New and Better ‘Nades in the Pipeline

It looks a lot like the M67 grenade, fielded during the Vietnam War to replace the M26, which in turn replaced the Mk2 of World War II. But in fact, the ET-MP (Enhanced Tactical Multi Purpose) grenade is a whole new thing. The differences from the M67 tell the story. It’s a little larger than a baseball-sized M67; it has a different fuze that lets right- and left-handed soldiers throw it the same way; and it is a selectable grenade that can be used as a concussion grenade (called “offensive” grenades in some armies) or a fragmentation (“defensive”) grenade. The user simply rotates a selector to the letter “F” (Fragmentation) or “C” (Concussion).

“Soldiers will not need to carry as many types of hand grenades,” Jessica Perciballi, project Officer the Enhanced Tactical Multi-Purpose hand grenade at the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, or ARDEC, said in a recent Army press release.

“They are currently carrying one M67 grenade that provides lethal fragmentation effects. With the new multi-purpose grenade, they can carry one ET-MP grenade and have the ability to choose either fragmentation or concussive effects desired for the situation.”

It’s weird to see a grenade fly without the spoon flying off, that’s for sure.

The effort marks the first time in 40 years the Army has set out to give soldiers a new lethal hand grenade. Warfighters lost the capability of using an alternate lethal grenade when the MK3A2 concussion grenade was taken out of service in 1975 because of an asbestos hazard, leaving the M67 fragmentation grenade.

Another feature is that the grenades are designed for ambidextrous use, meaning that they can be thrown with either hand. Current grenades require a different arming procedure for left-handed users.

The request for a multi-purpose grenade came from the warfighter in 2010, according to Matthew Hall, Grenades Tech Base Development lead. Research began almost immediately. The science and technology funding to move forward with a project came in fiscal year 2013.

“We received direct input from the Army and Marine Corps early on, which was critical in ensuring the new arming and fuzing design was user-friendly,” Hall said.

“With these upgrades in the ET-MP, not only is the fuze timing completely electronic, but the detonation train is also out-of-line,” Hall added. “Detonation time can now be narrowed down into milliseconds, and until armed, the hand grenade will not be able to detonate.”

via U.S. Army Working on a Dual-Mission Hand Grenade – Kit Up!.

The electronic fuze means it safely can do without the grenade “spoon” that was a feature of prior American grenades. The spoon worked as a grenade “grip safety” once the grenade’s pin was pulled, only allowing a hammer to fire a primer and start a chemical time delay burning when the grenade was thrown. That was why the M67 and its predecessors were designed for right-handed throwers, and awkward for lefties. (In SF, left-handed guys would often just straighten, remove, and reverse the grenade pin, which was all kinds of forbidden, but worked just fine).

The size of the grenade was determined partly by what they had to fit into it, but also by having real, junior soldiers handle dummy grenades, 3D printed in proposed form factors.

Likewise, the test troops, deliberately selected to be average and inexperienced soldiers from a cross-section of specialties, tried many different arming control designs, and provided their input before engineers selected the final one.

In addition to its human interface improvements and frag/concussion duality, engineers have also improved the stability and shock resistance of the grenades, allowing them to be stored and shipped more easily.

95 thoughts on “New and Better ‘Nades in the Pipeline

    1. William O. B'Livion

      Yeah, saw that.

      WTF?

      @BillC:

      The “Lead Free” thing is more for environmental reasons (millions of rounds are fired every year for each concussion grenade used (SWAG)) than for the safety of the person being shot.

    2. Hognose Post author

      You can blow them to bits, but you can’t give them mesothelioma. Then they would be bothered by lawyers for the rest of their days, which is cruel and unusual punishment.

      1. whomever

        FWIW, my googling said the asbestos concern was for training areas, so the people getting mesothelioma would be our guys.

        But mostly, my googling failed to turn up any details about how the mechanics/physics of the concussion/frag selection works. If anyone finds a lead on that, please post. It seems like a hard problem (if you do something clever so you only get two big pieces, those two pieces are still going to be problematic).

  1. BillC

    Interesting.

    Two things. I wonder how it stops the frag from fragmenting when the fuze is on concussion; and it sounds like the the pin is pulled to start the arming process, but does it fully arm (and the count started) when thrown (acceleration), since the fuze in electronic?

    1. DSM

      I was wondering that too. It has to be an internal shape that directs the blast effect to cause the case to crack or break vs. splinter.

      1. Kirk

        The approach is likely typical of American munitions design; overly complex and expensive for the resulting effect attained.

        Other countries have addressed this issue with far more economy and sense, through such things as polyvalent munitions, where a frag sleeve slipped over an offensive grenade turned it into a defensive one. Like as not, that was rejected as being too simple and inexpensive a solution.

        Whenever trying to read the tea leaves of US procurement, one would be wise to forget the idea that the purpose is to provide the soldier with effective weapons; the reality is, the Department of Defense is a means to pass on to defense contractors as much in the way of taxpayer dollars as can be managed, leaving some in the pockets of the government employees administering the scam.

  2. Boat Guy

    Sounds neat-o; IF it works as advertised. Given my inherent (and likely somewhat irrational) distrust of things electronic, I’d probably still prefer the “grip safety” style
    Never thought the M67 was awkward for southpaws; IIRC they just turned them upside down. The M26 was pretty easy to use that way, given the “lemon” shape of the body.
    Took me a long while to become a fan of hand grenades.

  3. DSM

    The rendering still appears to have a spoon however. You can see it behind the fuze but maybe it’s something else entirely?

    That drill was engraved into my brain. “Secure grenade. Thumb safety. Chest, pull pin. Prepare to throw. Throw.”

  4. Eric

    The Mk3A2 went out of service in 1975?

