U.S. military munitions to become even deadlier

A groundbreaking material is slated to replace steel in warhead casings. It will allow U.S. munitions to detonate with more force than ever before, while significantly increasing the chances of eliminating enemy targets.

By combining multiple metals with standard manufacturing methods, High-Density Reactive Material (HDRM) has the potential to seriously bolster the explosive capabilities of most munitions with virtually no sacrifice in strength or design.


In contrast to current munitions, the innovative materials system integrates the casing with approved warhead explosives for additional deadliness. The unique design for fragmenting warheads also enables the release of chemical energy after impact, which increases the chances of the bad guys dying.


“Recent testing and demonstrations have consistently shown that the new casings can be integrated into naval missiles and are durable enough to withstand both high acceleration of missile launch and the forces exposed to during the detonation event,” said Dr. Clifford Bedford from the Office of Naval Research.

“The HDRM fragments can penetrate a target’s skin, followed by a rapid and sustained combustion/explosion.”


Test shots were last fired at the Army’s Blossom Point Field Test Facility in Maryland at the end of June. There’s nothing like spending a day at the range and getting paid for it, eh?


The HDRM boasts the strength of common aluminum alloys with the density of mild steel; this makes it a good replacement for steel parts. This is crucial because, for the existing weapon systems to maintain the chance of a hit, they need to maintain a density similar to steel. (Besides, the cost of steel is going up and seeking an alternative can prolong our various wars).


ONR is planning more test shots in mid-August at Blossom Point. A large-scale shoot out against multiple stationary targets is planned sometime in September.


The reactive materials team at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division, a partner with ONR, was recently given a Top Scientists and Engineers of the Year award for developing the material.


They sure love the guys who make bombs that allow the wars to carry on. But, an important questions arises from the news of this development: Does more kills per square inch mean more or less war in the future?

We’ll just have to wait and see.