Conceptual Design Approach for Small-Caliber Aeroballistics With Application to 5.56-mm Ammunition

Report No. ARL-TR-3620
Authors: Paul Weinacht, James F. Newill, Paul J. Conroy
Date/Pages: September 2005; 74 pages
Abstract: A conceptual design approach for small-caliber ammunition is presented. The analysis is based on analytical solutions of the point mass trajectory equations obtained using a power law model of the drag coefficient variation with Mach number. The method is validated by comparison with numerical trajectory predictions for the 5.56-mm M855. Using existing data, several important observations regarding small arms drag characteristics are quantified. The results of the analysis form the basis for a conceptual design approach for examining the aeroballistics of small-caliber munitions. Application is then made to 5.56-mm ammunition. Results are presented that examine the design boundaries for 5.56-mm ammunition in terms of trajectory match relative the 5.56-mm M855. By considering interior ballistics constraints and dependence of muzzle velocity on launch mass, the design space is further refined. The results allow the projectile performance to be characterized in terms of impact velocity and energy, gravity drop, trajectory mismatch at range, and cross-wind sensitivity.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: September 1, 2005