    Funny, the US Navy/US Coast Guard were still using them as anti-swimmer grenades as late as when I got out in 2008. There was supposed to be a new anti-swimmer grenade in the works, but I never saw it and don’t know anyone that has.

    1. Boat Guy

      Haven’t sen or head of one either.
      And yes, we (Navy) certainly had them up till the turn of the century/milenium; can’t speak to more recently.

    2. Blackshoe

      And we can always get away with using sonar to take care of those pesky swimmers (at least CRUDES and subs, anyway)

  5. John M.

    “The electronic fuze means it can do without the grenade “spoon” that was a feature of prior American grenades, safely.”

    I’d recommend moving “safely.” As written, it seems to be modifying the closest verb, which is “was,” but I think you intended for it to modify “can do.”

    -John M.

      1. Haxo Angmark

        there’s a warflick that WM could review. A bunch of GI’s strolling about the Italian countryside, exchanging Hollywood cocktail party one-liners. When Mao Tse-tung saw a print while still holed up in Yenan, he is reported to have fallen on the cave-floor laughing, and exclaimed, “is this how Americans fight?”

  6. jim h

    huh. gotta say though, the inherent danger of having a less than lethal and a lethal all in the same package just feels…..wrong. I mean, if you’re stacking mags and grenades and about to overrun, maybe it might not matter as much. but if you don’t want to kill EVERYTHING in a room but toss it under stress on the wrong setting? you just *know* someone will claim war crimes.

    it’d be easy to say “the (big green) Army shouldn’t be doing those kinds of missions anyway” but going off of the last 16 years, that’s a knee-jerk statement to make.

    1. Hognose Post author

      A concussion grenade is not a flashbang, the flashbang will stay in the inventory. What this is a a lethal concussion grenade, but it has a smaller lethal radius (defined say as pK >.50) and a MUCH smaller danger radious (say pK >.05) so it can be used while in the open. That’s why some armies call concussion ‘nades “offensive” (to be used on the attack) and frags “defensive” (to be used only from cover, like a foxhole or trench).

      The flashbang is designed to be disorienting but not lethal. As we’ve seen in a number of ill-advised police uses, they can be lethal to a small person, or in direct contact to a human, or in a confined area. It’s designed to be less lethal but really has no more place in police armament than a frag, with one very narrow exception for specialty teams taking down violent barricaded resisters.

      Bozos who use them to serve warrants ought to hang up their badges. They risk killing bystanders every time.

      1. Arturo

        hognose, maybe you can clarify. i thought one of the main benefits of concussion grenades was their more guaranteed kill radius. the pressure differential ignoring loose items and occurring 100 percent in kill zone as compared to frags tendency to spew. also belatedly the better effect in enclosed spaces.

        1. Hognose Post author

          Well, yeah, the kill radius’s size is more certain with a concussion ‘nade. In enclosed spaces both are devastating.

    2. Kirk

      Yeah… I’m with you. This has the potential to replicate all those cases where someone has mistaken their service pistol for their Taser, but with high explosives. Not a fan.

      The offensive/defensive grenade dichotomy is one where you really, really do not want to make a mistake. As well, why the hell hump the weight of the frag and extra explosives along, when what you need is concussion?

      Bad idea, and just what I expect from these fucking morons. I predict they field this, and immediately withdraw it, after its first combat deployment. And, adding insult to injury, the fucking thing is electronic. Joy. Just what I want on high explosives I’m carrying around in a ready-to-use configuration…

  7. Greg

    The M67 briefly replaced the M26 replacement in Australian service…after a string of soldiers killed in training by M26s exploding in their web equipment in the 1990s, the F1 grenade (Project Kukri) was designed to be ‘safe’. This translated into ‘ineffective’ when used in Afghanistan. When five grenades are posted into a small room, each detonate, and the guy inside keeps firing, your grenade may be too safe….

    The M67 was withdrawn due to concerns over whether the exterior paint was a carcinogen (or NIH?) – if injected orally! Never did see a soldier lick his frag grenades….

    1. DSM

      We had a batch of M26s we threw in training with the safety clip attached to a ring loped around the fuze. You still “thumbed safety” on the drill but instead of it just flying free it spun around the body. Serious as a heart attack the trooper hucked it and that safety clip swung back around caught the spoon. It was a bad afternoon waiting on EOD.

      1. Hognose Post author

        That might be why that’s not what the manual said to do. Sounds like someone was looking for an excuse not to police the safety clips!

    2. Sommerbiwak

      Why not just buy new lots with a different paint? How hard can that be?

      I have heard of old WW2 surplus grenades still fusing and detonating after all these years, but how long will an electronic fuse be working after decades of storage?

  8. raven

    Did I understand correctly? It is user selectable for both type and detonation time? Down to milli-seconds?

    standard disclaimer- I was never in the service,- but this sounds like a really bad idea for any but the most highly trained.
    reliability aside, it is easy to see a mistake being made.

    Wonder how that electronic brain reacts to stray voltages?

    1. Hognose Post author

      No, it is user selectable for type (frag or not) only, and is its own safety mechanism. Pull pin and throw with no additional safeties — the throw starts the (fixed) timer. I assume they’re using a micro accelerometer that is not energized until the pin is pulled.

  9. Chris W.

    I heard they got a great deal on some batteries from Samsung….j/k

    Seriously though, what about battery degradation/leaking/fires/etc…especially in long-term storage? I’ll have to assume that the batteries are removable for storage, but what about that group of soldiers issued ‘nades that get into the field and find the batteries weren’t installed prior? This just screams “bad idea dept”.

