The Prolonged Vary Cannon Artillery (ERCA) weapon system has made headlines in recent times for its means — as its identify states, to fireplace at an prolonged vary. But in early August the weapon system made historical past by firing on the highest velocity on document with this program at Yuma Proving Floor (YPG). Whereas capturing far distances is fascinating and a part of the Military’s modernization technique, firing at a high-velocity can also be an important aspect to eliminating threats by way of Multi-Area Transformation, on this case, rising the vary, pace, and convergence of leading edge applied sciences. Basically, artillery programs could be extra cost-efficient in comparison with utilizing missiles and rockets. An artillery spherical can probably full the identical mission at a fraction of the price.

Paul Henderson, lead hypervelocity propulsion engineer with the Fight Capabilities Improvement Command-Armament Middle (DEVCOM-AC). led the trouble of designing and constructing the propelling cost for this high-velocity check. The YPG Ammunition Plant personnel constructed the propelling cost particular to this mission based mostly on historic knowledge collected from the DEVCOM-AC workforce. Henderson stated the workforce decided that they wanted to see what occurs to the propellant within the gun throughout ignition. Because the cost is contained in the gun chamber when fired and unable to be noticed visually, the workforce developed a ballistic simulator (BSIM) to help propulsion improvement and emplaced it at YPG. The BSIM tube is clear and bursts at low strain, however the few milliseconds of video knowledge earlier than it bursts are crucial to the design of the propelling cost.


This can be a have a look at the view from the ballistic simulator used previous to the high-velocity check. “The ballistic simulator at YPG offers engineers knowledge to design environment friendly ignition programs,” explains Paul Henderson. (Picture courtesy of Fight Capabilities Improvement Command-Armament Middle)

Main as much as gun exams, the workforce used varied ballistic laptop simulations to mission the end result based mostly on completely different configurations. These fashions assist throughout the developmental stage and likewise present perception throughout check fires. All this work is for a propelling cost design with a predictable and optimized strain profile to boost the efficiency of the projectile, a key issue to realize this can be a design that approaches uniform ignition. The ignitor, which is a part of the ignition system, is behind the propelling cost, which sits behind the projectile. The drive of the propellant gasoline on the projectile is what causes the spherical to shoot out of the cannon when optimized breakthroughs in projectile velocity are achieved.

To develop a projectile for these excessive velocities, the projectile engineering workforce used a finite aspect evaluation mannequin. Take a look at and Analysis Engineer Mike Caulfield defined extra concerning the physics-based mannequin. Throughout check fires, the YPG workforce collects knowledge resembling high-speed video, strain, and muzzle velocity. The projectile workforce screens the projectiles then compares the information collected on the check website towards the information of the mannequin. This might not be carried out with out YPG. With out the check administrators, cost builders, gunners, the workforce, and the creativity and the responsiveness, Fight Capabilities Improvement Command-Armament Middle (DEVCOM-AC) wouldn’t be capable to do it.

The data collection is critical in developmental testing. High-speed video technician Chris Conner verifies the setting on the camera to ensure it captures video of the projectile as it exits the cannon. (Photo by Ana Henderson)
The information assortment is crucial in developmental testing. Excessive-speed video technician Chris Conner verifies the setting on the digital camera to make sure it captures video of the projectile because it exits the cannon. (Picture by Ana Henderson)