Proof of Principle for an 81-mm Nonlethal Mortar Cartridge

Report No. ARL-MR-543
Authors: James M. Garner, David H. Lyon
Date/Pages: May 2002; 23 pages
Abstract: U.S. military forces increasingly find themselves in situations compatible with the use of nonlethal weapons. Operations other than war (OOTW) (including peacemaking, peacekeeping, and humanitarian missions) in locations such as Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo repeatedly demonstrate the need for nonlethal weapons that are effective in the roles of crowd control and nondestructive area denial. This report describes the development of a nonlethal 81-mm cartridge that is ultimately viewed as a potential tool in OOTW. Payload configurations and specifications are deliberately absent since the round may have a variety of users with various desired payloads. The creation of this round initially augmented the technology developed for previous standard 81-mm mortar projectiles. The dimensions and weights of the prototype round are such that the round requires no special logistics or handling and is similar in appearance and operation to current rounds, making its employment nearly transparent to the user. Proof-of-principle testing is a logical progression from the initial concept demonstration performed in collaboration between the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and United Defense Limited Partnership. The report discusses nonlethal, 81-mm mortar projectile advancements in expulsion charge parameters and parachute deployment schemes for the prototype. An explanation is also given for the partially successful parachute deployment that occurred in the early phase. Replacement of various round components and their associated benefits are also discussed. The prototype round is intended to employ current technology and hardware with currently available components to create a reliable, cost-effective design. The round has demonstrated functionality and is further proposed as the test vehicle for imminent payload dispersion studies. Other evolutionary designs are also offered as vehicles for improving reliability and augmenting the proven technology described herein.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: May 1, 2002