    1. Kirk

      Make the batteries AA, and let the troops provide their own from their personal stash they keep for their MP3 players, vibrators, and what-not…

    2. Mike_C

      Really bad ideas:
      1) put a “spoon” on these new devices, only this one is wired to a little dynamo inside – by repeatedly depressing and releasing the spoon you charge the internal battery. The problem of getting confused between the function of the spoon on a new grenade vs an old grenade is an exercise left for the student.
      2) programmable delay (and selection of frag or not) via Bluetooth. :-)

      1. Kirk

        Hell, use Bluetooth to arm the damn things; as soon as it leaves Bluetooth range from the thrower, it arms itself.

        Makes about as much sense, to be honest.

        I really despair, sometimes; have none of these farking idiots never been with troops, or on any kind of real training range, let alone combat?

        The utilization of tyros to get insight into the design needs is sadly typical; perish the thought that a professional might get input into the design at a point where it would do some good. Screw sitting down with “new soldiers”: I’d suggest sitting down with a drill or two who has had the signal joy of training those “new soldiers” on the existing product, and see what the hell they think, first.

  10. Badger

    The snarky question I wanted to ask is, with the M67 not quite baseball size, and this being bigger, is there going to be an ET-MP/Snowflake™ version? (Perhaps this will be academic by 2020.)

    However, it occurred to me that I really don’t know what they do, if anything, in basic nowadays if they encounter someone (of either gender, I’ve seen both) who simply do not know how to properly throw something. Do they stay after class for detention with an ADI? Just wondering as it was incomprehensible to me (raised in Cooper’s “different country”) until having to actually work with 2 of my 4 grand-kids.
    :)

      1. John Distai

        Why are grenades thrown in that arc fashion instead of thrown like baseballs? Is it a “not everyone has a good snap in their wrist” type problem, or is there some other reason? Frozen shoulders?

        What is the weight of a grenade as compared to a baseball?

        1. DSM

          If you’re throwing over the piece of cover you’re holed up behind or trying to lob it into the bad guy’s piece of cover. A grenade is a chunk of cast iron w/ its explosive filler so it has more mass than a baseball but not so much that you can’t huck one out there.

          In training the NCO in the pit is watching very closely that you stick to the training objective. Before you get to huck any grenade you have to throw a minimum number of practice grenades safely, each making at least 15m distance. You’ll get chalk symbols on your helmet; eyes if you’re a looker, side arm thrower, etc. You’ll go through that drill so many times that when it comes time to do the live grenades you just want to get it over with, especially when you calculate how long it will take to get all 150+ troops through there.

        2. James F.

          A baseball weighs 5 oz, an M67 weighs 14 oz, and the MK2 pineapple of WWII weighed 1 lb 5 oz, or four times what a baseball weighs. The odd throwing style is to prevent injury through throwing.

          A 2013 Turkish medical paper [Humeral Shaft Fractures Secondary to Hand Grenade Throwing] reports on some injuries to Turkish conscripts:

          “Between August 2008 and January 2009, 5 male military recruits were admitted to the Emergency Department of Ağrı Military Hospital with the right humerus shaft fractures during hand grenade throwing training period. Average patient age was 20.2 years (range 19–22). All the patients were right-handed, and none of them had an experience in throwing sports before their military obligation. The recruits reported that they used the maximum strength when throwing the hand grenade. According to their history, all the fractures occurred just before the hand grenade release.”

          And…aside from a soldier having to be casevaced from combat with a stupid broken arm, how far is a grenade going to GO if one of these unlucky youths throws it?

          And what about the unlucky fellow soldier standing next to him?

          I have never thrown a grenade myself, but I knew a man who did, and after his teammates saw him do it, and how far it didn’t go, they wouldn’t let him throw any more for the rest of his tour.

          “You can carry them”, they said, “but we’ll do any actual throwing.”

          Hognose would have said “You are no go on the ‘Not Blowing Us Up” station.

          1. Hognose Post author

            Most American boys used to have baseball experience. Nowadays we have a new generation, the ones that have to go to a fat farm to make the numbers to join up, and we also have the girls, who by definition throw like a girl. Well, so does an 18-year-old who’s never thrown anything heavier than his gamestation controller when the internet was on the fritz.

            Europeans (and I’ll generously count the Turks among their number) don’t go in much for throwing sports; their sport is soccer. Even rugby, the analog to US football, is much more dependent on running and much less dependent on throwing than its American counterpart.

          2. John M.

            @Hognose–

            Say what you want about Title IX, it’s made girls throw considerably less like girls. Most females under the age of 40 or so at least have the mechanics correct, even if they, on average, don’t have the size or strength advantages that men bring.

            For girls, gym class in 1995 was a heck of a lot different than it was in 1965.

            -John M.

    1. Aesop

      It was found that nearly half of the women actually tested over 3 years at MCRD Parris Island lacked the basic strength to throw the crushingly heavy (less than a pound) issue M67 frag grenade far enough away to escape self-injury from its casualty producing radius of shrapnel. And Combat Barbie is a DoD imperative, even though it’s contrary to every precept of human physiology.

      That’s what’s driving this unnecessary bullshit, disguised as “improvement”.

      Personally, when combat is concerned, I’m a heartless sonofabitch. Use the old frags, and weed out the weak by self-casualty; John Kerry, call your office. (The fact that most of them would – and will – be fragged pro-actively by their own troops is actually a happy serendipity for everyone but them, and their parents.)

  11. Eric

    I have doubts of it working in any conflict using EMP… an electric detonator will, in theory, be a dud post-EMP. Can’t wait to see the looks on the throwers and the receiver’s faces once it lands and does nothing. It will be a Wile E Coyote and Roadrunner moment to remember.

    As for the non-lead environmentally safe ta-da… if it does not come with ear plugs for all combatants, then it is not safe for hearing, and therefore, a no-go environmentally.

