The Army will take delivery of new artillery rounds which will be safer, but which will also deliver the same performance as those currently used, said an engineer who has tested them.
“Cost, performance and IM” were the deciding factors in the Army choosing IMX-101 to replace trinitrotoluene, called TNT for short, as the explosive material found in artillery shells, said Phil Samuels, a chemical engineer at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.
“IM” or insensitive munitions, is the safety factor that was tested.
“TNT does pretty poorly in IM testing against threats such as bullets, fragments, and shaped-charge impacts and fires,” he said.
The testing is fairly rigorous, Samuels said, simulating worst case situations where enemy fire might impact the TNT or IMX-101 filled rounds.
When normal precautions are followed, the TNT doesn’t pose a significant threat. The Army has been using it for at least 90 years, Samuels said.