Army devleoping 40mm “Smart” Grenades

A U.S. Army paratrooper fires a training round from the new M320 grenade launcher while learning to use the weapon on a Fort Bragg, N.C. Photo credit: U.S. Army

Welcome to the next-generation of enhanced lethal grenades. The U.S. Army is developing the Small Arms Grenade Munitions round or SAGM that will be able to find enemies hiding behind walls, objects or other would-be covers.

Grenade rounds can be avoided by enemies when they take positions behind low mud walls that are typical battle environments like Afghanistan. Soldiers often require a direct line of sight with an M203 rifle-mounted grenade launcher and standard grenades to most effectively hit their mark.

According to Fox News, when the SAGM is fired, the grenade will recognize its surroundings and the cover used by the enemy for concealment. The grenade will then detonate over the target. The fuse was made “smart” by including sensors. The logic devices and sensors will scan and filter the environment, detect the obstacle, determine the place best to detonate and then autonomously airburst the “smart” fuse.

The SAGM will do away with soldiers needing to do any pre-firing programming sequence. All they have to do is aim the weapon accurately and fire, the smart grenade will take care of the rest. The Army is working on developing a sensor system that will make the SAGM so smart it will be able to detect and process a wide range of objects people may hide behind.

The grenade will consist of three firing modes. The first mode is the airburst after it detects the cover where the enemy is concealed. Second is the default detonation or “point detonation” when it hits the target. The third mode is a self-destruct feature designed to decrease collateral damage and reduce the un-exploded ordnance left on the battlefield.

The XM25 grenade launcher is being developed as a direct fire method for concealed targets such as these. It uses an on-board laser system to gauge the distance to its target and has a programmable air burst round that determines the distance to the target.

Currently in its third phase of development, the SAGM is set to undergo evaluation this summer. It is expected the smart grenade will become an official Army program of record this year.

By Staff Writer © Popular Military


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