    1. Kirk

      On the bright side, we may finally get to see a real-world implementation of my favorite Heinlein invention:

      “I’m a thirty-second bomb!!! I’m a thirty-second bomb!!! Twenty-nine… Twenty-eight… Twenty-seven…”

      User-programmable for varied explosives-related shenanigans, of course…

    2. Scipio Americanus

      It’s pretty challenging to make an EMP intense enough to do something like that, Eric. The common conception that has some tiny Iranian or NorK fission bomb bricking every electrical device within a thousand miles is far from reality, where you need a multi-megaton monster initiated at very high (largely exo-atmospheric) altitude to do much harm. Even then, that harm tends to be dependent on the length of conductor (antenna, power cable, etc.) attached to said electronic device, with smaller or simpler devices going unharmed while the national power distribution infrastructure fries.

      It’s also very easy to protect electronics against EMP. IIRC, a lot of televisions turn out to be EMP-hardened because they’re made in the same production complex in China that does the PLA’s displays, and it would have been more trouble and expense to make the changes to render them non-protected. Almost all modern military electronics are well hardened against any realistic level of EMP.

      On the other hand, you can use sufficiently intense microwaves to do some serious destruction to electronics. Those big naval phased array radars can be used to kill stuff at pretty good range, for instance, and I seem to remember a project CHAMP to modify a cruise missile to fry cell-phones and other susceptible electronics directly under the missile’s low-altitude flight path.

      1. 11B-Mailclerk

        What happens when a squad of Marines get accidently swept with a fighter-mounted search radar on a flight deck, or a phased-array beam from their supporting cruiser?

        Microwave burns are one thing, but zorch-popping some/all of the grenade fuses at once? Oopsie.

        Or is that not a risk?

        1. Scipio Americanus

          Fighter-mounted array doesn’t have the oomph, and ships are very careful about where they’re pointing (more specifically, focusing) the beam. Remember that close to a planar emitter the intensity is lower than at the point of focus.

          Besides, the “electronics” in this grenade are likely so simple as to barely deserve the name and likely wouldn’t react anyway.

        2. bloke_from_ohio

          We have a lightning strike simulators and EMP simulator to make sure weapons don’t do stupid stuff when exposed to high current, high voltage, or high magnetic flux. If you don’t design and test against this reality, then you run the risk of aircraft disgorging their payloads across flight lines and or flight decks when hit by lightning or other sufficiently energetic electromagnetic event.

          Static electricity build up and discharge is actually part of what caused the USS Forrestal fire and killed a bunch of Sailors. The Navy is now understandably really touchy about weapon and fuse stability as a result.

          Failure to design against EM effect is also what caused an Apache (could have been a Cobra) to launch a bunch rockets across a parking area after being nailed by a lightning strike. Who knew Thor/Zeus liked wasting ammo too?

          Given the program is supposed to make the grenades easier to transport by making them more stable, I find it hard to believe they did not do their homework here.

          1. Hognose Post author

            ISTR the early Panavia Tornado having a problem with its fly by wire systems and powerful RF transmitters.

            Worse, the central computer was also the brain for the ejection seats.

          2. Kirk

            Wasn’t just the Tornado; the UH-60 had issues, as well. I have distinct memories of being in the back of one in Germany back in the 1980s, looking forward through the flight deck, and watching as every single electronic gadget shit the bed, as we flew near a set of power transmission lines one night. The pilot quite literally shit his pants, and we nearly crashed before the systems did whatever they were supposed to do, and apparently re-booted or something. I still don’t know what the deal was, aside from having observed that shit from a vantage point in the troop compartment. Just know it happened, the pilots and crew chief all went into panic mode, and the rumor we got back through the grapevine was that someone in the maintenance realm had failed to do something like put back shielding when they worked on the avionics.

            I gotta give those guys credit; they managed things so smoothly that the only people who noticed anything beyond the blinkenlights going out was my LT and myself. The fact that they shut the bird down on the LZ, and then sat around waiting for a maintenance contact team was the only really apparent reaction–That, and the way all three of them were looking like they’d just had collective heart attacks. Interesting night, that one was. We had our own heart-attack inducing crap happen when the Germans who owned the airfield we thought we were clear to train on for runway demolition came up on us with loaded weapons, thinking we were Rot Armee Faction or something. Bad thing was, some of us almost opened fire on them, thinking they were part of the exercise. We had blanks; they had live ammo.

            Turned out, the folks running our exercise had cleared us doing that training on a different airfield. The names were similar-sounding, in German, so the rule about 10% never getting the word was in operation. It was a good damn thing that we had a guy with us who spoke fluent German, or things might have been a bit… Interesting. See, the airfield we actually hit? That was a field that supported logistics for the Pershing II and some other stuff of a highly classified nature, sooo… The Germans guarding the place were a bit paranoid. I think it had something to do with the dual-custody nukes that were in Germany at the time; I was told I’d need a TS clearance to find out what the hell had everyone so on edge. Our LT came back from meeting the airfield commander with a bit of “Holy fuck, what am I involved in…” look on his face.

          3. Kirk

            Which was, I assume, the reason I’m still here to write this today. Fly-by-wire, I suspect, would have meant “hit ground at high rate of speed”; as it was, the entire avionics suite shit the bed at the same time, and they were still able to fly the bird. Watching that flight deck go black was kinda scary, in conjunction with the obvious panic on the crew’s part. For the first little bit, I just assumed they were turning off the lights for the landing, y’know?

            Turned out, no, that wasn’t supposed to happen, and watching a CW3, a CW2, and a Staff Sergeant sit on the ground and hyperventilate after we landed, I got the distinct impression that they weren’t too happy about the whole thing, either…

    3. bloke_from_ohio

      EMP work by inducing current in the internal wiring of the item at hand to a degree that damages the components. Think popped capacitors, blown diodes, and melted/fried traces/wires. It is like a power surge from a lightning strike. But, in addition to the current coming from the transition lines and/or grid there is a potentially damagingly large current induced within the device itself. This is assuming the pulse is sufficiently energetic and there is enough unshielded wiring to pick up the current in the first place. Little devices have limited wiring that limits their susceptibility. Big honking transmission lines on the other hand, those are toast since they would act as miles long antennas.

