocity vehicles depends greatly on advanced rocket propulsion techniques, as well as advances in airframe design and guidance and control. Advances in propulsion technology (specifically air–breathing propulsion) are necessary to support near–term objectives of U.S. Army missile development programs.

Japan, Germany, and France, followed closely by the U.K. and Russia, have significant experience in the design, manufacture, and testing of air–breathing rocket motors and components. Japan has initiated a broad–based initiative to develop materials and structural/aerodynamic design techniques for hypervelocity transport, the results of which could contribute to this effort. The focus of efforts is towards a multimission kinetic energy missile capable of being launched from multiple light platforms and hitting a target with 3–5 times the kinetic energy of tank cannons.

f. Weapon Lethality and Vulnerability

Two overarching security concerns effect cooperation in this area. The first is the potential compromise of U.S. intelligence collection sources and methods in programs dealing with lethality against specific foreign weapons. The second is operational security of information relating to vulnerabilities of U.S. weapons that might be exploited by a potential adversary to defeat or degrade U.S. systems. Within the limits imposed by these concerns, however, there may be opportunities for cooperative programs. In some cases, foreign participation may fill gaps in U.S. program capabilities. The U.K., France, and Germany all have strong programs in M&S of weapons effects as well as extensive empirical databases. These countries have capabilities in armored systems, with France having a particular niche capability in helicopter structural survivability.

For conventional weapons:

AMC POC: Dr. Rodney Smith
Army Materiel Command
5001 Eisenhower Blvd.
Alexandria, VA 22333–0001

For hypervelocity propulsion:

IPOC: Mr. Thomas K. Lambert
Scty. Asst. Mgt. Dir
U.S. Army Missile Command
Redstone Arsenal, AL 35898–5210

For ETC:

IPOC: Mr. Stephen Cohn
Army Research Laboratory
2800 Powder Mill Road
Adelphi, MD 20783–1197

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