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M85 dual-purpose bomblet

The Israeli military Industries [IMI] developed M85 dual-purpose bomblet is a product outstanding by virtue of its unique self-destruct mechanism. This important safety feature is designed to ensure that no armed duds will be left on the battlefield to endanger advancing friendly troops. The sensitive bomblet fuse functions at steep impact angles and low impact velocities, even against soft targets, ensuring that the bomblet will detonate on impact. As a result of Israeli Defence Force experience, where own troops casualties have occurred as a result of the mishandling of unexploded M85 bomblets, by 1998 Israeli military Industries had developed and incorporated addition safety features to the sub-munition. It now has a unique self destruct device which significantly reduces the chance of finding unexploded bomblets ahead of advancing troops; a safety mechanism which makes it impossible manually to arm duds inadvertently, and a highly sensitive impact fuse which functions at steep angles of impact and at lower impact velocities. The self-destruct mechanism ensures that no hazardous duds are encountered by advancing friendly forces. The IMI safety mechanism prevents inadvertent arming of duds by manual means. No stored energy is contained in the bomblet fusing system, thus complying with the most severe military standards. This requirement is not currently met by any other bomblet.

In March 2003 Israel Military Industries (IMI) and the US-company ATK - Alliant Techsystems announced the signing of a strategic alliance. According to the terms of the agreement, ATK will be licensed to manufacture and market IMI's range of unique Self-Destruct Fuzes in the United States. IMI is a leading defense systems innovator, developer, manufacturer and supplier of advanced weapon systems and ammunition, including precision-guided bombs. ATK is a $2.1 billion aerospace and defense company with leading positions in propulsion, composite structures, munitions and precision capabilities. IMI's Self-Destruct Fuze for submunitions, which exceeds DoD requirements for UXO (UneXploded Ordnance) duds, provides friendly forces with a clean operating area after the firing ends.

In January 1999 the US Army TACOM ARDEC sought interested parties for the production of approximately 1.75 million (X)M235 Self Destruct Fuzes to be incorporatated in a Foreign Military Sale of the Extended Range Multiple Launch Rocket System.

In March 2000 the US Army sought prospective sources to supply grenade (bomblet) fuzes for Army munitions. The fuze must meet stringent reliability and safety requirements and should include a self-destruct feature. The fuze must comply with the requirements of MIL-STD-1316. Currently the stringent safety requirements have been met through the use of a self-destruct mechanism, however, other designs that meet the requirements of the U.S. Army will be entertained. The fuzes were for use on M77, M42, M46, M80, and M85 grenades used in the Multiple Launch Rocket System and artillery spin stabilized and non-spin stabilized projectiles. The fuze should be compatible with the existing grenade bodies (Army Part Numbers 9357037 and 9388107). The fuze should allow for a delay after dispersal from the rocket or projectile to permit operation of the primary function upon target engagement. When used in rockets the fuze's primary function mode must have a reliability of at least 96% and the combined primary and self destruct function reliability must result in a hazardous dud rate of less than 1%. When used in artillery the primary function mode must have a reliability of at least 97% and the combined primary and self-destruct function reliability must result in a hazardous dud rate of less than 1 dud in 500 or 0.2% Fuzing concepts may be pyrotechnic, mechanical, electrical, etc, or a combination thereof. The projected cost of the fuze must be less than $10.00 in high rate production (about two hundred thousand fuzes per month).

On 13 March 2002 the U.S. Army's Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, ARDEC, announced their award to BT Fuze Products (formerly Bulova Technologies LLC), a division of L-3 Communications Corporation for the M223E1 pyrotechnic self-destruct fuze. Award amount was $1,526,203. L3 BT Fuze Products had an ongoing program to develop and produce low-cost pyrotechnic self destruct mechanisms designed to reduce hazardous duds from the many munitions systems which dispense clustered munitions. L3 BT Fuze Products, located in Lancaster, PA, USA, is a leading supplier of armament fuzing and safe & arm devices for the U.S. and international forces. In June 2001 the U.S. Army conducted its initial test of the Bulova Technology Self Destruct Fuze. That test resulted in a very low hazardous dud rate of 1.5% for a first line fire. The Bulova Technologies SDF fuze resulted from a private expenditure of over $2M over three years plus approximately $600,000 shared costing and test support by the Army's Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal. Bulova's Self Destruct Fuze employs modern pyrotechnic technology which significantly enhances affordability and is easily adaptable to numerous ammunition products. The development fuze required minor modifications requiring approximately two years of further effort.

By 2007 IMI claimed to have manufactured upwards of 60 million M85 bomblets, which had been exported them to many armies throughout the world. According to IMI "the unique IMI Self-Destruct M85 bomblet ensures that no hazardous duds are encountered by advancing friendly forces, or civilians. The IMI safety mechanism prevents inadvertent arming of duds by manual means. This requirement is not met by any other bomblet worldwide."

ATK and IMI teamed to develop the XM242 Pyrotechnic Self Destruct Fuze (p-SDF) for the 155mm M864E2, based on the fielded IMI fuze for M85 grenades. Developed to meet < 1% Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) for M42/M46 grenades.



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