airbust-round

The Army’s new Small Arms Grenade Munition (SAGM) round is designed to remove the advantage offered by such cover: it explodes in midair after it has cleared whatever shield the enemy is hiding behind.

“It has a sensor that will sense defilade or walls or anything that somebody will be hiding behind,” SAGM chief Steven Gilbert says in a Pentagon release. “And basically detects it without the need of a laser range finder.” He has estimated the new round would more than double the lethality of existing grenade rounds at ranges of up to 500 meters.

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The Army’s Joint Service Small Arms Program, part of the service’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (known to friends as JSSAP-ARDEC) at New Jersey’s Picatinny Arsenal, has been developing the thumb-shaped, four-inch round for the past three years.

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It’s the ultimate fire-and-forget weapon: the soldier doesn’t need to do anything before firing, other than point it toward whatever obstacle the enemy is using for defensive cover. “All the soldier would need to do is aim the weapon and fire it,” Gilbert told the Army’s C. Todd Lopez. “He’d have to have good aim…or the round won’t detect the wall. You have to have some sort of accuracy.”

Among Pentagon wags, “close enough” has long been deemed good enough for nuclear weapons. It could also end up being good enough for the Small Arms Grenade Munition if a formal Pentagon evaluation, set to begin in July, pans out.

via