TDW demonstrates scalable warhead technology
Engineers at TDW GmbH have developed a new effector technology with which armed forces can achieve scalable target-adapted effectiveness.
The subsidiary of MBDA Deutschland recently became the first company to successfully demonstrate this technology in a series of tests. The demonstration, which took place on the grounds of Bundeswehr Technical Centre 91 (WTD 91) in Meppen, used 100 kg of explosive in a Mk82 shell with a scalable warhead.
The effect of the tested warhead was comparable to the effect of 10 kg of high explosive. The purpose of the test was to significantly reduce the effective radius, i.e. to be able to effectively engage targets while at the same time minimising the damage to nearby buildings and vehicles.
Missions in asymmetrical scenarios call for high precision and a warhead with an effectiveness accurately adapted to the type of target. With present-day effector systems, this is possible either only to a limited extent or not at all.
An answer to this challenge is available in the form of effector systems that are capable of “scalable” effectiveness. Scalable means that the type and magnitude of the intended effectiveness in the area of operations is adjustable. In the case of an air-to-ground mission, for example, the desired degree of effectiveness in the target area can be selected by the pilot from the cockpit. The advantages of the so called “dial-a-yield” capability are that unintentional damage is minimised whilst high flexibility in operational use is guaranteed using just one effector type.
The tested technology is based on a remarkable concept: what is detonated is just a pre-selectable proportion of the explosive, sufficient to meet the requirements and not the entire explosive present in the warhead. The remainder is prevented from detonating and is modified to ensure that no residual explosive remains.
With this successful test, the Schrobenhausen-based company has demonstrated not only the high maturity of the technology, but also the possibility of its integration into existing effector systems. This opens the door to capability extension in air-to-ground roles for Air Forces.
The technology can be integrated, for example, into precision guided bombs. The German Air Force’s Eurofighters and Tornados are equipped with such weapon systems. In principle, the effector technology can also be employed in army and navy missiles.