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Boom: The Army Just Invented a Newer, Deadlier Artillery Round

Kris Osborn

(Washington, D.C.) The Army Research Laboratory is now engineering new rocket, missile and artillery rounds able to destroy groups of mobile enemy fighters, incinerate armored vehicles and eliminate structures with a single munition -- at all much longer ranges than currently deployed weapons can fire.

The ARL is currently immersed in cutting edge research, using 3D printing, to develop new metal alloys, weapons casings and design geometries to increase range and lethality for the Army’s emerging Long Range Precision Fires program;

“Additive manufacturing (3D printing) can take weight out of certain components, create complex geometries inside things and create complex fragmentation patterns,” Dr. Brandon A. McWilliams, Materials Engineer, Lead for Metals Added Manufacturing, Army Research Lab, Combat Capabilities Development Command, told Warrior in an interview, Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md.

The Army’s now underway LRPF program is grounded in an effort to engineer a host of new technologies to massively extend range, blast effects and guidance technology for artillery, rockets and missiles, among other weapons. One of the weapons now being prototyped, called the Precision Strike Missile, or PrSM, is a surface to surface missile that can reach ranges up to 500km. This kind of weapon naturally impacts the tactical and strategic equation as it will enable ground forces to destroy enemy targets at much greater ranges, therefore keeping attacking forces at safer standoff distances; it could attack fixed enemy structures, troop locations and other assets such as air defenses to facilitate U.S. air superiority over hostile airspace.

“We have many different experiments that are going on for Long-Range Precision Fires,” Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Joseph Martin told Warrior in an interview last Fall.

The LRPF will replace the aging Army Tactical Missile System.

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