Monthly Emerging Technology Scan (METS): June 2017
Miniaturised Ammunition Fuzes
The US Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Centre (ARDEC) are advancing Component Miniaturization for ammunition fuzes. Projectiles require a fuzing mechanism to detonate a munition only when specific conditions are met (such as after the projectile has been fired from a weapon). Current fuze technology uses mechanical safe and arming timing mechanisms to slowly rotate detonators into position to then initiate the explosive train to detonate the munition.
ARDEC is developing smaller and more reliable fuzes that use Micro-Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) components. MEMS components significantly reduce the size of the fuze which then creates additional space within the projectile for other applications.
The additional space available in a projectile could be utilised in three beneficial ways;
- Allows a projectile to carry additional High Explosive (HE) thereby enhancing its destructive ability.
- For a missile type of munition (such as Javelin), it allows a projectile to carry more propellant, thereby increasing its range.
- Allows a projectile to carry a guidance system that could then enhance its accuracy.
BAE systems in the UK have developed a titanium bendable alloy for use in armoured vehicle suspension systems. The alloy uses the same type of material found in flexible spectacle frames, meaning that it can bounce back to its original shape. BAE systems are developing vehicle suspension systems for armoured vehicles using this technology to enhance vehicle blast protection and survivability.
The aim of using memory metal in a vehicle suspension system is to maintain a level of mobility for a vehicle after a blast event. This would then allow a vehicle to continue to drive through an ambush or contact site and then self deploy to a repair facility rather than be recovered by another vehicle.
SpectroDrone – Explosive detecting UAV Technology
The Israeli Technology Company Laser Detect Systems (LDS) has developed the SpectroDrone a UAV which uses laser spectrometry-based trace detection technology for the detection of explosives and IED materials. The UAV has a range of 3km, however the detection range for explosives remains classified.
This type of system has application for force protection and situational awareness of ground forces. By mounting the detection technology in a UAV the effects of difficult terrain to conceal explosive devices can be reduced. The technology can also be mounted on other platforms such as unmanned ground vehicles.
Written by LTCOL Duncan Foster, Emerging Threats and Opportunities (ETO) Section
About the ETO Section:
The ETO Section identifies emerging threats and opportunities in technology, encouraging and promoting professional discussion and debate about their potential implications for future land warfare.
Whether you’re interested in miniaturised ammunition fuzes, memory metals or explosive detecting UAVs, this month’s METS has something for you.
As part of the ongoing efforts to refine and improve its understanding of the future operating environment, Army invites comments, encourages questions and the exchange of ideas relating to the implications of these or other emerging technologies (including ones you think we should be aware of). Please send all responses to: future.landwarfare [at] defence.gov.au (subject: METS%20Comment)
The Emerging Threats and Opportunities section of the Australian Army Research Centre explores the applications and implications of emerging technology and trends.
The views expressed in this article and subsequent comments are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government. Further information.