Vulnerability testing


#1

Ammunition must be practical for its platform in order to be tactical. Small arms ammo must be practical for its platform which for most infantry is the foot soldier.

Cartridges which are too heavy are useless as are those which burn or explode when hit by projectiles or any external force.

One of the least known testing protocols is VULNERABILITY.

In this a human cadaver or suitable animal cadaver is fully outfitted with equipage and shot with a variety of projectiles , flame , dropped , crushed, blown up etc. in order to determine the VULNERABILITY of the ammunition to such factors on the battlefield. Ammunition is also left out in the weather to determine the VULNERABILTY to that and stored in a variety of climatic situations.

This type of testing was done mainly at Edgewood Arsenal,Md. (in the past-no current information available) and it was this type of testing which killed all of the era (1960s)combustible and semicombustible ammunition types.

Why? Being wounded is bad enough. Being wounded and ON FIRE due to your own ammunition stock is far worse.

These types of ammunition catch fire too easily in tactical situations according to VULNERABILITY testing.

The late ICCA(IAA) member Lyle Snider of Aberdeen,Md. did this testing for many years. Most of the extant examples of combustible small arms ammo in 5.56 AND 7.62 came from his collecting.

Some .223 combustibles from VULNERABILITY testing. PL mean PILOT LOT(first submitted lot).
These are combustible ball loads which have corroded due to chemical reaction.


#2

Beyond interesting. Had no clue on any of that but it all makes extreme sense to me. It must take a strong person to test like that with human cadavers but I am sure it saved allot of lives. I know pigs are used allot because they are incredibly similar, ballistically as humans. Probably easier to get. Learned some knew here again.

Jason


#3

Ohh yeah, just thought of this. My favorite all time type of ammunition is large caliber tank fired APFSDS rounds. They actually cause the target tanks ammunition to ignite which in most cases causes the turret to blow off, in many cases landing a considerable distance away. I guess tank ammunition, especially ones with CC cases are extremely “Vulnerable”?


#4

This is why they are stored inside a combat vehicle in special containers/compartments.


#5

I have a pretty heavy duty US 120MM M865 TPFSDS container that I think fits in the tank or maybe the round is removed and placed in the tank? It definitely offers some good vulnerability protection but would guess if shot and punctured by another tanks ammo it would blow big time. Modern tank APFSDS penetrators will go Doubt anything is safe nearby in or out of the tank. I’ll try taking a pic of the ammo container thing. It is constructed almost as nice as the ammo its self.


#6

Well, that goes for rounds with metal cases as well (and any other ammo in the world I fear).
The main thing is to protect the ammo from open fire and heat since it has no metal case to absorb it on first contact.


#7

What makes the combustibible cases so combustible? I heard the tank cases are impregnated with nitro? Is that true?


#8

Exactly.

Ammunition has to be suitable for its platform. An armored vehicle is far more suitable for such ammo than a foot soldier.

Modern tanks have blast doors which serve to protect the ammunition store from a main turret hit as well as the turret from an ammo storage hit. These reduce damage but may not prevent it. AKMS was a tanker and may have more to offer here.

Pigs are not the best choice for vulnerability study to simulate men as I understand it. Sheep are more commonly used. This entire field is very difficult to research and I was never able to obtain any photographs in the 20 or so years that I knew Lyle.

Sheep and some dogs were used at Ft. Detrick for testing.

Germany has fielded caseless ammo for assault rifles but I have not kept up with that work. Possibly someone could comment on their experience with that in a tactical setting.

Concerning the availability of cadavers: most large towns and cities have many unclaimed cadavers per day to dispose of. This is another field which is very difficult to research. I tried to get Lyle to determine just where the Army obained their cadavers without success. He stated that they had all they needed.

Civillian development is another thing. I know of one instance where a county coroner tested ammunition on cadavers available to him on an unofficial basis. I am sure that there were(are) more.


#9

[quote=“APFSDS”]I have a pretty heavy duty US 120MM M865 TPFSDS container that I think fits in the tank or maybe the round is removed and placed in the tank? It definitely offers some good vulnerability protection but would guess if shot and punctured by another tanks ammo it would blow big time. Modern tank APFSDS penetrators will go Doubt anything is safe nearby in or out of the tank. I’ll try taking a pic of the ammo container thing. It is constructed almost as nice as the ammo its self.[/quote] In general shipping and storage containers are NOT put into the vehicle.

These don’t go in the tank.

