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Raytheon has new bunker-buster warhead

March 14, 2008 at 4:08 PM   |   Comments

TUCSON, March 14 (UPI) -- U.S. company Raytheon says it has produced a new warhead that can destroy hardened and buried defense bunkers.

Raytheon said in a statement Wednesday it had "developed and tested a new conventional warhead technology to defeat hardened and deeply buried bunkers. The new technology, called Tandem Warhead System, consists of a shaped-charge precursor warhead combined with a follow- through penetrator explosive charge."

"During a Jan. 31 test, the newly developed 1,000-pound-class warhead set a record when it punched through 19 feet, 3 inches of a 20-foot, 330-ton, steel rod-reinforced concrete block rated at 12,600 pounds per square inch compressive strength. In fewer than 10 milliseconds, the explosion delivered into the target more than 110 million foot-pounds of energy via a high- velocity jet of molten metal," Raytheon said.

Raytheon said its "large shape-charged test was the first against a target built to withstand more than 10,000 psi. Most conventional weapons in the same weight class as Raytheon's precursor warhead cannot penetrate targets rated at more than 6,000 psi."

"Bunkers are getting harder and deeper, and high-value ones are extremely well protected," said Harry Schulte, Missile Systems' vice president, Strike product line. "The war fighter has a need for increased capabilities against this challenging target set, but because conventional warheads in the inventory can't meet this requirement, Raytheon self-funded the development of this new warhead."

Raytheon said its engineers used "innovative engineering techniques ... to take the warhead from the drawing board to the proving grounds in fewer than nine months."

"Now that we've demonstrated it's possible to create a conventional warhead that weighs approximately 1,000 pounds and provides unmatched capability, we're looking at scaling the technology," Schulte said. "We believe we can place a warhead that uses this new technology on any strike weapon system in the inventory in 18 months or less."

Raytheon said its engineers believe "Tandem Warhead System, which is lighter and more powerful than current conventional systems, is suited for weapons with long standoff range and greater survivability against enemy threats."

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