      Shielding is really not hard though. We had it licked back when the multi-meter of the day consisted of the scientist/engineer licking his fingers grabbing a live line and subjectively grading the oomph from the ensuing zap.

  12. JoshO

    So did they ditch the idea of a scale-able grenade I had read about a few years back? In the article they looked like little cylinders that could be fit together like legos or something to match explosion size to the target. Or was that a separate project?

  13. Ray

    A solution in search of a problem. Typical of a pentagon “project” involving tax money. Make the cheap simple and reliable, complicated unreliable and cost prohibitive. This is another “land warrior” boondoggle. Somebody needs to take the Lt.Col. that came up with this out and flog it to death as a warning to others.

    1. Kirk

      The flogging to death wouldn’t help… Those sorts are like cockroaches; after the apocalypse, they’ll be the only ones left alive in their nests of paperwork. You want to eradicate them, change the promotion system that has rewarded their behavior.

      We get what we promote, and what we promote are basically cockroaches in human form, on both sides of the commissioned/enlisted divide. By the time you hit Major or Master Sergeant, the mold is set, and the unfortunate fact is, nobody gets to either of those ranks through anything other than ass-kissing and being unaccountable for one’s actions and behavior.

      The guy who would have come up with an actual improvement on the M67, and eschewed gold-plating the damn thing? He was given the boot back when he was a mere captain, and is working diligently somewhere in civilian life.

  14. Arturo

    doesn’t make sense to dual purpose, the designers must have the expectation of frag use predominantly. How how much explosive filler are you losing when you don’t use the frag? wasted weight!

    also new grenade design and the ball was the best idea, no football, disks, or teardrop shapes.

    1. Arturo

      last sentence is a bit weird

      they design a new grenade and the ball was the best idea! there must have been some better shapes, i.e.football, disks, or teardrop etc.

  15. Kragg

    I’ll just throw this out there with the understanding that enjoy and respect most of the comments and commenters here.

    Has anybody here actually used or tested the damn thing? Skepticism is fine, but not to the point that it prevents advancement. I think if this blog had been written 130 years ago I’d be reading about how an internal fuse that’s lit with a percussion cap can’t be trusted and we should stick to hand lit cannon fuse grenades because “it’s the only way to be sure it’s lit!”

    How many folks with a smart phone have had the acceleramator go out on your phone? It looks like they’re adapting technology that has been proven in other environments to the grenade. I hope this grenade improves both the safety and lethality of our soldiers.

    1. Kirk

      Kragg, I’ll simply point out to you that many of us skeptics have a worm’s-eye view of the military weapons procurement system, and as a result, we’re just a tad… Jaded? Untrusting? Cynical? Pessimistic?

      I was a Combat Engineer for 25 years, and a pretty good one. I’ve got a really good understanding of explosives, how they work, and how munitions function. I’ve also watched a metric f**k-ton of these things come and go, over the years, and watched the procurement system hand me a bunch of crap that should never have ever left the ‘effing lab. I’ve also lost friends to having these things “not work”.

      You want an example of why most of us are kinda cynical about the design process? I offer up to you Exhibit “A”, the vaunted Demolition Kit, M180 :

      http://miscpartsmanuals2.tpub.com/TM-9-1375-213-12-1/TM-9-1375-213-12-10021.htm

      Just look at that beauty, kitbashed up from a host of other ordnance sources: A 15-lb standard shaped charge. A clacker from a Claymore mine, artfully actuated by the nose of the warhead, driven down that rail by the rocket motor attached to its base, all fired by the blasting machine. Now, all this seems quite… Entertaining, no? But, the best part is this: That ‘effing shaped charge doesn’t always do quite what the designer envisaged, clearing a nice, deep hole for the warhead to snuggle into. No, quite often, it doesn’t even detonate, or the shaped charge jet goes quite awry, and then the rocket-driven warhead goes “Zoom…” off into the distance. Or, if you are working for particularly stupid people, ones who can’t foresee the predictable outcomes of non-optimal functioning, you might experience the fun of having the warhead and rocket motor come zinging back towards your own position, which was supposedly outside the minimum safe distance.

      Here’s a tip: Attaching a fucking rocket motor to the cratering charge tends to make that “minimum safe distance” calculation dependent not on the amount of explosive, but the range and burn time of the rocket motor, and the latter is a shit-load further than the former…

      Don’t, I say again, don’t even get me started on the fucking MICLIC.

        1. Kirk

          I think, and I might be wrong, but there could be some epic rants on the thing here on this very site.

          Unfortunately, Hognose’s search function apparently doesn’t extend to comments, but if you use Google with the search terms “weaponsman kirk miclic”, you’ll get some hits.

          Putting it bluntly, I loathe the things. And, ironically, they represent a product of our unfortunate tendency to gold-plate the stupidest shit in the arsenal. As an exemplar, it’s pretty hard to beat. Kinda like this-here grenade thingy we’re discussing…

          With regards to my MICLIC antipathy: Firstly, blast/overpressure as a means of detonating mines is pretty much useless against anything but our own gold-plated, overly-fancy designs, which all include a Belleville washer in the fusing. We did that “to ensure detonation”, and what it actually did was produce mines that are horribly vulnerable to this overpressure technique. Soviet mines, with their simplistic coil springs? Not so much… Modern mines, with electronic fusing? Again, not so much–Some are designed specifically to overcome clearance attempts, counting things like overpressure events and pressure on the plates. Any of the Valsella Italian mines are devilishly complex, and with the number produced (and, by the Italian mafia, who got into arms trafficking in a big way…).

