ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- The U.S. Army's Edgewood Chemical Biological Center is reintroducing 54,000 obscurant projectiles into Army and Marine Corps inventories.

ECBC's Obscuration and Nonlethal Engineering (ONE) Branch and the Pyrotechnics and Explosives Branch (PEB) redesigned and tested the projectiles before making them available for reuse.

Equipment that does not pass the testing phases often cannot be salvaged, but this reintroduction is critical because it provides significant resource savings for the Department of Defense.

"At ECBC, we are problem-solvers," said Robert Plank, a mechanical engineer with the ONE Branch.

"We were able to get the rework of the projectile back on schedule for the customer. The project would normally take two years to complete, but we were able to get it done in less than six months and at less cost to the government," Plank said.

The M825A1 projectile is designed to produce a smoke screen on the ground that lasts five to 15 minutes.

In September 2008, a random sampling of reworked projectiles failed during a test at the Army's Dugway Proving Ground, Utah. Plank witnessed that test and requested the failed projectile canisters be recovered and sent to ECBC for evaluation.

"Based on our knowledge of smokes and the projectile material, I was confident we would find the cause of the failure," Plank said.

A PEB team analyzed several failed projectile canisters and discovered that a part called pyrofoil was not functioning as intended. It was determined that a different igniter would work best. After the new design, instructions and specifications were sent to the ONE Branch to begin testing, which included fuse safety, temperature extremes, gun shock, vibration and burn time.

Since the first successful safety tests in July 2011, approximately 30,000 projectiles have been put back into the Army's inventory. Rework production and lot acceptance testing will continue until the full recapitalization is completed (expected by June 2015), bringing the total recapped equipment to 54,000, with 7,500 purchased by the Marine Corps for their use for the first time.

For more information about ECBC, visit http://www.ecbc.army.mil/.


ECBC is the Army's principal research and development center for chemical and biological defense technology, engineering and field operations. ECBC has achieved major technological advances for the warfighter and for our national defense, with a long and distinguished history of providing the Armed Forces with quality systems and outstanding customer service. ECBC is a U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command laboratory located at the Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. For more information about the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, please visit our website at http://www.ecbc.army.mil or call (410) 436-7118.