Feb. 15 (UPI) -- U.S. Army engineers have designed a 105mm low blast overpressure muzzle brake for the M119 howitzer platform.
The muzzle brake is the first large-caliber device of its kind to be developed for an existing gun system. Low blast overpressure muzzle brakes, or LBOPs, are typically designed for new cannon designs. Army engineers say the device makes the M119 howitzer more effective on the battlefield by sharply reducing the weapon's recoil.
"It is important to the warfighter because it allows them to be more lethal by sustaining a higher number of rounds fired per day because the blast overpressure from this new muzzle brake that is experienced by the artilleryman is significantly lower," LBOP program leader Alan Ng explained in a press release.
Ng went on to add the enhancements also make the M119 quieter and safer to fire.
"The reduction in impulse noise varies between 13 percent to 48 percent at various quadrant elevations and crew locations," he said.
The M119 howitzer is a light artillery weapon also used by the British army. In the United States, it is currently fielded with all regular Army and National Guard infantry brigade combat teams.
The muzzle brake is able to reduce the recoil and noise production associated with the gun by redirecting propellant gasses to the back of the weapon. Army engineers say the process is similar to the thrust reversal used during the landing of a jet plane with the engines redirect exhaust forward to slow the aircraft's momentum.