          Basically, what happened was that we tested our clearing techniques against our own mines, not knowing that only US mines with Belleville washers (included to ensure reliability, and because… Well, we could) were notably susceptible to this technique. So, we built the MICLIC, which is actually a tool optimized for clearing surf zones on beaches of all those pesky hedgehogs and what-not. Problem is, the MICLIC doesn’t really clear mines, so not only is it overly complex, tactically problematic, and generally a pain in the ass to use, the damn thing doesn’t do what it is supposed to.

          Please note the continuity in conception between the fusing on our mines and this new grenade; complexity is not always a good thing, and when you gold-plate simple systems, it can come back to bite you in the ass. I’m not a fan of this shit–They wanted to do something sensible, they should have looked at the Austrian lineup of offensive/defensive grenades, the ones with the sleeves. For the life of me, I don’t know why we haven’t produced a line of truly polyvalent grenade/mine munitions, like the PDM but with less risky trigger modes than using an AP submunition. That bastard just scares the hell out of me, to be honest.

          1. Kirk

            That would be the main one, I think…

            Dear God, but can I put out a rant, once the bit is between my teeth? There’s probably some good material for someone doing an abnormal psych thesis in all of my posts.

    2. Dyspeptic Gunsmith

      OK, here’s my perspective:

      I’m a retired EE. I’ve worked in the defense sector, private sector, consultant, etc. I’ve seen a fair representation of the electronics industry since the early 80’s.

      What I’ve learned in that time is this:

      If you want electronics to be absolutely reliable in “lives are actually depending on this device working” applications, you’d better back up the Brinks truck to pay for the best in components and (especially) the best in switches, contacts and connectors. People like to complain about “$600 hammers.” Well, that’s nothing. You should see the price tag on mere wiring connectors that are absolutely reliable, capable of maintaining the integrity of the connection while being washed off in a NBC decontam bath, or full submersion while fording rivers/streams, etc. What you can buy for $2.50 at Radio Shack (or could, before they went tits-up) could cost you $50 on up per in the mil-spec parts chain.

      Oh, you went cheap on the parts? And you’ve wrapped an explosive charge around it? And your intention wasn’t to be a suicide bomber?

      Hmmm… yeaaaa…. no.

      I’m not going to make predictions, but my experience in these matters doesn’t give me high confidence.

  16. Aesop

    Waitwaitwait.

    The generations that can’t program the clocks on their VCRs/Playstations/BDplayers is going to successfully manipulate and set an electronic fuzing mechanism, whilst engaged in close combat…?
    Which will work, because Top. Men.
    Uh huh.

    Nothing could possibly go wrong with that plan.

    Prosecuting the entire chain of responsibility for this nonsense for treason, pro-actively, would not be too strong a response.

    Rule 27. Life is dear; ammo is cheap. When in doubt, throw two grenades.

    1. Hognose Post author

      It is designed for even Rangers or Marines.
      1. Set on F or C
      2. Poll pin
      3. Throw.

      Every one of those high-Neanderthal-DNA jarheads operates a car with electronic fuel injection. If the human interface is kept simple, complexity of the guts doesn’t matter.

      1. Aesop

        Bearing in mind that I’ve not only told the Three Crowbars joke, I’ve seen it in real life, I graciously concede the point.

        Which only leaves the Rube Goldberg electronic brainz as the single point of failure there.

        Of course, we totally have technology down; just look at how well the F-35 and LCS are doing.

        Or simply direct St. Mattis to appoint an assistant secretary of drumhead courts-martial, and further direct that all ammo issued under said auspices will be expended. Their patch mascot will be a turkey vulture sitting on a fencepost.

        1. Hognose Post author

          Today’s email from Foreign Policy suggested that Mattis wanted to retain all the Obama-appointed suits… this seems to me unlikely, but that’s what they said. They also say he’s unhappy because Trump won’t let him hire #NeverTrump Republican neocons who supported Hillary last year. See above comments about likelihood.

          1. Kirk

            At this point, I believe nothing being said about anything Trump or his appointees have said or done in private. Either it’s in the open, and broadcast without editing, or I just don’t believe it.

            We’re witnessing a major tectonic shift in things political. How far, how permanent it actually is, I would refuse to speculate. But, the entrenched “fixed” interests of the Deep State? They have reached a point where they are no longer believed in, by the masses, and what you’re seeing here is the same thing that happened to Gorbachev in the old Soviet Union: An utter loss of faith in the established institutions of the state. That it stems in large part from those institutions having been utterly corrupted, and captured by the left-ish true believers, who have finally displayed their venality to the general public? Kinda a symptom of the loss of belief-in-the-system for the masses.

            I really would not predict a thing, past “It’sa gonna be a entertainin’ a ride, folks…”.

  17. 11B-Mailclerk

    My understanding is that the M-67, and its cousins, are cheap and reliable, and quite effective.

    So, the “feed the machine” answer makes sense.

    How hard is it to make a set of plastic-cased M-67 types, with optional pair of half-shells of fragstuff, and a roll of 1″ 100MPH tape? Maybe a better filler? Call it the M-17 multi-purpose. Make the fuse color-coded difrently-shaped assemblies swappable for standard delay, impact, or boobytrap/command. Issue the classic “frag” setup and just peel off the tape and shells for concussion effect. Or, if planning specific mayhem, have the Grunts build the grenades for a mission, same as they would select the load of 40mm rounds.

    Sheesh. I was thinking about this crap in OSUT, in 1986. Why the heck is this even a thing?

    Oh, right. feed the machine.

    (Reversing the pin is genius, thus forbidden.)

