By U.S. Army Environmental CommandApril 18, 2008
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Two of the Army's simulation devices just got greener.
Thanks to the efforts of U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's Perchlorate Replacement Team, the ground burst projectile simulator and the hand grenade simulator will be constructed using more environmentally friendly materials.
The M115A2 ground burst projectile simulator and the M116A1 hand grenade simulator will now be produced without perchlorate; an energetic composition used for the flash, bang and whistle effects of the simulators. Instead, they will contain a material comprised of black powder, aluminum, and silica sand.
The simulators are used throughout the Army and the Department of Defense to prepare Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen for the rigors of combat by simulating the stress and confusion of hand grenade and artillery explosions.
The Office of the Secretary of Defense has actively sought opportunities for the reduction of perchlorate in training munitions because it can be a health concern if it gets into the ground water supply.
The M115A2 and M116A1 represent the majority of perchlorate use on training ranges. Replacing perchlorate in the simulators would go a long way toward keeping the chemical out of ground water supplies at Army installations and in surrounding communities.
Transitioning to a new energetic composition for simulation munitions is unprecedented.
"In the past, research has been unable to identify an environmentally benign energetic material for munitions without losing consistent, acceptable performance," said Bill Ruppert, assistant program director for the Perchlorate Replacement Team. "Our research has proven we can eliminate the dependence on perchlorate without sacrificing any capabilities of the devices."
RDECOM plans to apply the research to future projects and replace perchlorate in more simulators, including the M117/M118/M119 family of booby trap simulators and the M274 smoke signature practice warhead.
"This program is just the beginning," said Ruppert. "The results of this research will be leveraged in dozens of other weapons systems."
For their efforts, the RDECOM Perchlorate Replacement Team which includes members from the U.S. Army Armaments Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) Pyrotechnics Branch, the Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center (ECBC), the Army Research Laboratory, and the Army Environmental Command, will receive the Army's highest honor in environmental stewardship - the Secretary of the Army Environmental Award. The award will be conferred on the installation at the Pentagon in a ceremony on April 21st.
This information is provided by The U.S. Army Environmental Command. USAEC is the Army's point organization for supporting the implementation of environmental programs that facilitate sustainable Army training and operations while protecting the environment. We provide environmental program management and technical support products and services in support of Army training operations, acquisition and sound stewardship.
"Sustaining the Environment for a Secure Future"