MBDA Subsidiary Claims Scaleable Warhead Breakthrough

 - August 30, 2013, 9:10 AM
This schematic shows how the effect of the same size warhead might be scaled to reduce the radius of damage, depending on the nature of the target. (Photo: TDW–MBDA)

TDW, a subsidiary of MBDA in Germany, claims to be the first to successfully demonstrate scaleable warhead technology. The company noted that today’s asymmetric warfare scenarios require warheads that can be adapted to the type of target. “With present-day effector systems, this is possible either only to a limited extent or not at all,” the company said.

TDW proved the scaleable warhead in the German army’s technical center at Meppen, using an Mk 82 bomb shell. Although it contained 100 kg of explosive, the effect of the detonation was equivalent to that of a 10 kg blast. Only a pre-selectable portion of the explosive was detonated. “The remainder is prevented from detonating and is modified to ensure that no residual explosive remains,” the company added.

“We’ve been working for some years on technological approaches to solving this problem. This success is another step forward in the flexibility of advanced future effectors,” said Helmut Hederer, managing director of TDW. The company suggested that the new technology could be applied on the precision-guided bombs carried by the German air force’s Tornado and Typhoon combat aircraft.

Other countries and companies are working on so-called “dial-a-yield” warheads. For example, the UK has a program called Selected Precision Effects At Range (Spear), for which Raytheon Systems Ltd is developing a low-collateral-damage warhead.