  18. Kragg

    Kirk,

    Fair enough, nothing wrong with a healthy distrust. My point (or maybe hope) is that skepticism should be put to use devoloping tests based on real world user experience like yours so that progress can continue. There will be dead ends and things that don’t work, but we won’t know if we don’t try

    So you know I’m coming at this from being a “modernization” curmudgeon for too long at too young of an age. A lot of technology that I rejected when first introduced has proven to be both reliable and convenient. I don’t embrace everything immediately, but I’m glad people decided to build planes and then planes with just one wing. Then we strapped folks to the top of a giant rocket and shot them to the moon, it’s ludacris but we did it, and it makes me happy. Phones that aren’t connected to a line are pretty nice too. There’s a balance and I’ve been working on making my way back to the middle ground.

    1. Kirk

      Everything in moderation, I say. I’d be up for an improved grenade, myself, but with some caveats.

      First, build the thing so that it’s not dependent on some high-tech bullshit fuse for its mode selection mechanism–How’d you like to be the guy who’s relying on it going “offensive”, do your throw, and discover that, no, the mechanism failed, and it actually went into “defensive mode”, slapping your ass with fragmentation you didn’t plan on being there?

      For that, I want something positive, like a slip-on sleeve for the defensive option, that I know isn’t there when I throw it and use it as an offensive grenade. Additionally, why the hell carry the logistics load for all that extra weight that’s gonna add up, along with costs for that fancy-schmancy fuse? Build offensive grenades, figure out the ratio of “offensive/defensive” uses, and include that many extra frag sleeves in the box.

      And, keep the damn fuses as simple as possible, and robust. This thing is actually a nightmare waiting to happen, because once Joe loses confidence in the weapon, it’s not going to get used.

      I would like to see some innovation in this space, but not like this. Too complicated, and too reliant on stuff I don’t trust over the long haul. I remember getting issued grenades dated from back in the 1950s, when I was in Europe during the 1980s. No issues with confidence in those things, at all–They still worked. This electronic goat-rope? Yeah… I’m not a fan, at all.

  19. Simon

    Well, that accelerometer is what would worry me. It presumably has to be fairly sensitive, because I expect there are cases where a grenade is thrown gently or just posted through a window (never done it myself, but I can imagine that). When does it arm then? I imagine it will be the first impact with solid material such as the floor, but it might land on a bed or a dog or something else soft. Will it just wait to be thrown back at me?
    There is then no chance to vary the delay by holding onto the grenade and posting it through a window after two seconds, or can you give it a good shake to arm it?
    Does it have a warning light to show when it is armed? I can imagine holding one in the back of a truck and driving over a pothole. Will that arm the grenade and will I know that it is armed?
    I have not experience of American military equipment, but the normal government system designs things to be very expensive to allow the maximum on kickbacks and the manufacturing is then done as cheaply as possible to earn back the kickbacks.

  20. SemperFido

    “There’s probably some good material for someone doing an abnormal psych thesis in all of my posts.”

    Yeah Kirk, on alot of mine too.
    And Raoul, bonus points for remembering the beano.
    I seem to recall hearing about a type of self arming baseball grenade that they tried bringing out in the Nam years that never made it past initial testing. Seems the presenters had a tendency to take the baseball like object and toss it into the air, arming it, and then catching it in their hand, detonating it. Despite the desirability of having one armed LT’s running around the project was deep sixed.

    1. Mike_C

      >abnormal-psych thesis
      Maybe. But, facetiousness aside, the problem is that to the vast majority of people likely to do a psych thesis, ALL of us here are dangerous deviants. Interest in implements of destruction (and I’m not talking shovels and rakes, Arlo) and ability to discuss use thereof without clutching our metaphorical pearls* or having to retreat to a safe space? Shocking, scary and clearly deviant.

      *pearls, wearing of: NTTAWWT, and I’m waiting for Eric Fanning to make that legal as his final act, but just a tasteful choker

  21. W. Fleetwood

    Y’know this has all been done before, right? And I suppose the answer to the question “Doesn’t anybody remember the M26A2 grenade?” would be; “No, what was that?”. Vietnam? Red paint? Never mind. Or the Brits Type 69? Or the “Gammon bomb”? Never mind, again.

    The hand operated grenade is much like a fighting knife. The basic characteristics are pretty much fixed because their usage is pretty much fixed. You can improve the materials, making them lighter, stronger, cheaper, longer shelf life, and so on. But their use is the same today as it was in, say, 1917, a hundred years ago and the characteristics (That actually work.) remain the same as well.

    I’m with Kirk. Assuming this goes forward, events will follow a predictable pattern. Introduction of wonder weapon, with fanfare. Pause. Actual use in combat with predictable problems. Pause. Withdrawal of wonder weapon, with much scouring of warehouses in search of old stuff, plus official statement that “It never happened. Hey, look over there!”. Pause of about 15 or 20 years. And…….”Hey guys, I’ve got a Great Idea!!”. Oh well.

    Wafa Wafa, Wasara Wasara.

    1. Kirk

      The amazing thing is the sheer immortality of some of these ideas; they are conceived of, rejected, and just keep coming back until someone actually fields the damn things, and when disasters happen, finally reject the entire concept for once and all. And, generally, then become anathema despite the technical situation having changed to make them practical…

      Examples abound: The British EM-2, accepted and type standardized as the L9 Rifle. Well, Churchill killed that one dead, and we then witness the debacle that was the L85 coming to fruition a few generations later. After that cock-up, I speculate that the UK will likely never again field a bullpup, even after the technology advances far enough to solve the issues inherent to them.

      Similarly, there is the SPIW/OICW/XM-25 progression in the US. Nobody in the Infantry wants the fucking things, but Ordnance seems hell-bent on forcing their adoption. Why? You tell me. It’s almost as if bad ideas have lives of their own, or something.

      How the hell do you go about exorcising the things? I’d like to know, because I think the US military needs an exorcism badly, especially in the small arms procurement arena.

