For the first time in more than 40 years, the US Army is designing a new, multi-purpose lethal hand grenade that will give the warfighter greater flexibility.
Engineers at Picatinny Arsenal are developing the ET-MP –or Enhanced Tactical Multi-Purpose grenade—which represents the first hand grenade that can be ‘tailored to the mission’.
The US Army’s M67 fragmentation grenade, which was first introduced in 1968, is a practical relic that survived into the 21st century. However in 2010, the warfighter requested a new grenade and the research began almost immediately after that.
“We received direct input from the Army and Marine Corps early on, which was critical in ensuring the new arming and fuzing design was user friendly,” said Matthew Hall, Grenades Tech Base Development Lead.
The U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, or ARDEC, is spearheading the design effort of the ET-MP.
According to ARDEC, over the past five years, “Picatinny engineers have been collaborating with Infantry School representatives, hand grenade cadre, as well as active duty Soldiers and Marines, to determine warfighter needs regarding hand grenades.”
Motherboard reports that there will be quite a few improvements with the ET-MP, including its ability to switch between two different modes—fragmentation or concussion. The fragmentation grenade kills by blasting out small metal fragments. With concussion grenades, there’s a smaller lethal blast radius, so it will give troops more flexibility when clearing obstacles.
The MK3A2 concussion grenade, which began as bunker-clearing weapons during WWI, was taken out of service in 1975. The beer-can shaped grenade, which troops used in confined spaces, posed a health risk due to its exterior coating – which contained up to 50 % asbestos.
While the M67 has a mechanical fuze, the new grenade will feature an electronic fuze which is more reliable over the long term, officials said. Also, the detonation can be timed to be “extremely precise.”
“Detonation time can now be narrowed down into milliseconds, and until armed, the hand grenade will not be able to detonate,” Hall said.
The new grenade will be safer for throwers because of that built-in delay mechanism, and it will also be ambidextrous.
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