By Picatinny Arsenal engineers Anthony Di Stasio, Philip Samuels and Charlie Patel
How will this new explosive help our servicemembers?
1. Lethality: IMX-101 has the same energy level and lethality as TNT. It’s also just as accurate, because the new round maintains the same ballistics as a TNT-loaded round.
2. Fieldability: Projectiles with the new explosive are scheduled for production in the form of 1,200 155mm M795 artillery rounds. They can be deployed to Soldiers as early as next year. Picatinny engineers estimate the explosive will replace TNT entirely within the next 10 years.
3. Compatibility: Because it’s compatible with existing 155mm propellants and fuzes, the warfighter doesn’t have to relearn how to load the round or fire it. It’s essentially the same process. His weapon is the same, the round is the same – the only difference is the new chemicals inside it. The new explosive is also being fitted for other projectiles in the 155mm and 105mm family.
4. Safety: IMX-101 is less sensitive to “unplanned stimuli” – such as rocket propelled grenades, improvised explosive devices and extreme high temperatures. Thus, if a truck carrying a full load of these rounds was hit by an IED, for example, the entire load wouldn’t detonate and destroy the whole supply and the crew members. The damage would be contained to only the rounds hit by the IED, and even then, those rounds wouldn’t fully detonate. If they were subject to liquid fuel fire, the explosive material would burn quickly and melt from the top of the round, and the shell would remain intact.
5. Availability: Because it’s less sensitive, the warfighter doesn’t have to maintain nearly the distance as he would from a TNT supply. He can be much closer to his ammunition; he can even keep his weapon, ammunition and propellant in the same area, which can’t be done with TNT because of its extreme sensitivity.