Artillery: Pakistan Builds Smarter Shells


p> April 22, 2008: Pakistan has begun production of DPICM (Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munition) 155mm artillery shells (each one carrying 88 bomblets). DPICM is more effective against enemy troops than conventional shells. The bomblets are basically anti-vehicle weapons with a fragmentation effect that kills or injures most people within 20 feet of one going off. In use for over three decades, the DPICM bomblets (also used in cluster bombs) have a dud rate of about one percent. That means one percent do not explode when they hit something (after being expelled from the shell, before the shell hits the ground). These duds can explode later if picked up or stepped on.


That's a lower dud rate than for most munitions, but one shell carries 88 separate small bombs, while each MLRS rocket carries 644. So you have a lot more dud munitions sitting around on the battlefield, ready to injure your own troops and civilians. DPICM continues to be used because the bomblets more than triple the effectiveness of each conventional shell (which is just filled with an explosive charge.)


Pakistan licensed the technology for this shell from a South Korean company. The Pakistani shell also uses base bleed technology to increase range 20 percent. This is done by having a solid fuel in the base of the shell burn after firing, releasing gas that reduces drag and extends range.