ARLINGTON, Va., Aug. 12 (UPI) -- A new material that could replace steel in warhead casings and bring added power and accuracy is being tested by the U.S. Office of Naval Research.
ONR said that by combining several metals with standard manufacturing techniques, High-Density Reactive Material has the potential to dramatically increase the explosive impact of most weapons with little or no compromise in strength or design.
ONR has been developing and testing high-density reactive materials for fragmenting warheads for five years. The results of the investments have the potential to place the Navy on the edge of revolutionary change in ordnance design and effectiveness.
Unlike conventional munitions, the innovative materials approach integrates the casing with approved warhead explosives for increased lethality. Also, the unique design for fragmenting warheads allows release of chemical energy after impact, increasing the probability of a catastrophic kill.
"Recent testing and demonstrations have consistently shown that the new casings can be integrated into naval missiles and are durable enough to withstand both high acceleration of missile launch and the forces exposed to during the detonation event," said Clifford Bedford, ONR's energy conversion program officer.
"The HDRM fragments can penetrate a target's skin, followed by a rapid and sustained combustion/explosion."
The last test shots were fired at the Army's Blossom Point Field Test Facility in Maryland at the end of June.
ONR is planning additional test shots this month and a large-scale demonstration against multiple stationary targets is planned for September.