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M433 40mm Cartridge High-explosive dual purpose (HEDP)

The High-explosive dual purpose (HEDP) round has an olive drab aluminum skirt with a steel cup attached, white markings, and a gold ogive; it penetrates at least 5 cm (2 inches) when fired straight at steel armor. It arms between 14 and 27 meters, and it causes casualties within a 5-meter radius.

The existing M433 series HEDP cartridge (DoDIC B546) used in the M203 Grenade Launcher was developed and fielded in the late 1960s. It does not meet the current Insensitive Munitions (IM) requirements; its dispersion characteristics are less than satisfactory, and it has a long history of safety-related malfunctions.

Over the past several years several technological advances have been achieved in 40mm low- velocity ammunition. Many NATO Allies have fielded cartridges made by European and Canadian manufacturers that employ technology and safety features that provide marked improvements over the current M433 cartridge configuration. These designs offer the ability to employ dud-reducing fuze technology, increased accuracy, and new propellents.

40mm High Explosive Dual Purpose (HEDP) Improvement

In 2004 the Marine Corps received funding from the Office of the Secretary of Defense to execute a Foreign Comparative Test (FCT) program on a 40mm lowvelocity, high-explosive, dual-purpose (HEDP) cartridge. The FCT program is designed to take advantage of this foreign technology and couple it with the US improvements in IM-complaint energetics that will provide the warfighter with a safer and more lethal round. The FCT Program initially evaluated several rounds.

The Nico Pyrotechnik/Rhinemetall DM12 is a German-made cartridge was type classified by the Germany Ministry of Defense in 1998. The cartridge uses a coppershaped charge cone inside a pre-fragmented body and a base fuze with a mechanical self-destruct mechanism.

The SNC TEC/ARGES HE-DP92 cartridge is a product of a partnership between the Canadian firm (SNC TEC) and an Austrian company (Armaturen-Gesellschaft M.B.H (ARGES). This cartridge has been type-qualified by several NATO Allies, including the Netherlands Army and Ireland. This design employs a shaped charge warhead with prefragmented steel balls and a base fuze with pyrotechnic self-destruct mechanism.

Cartridges were procured from each of these companies and subjected to rigorous side-by-side testing along with baseline comparisons to the M433 cartridge. The cartridge that provides the best value to the Marine Corps in terms of performance, large-scale producibility to high- quality standards, and cost will be qualified and fielded for use. This FCT effort was expected to take less than 2 years to complete in order to incorporate the US IM explosives into the foreign designs, down-select to the best design, and to conduct the MIL-STD 2105B testing required to qualify the cartridge for use. This was a "test-to-procure" effort with production and fielding scheduled for fiscal year 2007.

The Marine Corps (joint w/USSOCOM) 40mm High Explosive Dual Purpose (HEDP) Improvement project will integrate and evaluate an improved propulsion propellant "after armor" effect technology and a standardized fuze interface into a 40mm HEDP cartridge for use in both the MK19 Grenade Machine Gun and MK47 Advanced Lightweight Grenade Launcher. NAMMO of Norway developed the warhead and standardized fuze interface, Nico-Pyrotechnik of Germany developed the propulsion system, and Nitrochemie AG of Switzerland developed the propellant for the cartridge to be evaluated. In FY 2004 the effort conducted fuze variations, IM compliant warhead, cartridge testing, and initiated integration tests of sub-assemblies. In FY 2005, upon completion of technical testing, the system integrator (NAMMO) conducted integration testing of the components to ensure the performance of the cartridge meets the key performance parameters. The testing will include safety and environmental testing as well as an evaluation on production mechanics of the integrated design. Upon completion of the integration testing, the project will conduct testing necessary to determine the cartridge's ability to meet the requirements of MIL-STD 2105B. Finally, upon completion of the safety/environmental testing, the project will conduct user evaluations for both the Mk19 and Mk47 weapon systems to ensure the cartridge functions to standard in the intended environment. Procurement decision was projected for 2nd quarter, FY 2006.





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