      I’m visualizing a full-on bishop-level ceremony here, complete with incense, funny outfits, and Gregorian chanting, whilst the heads of the program managers spin and vomit forth pea soup.

      For some of the crap these guys have issued, over the years? Demonic possession is actually one of the more believable explanations…

      1. Al T.

        M202 Flash was another interesting device. Fun at the range, never could figure out what the hell we were going to use it on.

        1. Kirk

          Villages, my brother, villages…

          That thing flatly scared the ever-loving shit out of me, when we fired it the few times we did. I was super-duper happy when they handed the flame mission back to the NBC bubbas, too.

          Some Wiley Coyote-certified geneeeous came up with the idea of having 299th Engineer Battalion do some flame fougasse training back when I was but an ‘umble private at Fort Sill, before the days when they made 299th divisional engineers. Lord love a duck…

          Let’s just say that the results were both epic, and less than optimal. Learned alot, though… Like, did you know that not only does napalm stick to children, it sticks to trees, too? And, that when you make your improvised expelling charge, it’s not entirely wise to double the amount of explosives called for in the manuals? ‘Cos, you can set fire to a hell of a lot of range area like that, you can… Lots and lots of range area. And, doing so at the height of summer, when all is dry in southwestern-ish Oklahoma?

          After that one, whenever someone mentioned the idea of “Let’s do some flame training!!!”, my ass was not there with an enthusiastic mien. More like the “voice of caution”, ya know? “It’s allllllllll gonna burn… It’s alllllll gonna burn… Call the fire department, first…”.

          Interesting note, too: Fort Lewis in the dead of winter? It burns pretty well, actually, with napalm added to the equation…

  22. Pete

    Meh, the primary advantage I see is less snag hazards and better stackability within pouches.
    Ditto on the who thought of that dumb shit re. focus grouping a bunch of 30th AG BCG-wearers rather than, say, actual users or trainers of the damn things.
    Electronic fusing? What does that mean, really? I’m sure Hognose is right about the capacitors, rather than batteries, but still, stories abound of electrically primed explosives (the story generally involves a primed and dropkicked claymore in a rucksack) being set off by static electricity from things like rotor wash. No idea the veracity of those stories, but they were always a cautionary tale to me when handling M6’s and the like. Like others, I also have plenty of questions regarding the positive feedback of the priming. I know alot of you guys have been out for a hot minute or two, so you haven’t gotten to experience the awesomeness of some of our new electronic gizmos like radios with no screen or channel knob which instead have a couple of cell phone style multi-use buttons and an oh-so-soothing Siri-style voice that no-shit tells you, out-loud if you don’t have headphones on, what channel you just changed to (after the requisite eternity the software takes to effectuate said channel-changing). Color me unimpressed at the idea of priming my hand grenades in that fashion. What are these things going to have? Noise, light, haptic feedback? There’s something reassuring about the fact that I can pull the pin on an M67 (or M26 or whatever), and then put it back in and be 100% certain, nothing is worse for wear on the, what was it again? Oh yeah, a fucking hand grenade. Additionally, how would these be rigged for command det? How would this type of fuse work on things like incendiary grenades where I might want to tie a string to more than one of them to ignite all at the same time (eg rail frogs and such) – spring-tensioned spoons do have certain advantages in this regard.
    Lastly, I’m with everyone else on the “concussion selector switch.” Fuck that shit. Just use a sleeve like everybody else. KISS. Honestly, what’s going on with the Scalable Offensive Hand Grenade (http://kitup.military.com/2015/02/army-testing-stackable-grenades.html)? Make some frag sleeves for those things, refine the product, and we have a new grenade with genuine improvements rather than this silly thing.
    While we’re at it, whatever happened to the V40 mini frags and the M86 PDM? The PDM seems like a device that could actually benefit from some of this techno-tom-foolery.
    Also, while we’re at it, what’s going on with the Raytheon “Pike” M203/M320 fired 40MM guiided missile? (http://www.contactairlandandsea.com/2015/10/13/40mm-rocket-from-rifle-gl/) – that seems like a device that could address some of what people like Kirk is talking about here re the XM25 and elsewhere re defense in depth/counter vbied issues.

    1. Mike_C

      >radios with no screen or channel knob which instead have a couple of cell phone style multi-use buttons and an oh-so-soothing Siri-style voice that no-shit tells you, out-loud if you don’t have headphones on, what channel you just changed to (after the requisite eternity the software takes to effectuate said channel-changing).
      Holy Hannah! This is a thing? I was being facetious about the “Bluetooth” thing, yet this is almost as dumb. I had a darkly comic vision of some poor guy trying to get his grenade to pair with his phone, or similar controller, while in the thick of it. Or better, two guys next to each other, both trying to pair grenades with controllers, and getting them cross-paired.

      >Noise, light, haptic feedback?
      A strangely Asian-accented* voice — like the one in my $30 portable Bluetooth speaker that says “Paired!” — only this one says “Armed! Three seconds! Para el español, presione uno…” and so forth. (I have a “vintage” Minolta camera called “The Talker” that says “Too dark, use frash!” (sic) if there’s not enough light for the kind of film you’ve loaded. Supposedly it’s the recorded voice of some Minolta executive’s then-teenaged Japanese daughter. Snerk.) Recorded wimmins’ voices: “Olga here used to do voiceovers. Hey, Olga, do that ‘Valkyrie: Arriving’ thing!” [ob John Ringo reference].
      Haptic feedback. “It vibrates when armed, and when disarmed. We’re giving one to Chelsea Manning to keep her company — and to see what happens.”

      *who do you think is gonna end up making lowest-bid items?

  23. DaveP.

    Sounds like a great way to take a simple, inexpensive, reliable item and make it complex, pricey, and iffy in real use.

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