Laser Ignition of Standard and Modified 155-mm Howitzer Charges

Report No. ARL-TR-1993
Authors: Beyer, Richard A.; Boyd, J. K.; Howard, Steven L.; Reeves, G. P.; Folsom, Mark
Date/Pages: August 1999; 27 pages
Abstract: Laser ignition experiments have been performed using the M198 towed howitzer as the test bed. The first component was to evaluate the performance of two modified M3A1 bag charges, each of which had the standard igniter pad replaced with a propellant-filled tube designed to pressurize rapidly and generate sufficient gas and pressure for prompt ignition. These experiments were successful but not remarkable, with ignition times faster than the average for clean-burning igniter (CBI) pad ignition. Along with these rounds, standard rounds were fired to gain more experience with laser ignition of the M198 in preparation for interfacing a digital fire control computer with the laser ignition system. All these experiments were done with a pulsed neo-dymium: ytterbium aluminum garnet (Nd:YAG) laser similar to the one developed for the XM297 connon. In the third part of the program, a continuous semiconductor diode laser was used to ignite five Zone 3 modular artillery cannon system (MACS) charges. Delay times from 355 to 733 ms were recorded. No degradation of the laser was noted from shock/vibration effects.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: August 1, 1999