Army develops new process for reusing artillery shell casings

The Army will use a special process to demilitarize obsolete 155mm artillery shells that will allow more casings to be reused.

Richard Tomkins
A 155mm artillery shell. Photo by USMC LCpl Nathan Heusdens/Department of Defense
A 155mm artillery shell. Photo by USMC LCpl Nathan Heusdens/Department of Defense

MCALESTER, Okla., Feb. 27 (UPI) -- A U.S. Army ammunition plant has developed a new process to make more recovered 155mm shell bodies viable for reuse as artillery training rounds.

The new process changes how the shell's base plate is removed, leaving its threads intact.


The obsolete D563, recovered from a demilitarization process, is then repacked with Insensitive Munition Explosive-101, or IMX-101, instead of TNT and Composition B. The result is the round is less likely to detonate if in a fire, hit by another munition or mishandled during transport, said the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, which manufactures M1122 high explosive munitions.

"The new 'soft touch' of the manual download line will allow us to use almost all of the downloaded projectiles for M1122 and other programs that reuse those bodies," said Scott Sullivan, M1122 project manager at MCAAP.

"The value is that units get more training for their training dollars," he said. "It's basically half the price. It's also environmentally friendly and it's an insensitive munition, which means it's safer to store, transport and handle. It could also be used by other military services."

The new "soft touch" download process will be instituted in March.


The program is financed by the Project Manager for Combat Ammunition Systems in coordination with Product Manager for Demilitarization. It is believed its use will save the Army about $79 million annually through the reuse of the shell casings.

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