Insensitive munitions

War News Updates is a blog that is engaged in quantity production of blog posts, with strongly toned-down selectivity. Still, at times there's some noteworthy post, as this one about insensitive munitions:

The technology isn't all that spectacular. They apparently decided to use some insensitive explosive that does not blow up on petty influences such as a bullet penetrating the metal casing at 800 m/sec and they did something about the fuze that keeps it from blowing up when hit as well.

Insensitive munitions with explosives (and if I remember correctly also propellant) that do not blow up when not supposed to are an old story. There's no clear line to be drawn between sensitive and insensitive munitions as far as I know.

The disaster on the carrier USS Forrestal in 1967 for example was so bad because old bombs were involved, while more modern bomb types wouldn't have cooked off in the fire so quickly.
"Insensitive munitions"  as a term has appeared in published journals very often since the mid-90's at the very latest (that's what I remember).

The employment of insensitive munitions is often times a huge improvement (that doesn't get the same attention as fancy electronic gadgets do), but it's not a complete solution to the problem of secondary effects. Many such insensitive munitions don't blow up (I think there's no need to show a photo of a T-72 with its turret upside-down 20 m away, right?), but burn instead. Burning munitions can still be really, really bad news, too.

So insensitive munitions are an improvement and deserve attention as such. Many small innovations providing unspectacular improvements such as insensitive munitions do can make the difference between a sound, robust army and an army suitable for parades only. The same cannot be said of most fancy electronics.
The individual progress achieved with IM does not necessarily live up to the hopes of their users, though. War stays shitty and is a hell hole for many people involved.


S Ortmann

No comments:

Post a Comment