Cans for the Soviet 125mms


#10

After looking threw my M1A1 pics, you are 100% correct as usual. The round is removed from this case 4 sure to be stored in the tanks own storage rack. Apparently, the M1A1 and maybe some other tanks have their storage compartment made to be jettisoned or blown up and away from the tank if hit?


#11

In the case of the M-1 and M1-A1, all of the main gun ammunition is stored in the rear of the turret behind blast proof doors. There are panels on the turret roof that will blow off if the ammunition is hit, venting the blast up and away from the crew compartment. On the older M-60 series that I spent most of my time on, the ammunition was stored unprotected in the turret rear, racks on the turret floor and in racks on either side of the driver (lucky guy). This arrangement made the ammunition very vulnerable to damage and subsequent ignition. I was witness to many destroyed Iraqi armored vehicles, mostly T-55 and T-72 MBTs. It is not a pretty sight to see what happens when the ammunition burns and cooks off. If you ever see any documentary video from the Gulf War where Iraqi tanks are shown being hit, you will see the tank hit, a few seconds later flames will start spewing from the hatches as the propellant burns. After a few more seconds, as the fire intensifies and more cases rupture, there will be a jet of flame 20 feet tall or more blasting out of every hatch opening. At this point the HE projectiles start to cook off. Many times the turret is blown off. The arrangement of the automatic loader on the T-72 was such that the projectiles and powder charges were in a carrosel (sp?) under the turret. When these vehicles were hit, 99% of the time, the turret popped off. As CSAEOD has pointed out in past postings, caseless ammunition (in tanks) has it’s own unique resons for the need for vulnerability testing!

AKMS


#12

Do the M1-A1s have any type of fire suppression system for the magazine? Halogen or something along those lines? Probably wouldn’t help, but might slow down the intensity for a few seconds. My shipboard experiences included maintenance of the blast doors for the missile magazines. Same concept as for the M1-A1, but don’t recall their ever being “put to the test”. Can’t imagine it helping much, ultimately. Lots of rocket motors and large warheads going off would probably create additional exit options. There was an extensive water suppression system. Again, probably not very effective in a real world situation. I’m betting the results of a magazine hit would have resulted in a new fish sanctuary.


#13

Thanks CSA, AKMS & Slickrick for the personal insight. CSA. that is the same case I have and mentioned. It is impressively built. Anyhow, appreciate all the additional info and pics from everyone. I like the fish sanctuary analogy :-)

Jason
PS: So does anyone know what makes these combustible, consumable tank cases so combustible and consumable. Is it true that they are impregnated with nitro?


#14

According to ARMTEC who makes these case:

These products are formed from wood fiber pulp which has been strengthened with resin binders and stabilizers,then heat moulded into rigid dimensionally stable shapes. Nitrocellulose added to the composition contributes energy to the round’s combustion cycle and causes the material to be totally consumed in the process".

Nitrocellulose (also: cellulose nitrate, flash paper) is a highly flammable compound formed by nitrating cellulose through, for example, exposure to nitric acid or another powerful nitrating agent. When used as a propellant or low-order explosive, it is also known as guncotton.


#15

Sweet! Thank you very much.


#16

The M-1 series has a halon fire supression system onboard, but IIRC, it does not include the ammunition magazine. I too am curious about what the combustible case is made of. I saved one of my old training manuals and here is a quote from the section about loading the main gun with combustible cased ammunition:

“Warning: DO NOT take another round out of the ready rack until after the gun has fired. The combustible case of the round in the loader’s hand may go off if the end cap form the just-fired round brushes against it.”

AKMS


#17

www.armtecdefense.com


#18

WOW! I hate when that happens. Sounds like great advice. I guess the CCC’s are super vulnerable and designed to be. Thanks, I love this type of info.

Jason


#19

[quote=“AKMS”]The M-1 series has a halon fire supression system onboard, but IIRC, it does not include the ammunition magazine. I too am curious about what the combustible case is made of. I saved one of my old training manuals and here is a quote from the section about loading the main gun with combustible cased ammunition:

“Warning: DO NOT take another round out of the ready rack until after the gun has fired. The combustible case of the round in the loader’s hand may go off if the end cap form the just-fired round brushes against it.”

AKMS[/quote]

The hot end cap may be enough to set off the following case. Not likely but possible and something not wanted at all. It is easy to see why this ammo has to be protected and is not suitable for all platforms.


#20

Germany developed and licenses the technology.