Weapons: August 31, 2005


The U.S. Army is working on a 40mm grenade that will "self correct" its trajectory using puffs of air when launched, providing greater accuracy for urban combat. Currently, the M203 grenade launcher is accurate out to some 150 meters, for a point target like a window. The SCORPION (Self-Correction Projectile for Infantry Operations) program is hoping to increase grenade accuracy to around 250 meters.

The system would consist of a "smart" 40mm grenade with a tiny jet on one side of the projectile to provide bursts of air for guidance corrections as errors are introduced by wind or other factors and a bolt-on device that would automatically upload range, muzzle velocity, and quadrant elevation of the launcher to the grenade. Once launched, it senses its trajectory using a magnetometer and several other sensors that measure deviations from a perfect launch arc, with the jet providing in-flight adjustments. Developers are hoping to use something similar to the ballistic computer system developed for the OICW to provide the initial ballistic data to the round. The Army Research Laboratory expects to complete the program by September 2006. Doug Mohney


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