EDF-2021-GROUND-R-IW: Improved warheads
Defeating improved protection systems of main combat platforms, hardened targets and reinforced (critical) infrastructures remains a focal challenge for military operations. Enhanced effects on targets, like blast, perforation, penetration, shock, bubble effects or electromagnetic pulse, are required to defeat such advanced protection systems. In this way, the development of new types of warheads with higher performance is required. Activities should cover the research on an enhanced penetration performance.
In recent years, new threats have emerged on the battlefield. Among these threats are next generation main battle tanks. These systems apply active protection systems (APS) that render conventional anti-tank weapons ineffective. However, warheads with a standoff capability, which can be initiated outside the range of an APS, might destroy such targets. In addition, explosive reactive armour (ERA) and passive armour were improved during the last years. In this respect, enhanced shaped charge technologies are required.
In recent years, there has also been a steady increase in urban warfare. Thus, battlefield engagements are not limited against main battle tanks or fighting vehicles, but increasingly against infrastructure. Often, these infrastructures apply high-performance concrete, which makes engagements more challenging. Consequently, it necessary to obtain small calibre penetrator warheads for battlefield weapon systems that can be effectively employed against infrastructure. In this respect, new penetrator technologies are required.
The scope of the research action should be:
- Research on technology of explosives – development of a technology of production of explosives charges with high homogeneity (uniform density distribution in the entire volume of the charge), geometric accuracy and high detonation parameters;
- Research on technology of liners of shaped charges and explosively formed projectiles (EFPs);
- Development of a technology of production of precise liners made of conventional materials (copper, Armco iron) with high structural homogeneity, chemical purity, etc.;
- Development of a technology of production of precise liners made of new materials, e.g. manufactured with the use of additive techniques; with a programmed texture affecting the projectile formation process in such a way that the final shape of the projectile improves its stabilization on the flight path; slow stretching shaped charges allowing to keep its integrity as long as possible;
- Optimization of the shapes of the liners;
- Development of a technology of manufacturing of the warhead shells providing high strength, accuracy and repeatability of assembly, maximizing the penetration capability of the warheads and minimizing the weight of the entire system; e.g. by using a steel- composite shells with circumferential reinforcements made of carbon or glass fibres in a polymer matrix;
- Development of new methods of explosive initiation, ensuring additional acceleration and appropriate shape of the detonation wave, axisymmetric deformation of the liner and, as a result, maximization of its penetration capability;
- Development of multi-liner warheads (one explosive charge form and accelerate several projectiles). Such solutions will enable defeating armoured vehicles, but also can be used to destroy various types of infrastructure during military operations in urban areas (small calibre/low mass of explosive limit the negative side effects of detonation of the EFP, e.g. damage of buildings);
- Development of initial concepts of new warhead carriers as well as selection of existing ones and definition of new warhead applications related to their structures (grenades, mines, drones, etc.);
- Definition of numerical models of the warhead/target systems and performing computer simulations in order to initially evaluate the penetration capability of newly developed warheads;
- Performing experimental tests determining the functioning of the developed warhead systems.
Furthermore, the proposal must address penetrator warheads that can be effectively employed against infrastructure. Moreover, the proposal can address other technologies that offer added value in the context of next generation battlefield targets.
The proposals must cover the following activities as referred in article 10.3 of the EDF Regulation, not excluding downstream eligible research activities if deemed useful to reach the objectives:
- Activities aiming to create, underpin and improve knowledge, products and technologies, including disruptive technologies, which can achieve significant effects in the area of defence;
- Activities aiming to increase interoperability and resilience, including secured production and exchange of data, to master critical defence technologies, to strengthen the security of supply or to enable the effective exploitation of results for defence products and technologies;
- Studies, such as feasibility studies to explore the feasibility of new or improved technologies, products, processes, services and solutions.
- The design of a defence product, tangible or intangible component or technology as well as the definition of the technical specifications on which such design has been developed which may include partial tests for risk reduction in an industrial or representative environment.
Activity 1. Generating knowledge – Compiling background information
- Task 1: Collecting data on parameters, characteristics, functioning and efficiency of currently used protection systems of heavy-armoured vehicles and infrastructure facilities (passive, reactive and active protection systems and their combinations);
- Task 2: Identifying of weak points of currently used protection systems of heavy- armoured vehicles and infrastructure facilities (passive, reactive and active protection systems and their combinations);
- Task 3: Defining potential strategies and methods of defeating protection systems of heavy-armoured vehicles and infrastructure facilities (passive, reactive and active protection systems and their combinations), that will take into account indicated weak points of their design and definition of the basic parameters of the developed combat system: type of the warhead used; number and type of shaped charges/EFP’s/other charges (single, tandem, triple); type of the warhead carrier (grenade, mine, drone, etc.);
- Task 4: Determining methods of increasing of the warheads effectiveness and defining design assumptions that will allow to implement the strategies of defeating protection systems for heavy-armoured vehicles and infrastructure objects defined in the previous tasks (passive, reactive and active protection systems and their combination);
- Task 5: Identify state-of-the-art charge designs and manufacturing technologies of sub-components such as high explosive charges, shape charge liners, initiation systems and warhead casings.
Activity 2. Integrating knowledge – Initial warhead designs
- Task 1: Evaluating numerical tools and developing numerical models of the warhead/target systems and performing computer simulations in order to initially evaluate the penetration capability of newly developed warheads;
- Task 2: Warhead design developments integrating previously studied sub-component;
- Task 3: Preparing warheads for experimental tests;
- Task 4: Performing of experimental tests determining the functioning and the penetration capability of developed warheads;
Activity 3. Studies – Warhead optimization and munition applications
- Task 1: Gathering and analysis of the results of experimental tests and numerical simulations determining the functioning and the penetration capability of developed warheads;
- Task 2: Defining the directions of modification and optimization of the developed warheads in order to increase their penetration capability and the effectiveness of defeating protection systems of heavy-armoured vehicles and infrastructure objects (passive, reactive and active protection systems and their combinations);
- Task 3: Developing initial concepts of new warhead carriers as well as selecting existing ones (grenades, mines, drones, etc.).
Activity 4. Design – Weapon system integration and validation
- Task 1: Developing initial concepts of combat systems designs containing developed subsystems: warhead-carrier;
- Task 2: Preparing combat systems variants for experimental pre-tests;
- Task 3: Performing experimental pre-tests determining the functioning of the developed combat systems;
- Task 4: Performing experimental pre-tests imitating the interaction of the developed combat systems with the protection systems of heavy-armoured vehicles and infrastructure facilities (passive, reactive and active protection systems and their combinations).