Military Review

BLAM - "noses" for shells and bullets that you can’t hide from

BLAM - "noses" for shells and bullets, from which you can't hide

BLAM- Barrel Launched Adaptive Munition "Adaptive Ammunition Launched"
In May, the 1995 of the year launched the BLAM95-97 program to create adaptive ammunition for the needs of the US Air Force.
The creation of self-guided shells of an unusual type of work was led by the Adaptive Aerostructures Laboratory (AAL) laboratory of the American University Auburn (Auburn, Alabama 36849, USA)

The order for the work came from the management of weapons USAF (USAF Armament Directorate, Eglin AFB, Florida, USA).

Project goal: to make a cheap universal nozzle for projectiles and bullets of large caliber from the range from 12,7 to 40 mm, to equip the air force gun system with such ammunition.
Common Challenge:
1. Increase the likelihood of hitting and destroying targets in the near and middle range. Class weapons "air-to-air", with the ability to hit the entire range of aircraft and missiles.
2. The control system must cope with its task - the deviation of the trajectory, including when a rapidly rotating projectile fired from a rifled barrel.
3. The control mechanism must be light, have the ability to withstand heavy loads when fired, have low power consumption.
4. The control mechanism must be compact so that it can be used for shells of caliber from 20 mm, and in the future for large-caliber bullets.
p.1. funded by the program of cheapening the means of destruction, for the destruction of the target..
The cost of ammunition, depending on the caliber shown in the graph

* It should also be borne in mind that the cost of the shot, except for the ammunition itself (development, production), is given considerable attention by logistics (give a lift, load / unload, store, sort, give out, return, etc.).
Compare: 1 rounds or 100 shells / rounds.

The idea of ​​engineers was as follows:

- to give up the trivial idea of ​​aerodynamic rudders and tail, since this greatly hampered the firing of a rifle weapon and increased the aerodynamic friction losses on the atmosphere.

- to give up control based on the impact of a jet of gases.

- to control the projectile will be deflected at a small angle to the desired side of the nose.

At supersonic speeds, even deviations in a fraction of a degree will be enough to create a force capable of effecting an impact on the projectile. Depending on the orientation of the plane of deviation of the nose of the projectile relative to the vertical and horizontal axes, it is possible to control the angles of heel and pitch.

- UNIFIED "smart" tip, suitable for installation on any serial projectile or a small rocket.

-Happing: by a laser beam, illuminating the target or (if desired) -radiolocation
The tip must be deflected alternately in different directions, taking into account the frequency of rotation of the projectile, then for the incident flow it will be deflected in one direction - where the projectile “wants” to turn.
Exit found to banality simple:

the tip rests on a ball that plays the role of a ball bearing; several piezoceramic rods are used to drive the tip; they are arranged in a circle almost parallel to the axis of the projectile. Changing their length, depending on the voltage applied to them, they would deflect the tip of the projectile to the desired angle and with the desired frequency.
But the authors of the project were in for an unpleasant surprise.
The best piezoelectric ceramics, which, in one way or another, perfectly matched the role of an actuator-drive rod (lead-zirconium-titanium), turned out to be fragile, and could not withstand however strong the breaking and bending forces were.

Acceleration schedule, when fired, depending on the speed

Calculations showed the strength and temperature requirements for tip drives
1. Negative acceleration (acceleration) 5000 -100 000 g
Positive acceleration (acceleration) 1,000 - 5,000 g
Acceleration on 1,000 - 5,000 g path
Acceleration of rotation 1000-1000 000 rad / s2
2 Storage Temperature -40 ° C to + 63 ° C
Operating temperature range -9 ° C to + 63 ° C
20 controlled storage years
Uncontrolled with rock storage 1 - 10 years

The way out was found in the method of manufacturing a whole group of piezoceramic rods from a single blank with heat treatment before cutting.
The finished rods were pre-compressed with great effort and glued with thin aluminum strips, giving the system the desired properties.

The numerous experimental heads thus produced corresponded to ammunition of caliber 20 millimeters and above.
Reject tips were machined from brass.
But in the series, designers suggest, they can be made from depleted uranium. The main body of the ammunition was aluminum.
Tests were performed in a supersonic tube for an articulated conical projectile.
Structurally, the executable angle of deviation 0-2 °, the frequency of operation of 200 Hz.

Tests have shown that it is enough to deflect the nose of the projectile at an angle to 0,12 degrees in each direction with a frequency of up to 198 Hertz. The required voltage in the wires was tens and hundreds of volts with a power consumption of just 0,028 watts.

Tests in a supersonic wind tunnel proved the creation of large transverse aerodynamic forces.
Experimental tests were performed on a cone-shaped part with an angle of 10 °, the diameter corresponding to .37 cal and .50cal

The maximum speed (estimated) of the projectile to 5 M.
The strength of the drive elements has also been tested - they transferred the 17 000 g of the starting overload without losing any functional properties.

The experiments were dated 1997 year (New Scientist, 12 April 1997)
Further task:
building on this basis a self-guided (by a laser beam) small-caliber projectile with a simple optical sensor and electronics, or a radar one.
Today, laser target illumination is the usual method of aiming for handguns.
But the sniper still has to compensate and take into account gravity and atmospheric effects (temperature, wind), and at ultra-long distances and precession.
using smart bullets, snipers could hit targets several kilometers away.
This development is ideal for artillery systems, fighter aviation and air defense systems of the Navy.

For the last two, taking into account the high speed of the target and its distance, LPC is not combined with the axis of the barrel (firing ahead of time) and has its own drive with SU to track the target.

Cost (in 1997 prices). such a controlled projectile, according to the calculations of the authors of the concept, will be in the $ 150 area, against $ 30 for the usual (caliber 23mm), including:
The cost of the chip 23 $, the cost of the piezo drive 13,3 $

But on the other hand, the expenditure of shells per guaranteed hit, according to the AAL, is reduced from a hundred to several pieces.

Success in creating 20 millimeter homing missiles opens the way to even more impressive systems — homing sniper bullets.
The simplicity of the design with virtually no moving parts (except for the deflected spout) means that all the same can be done even smaller.
Finally, for all ammunition, such a system means a significant increase in the sighting range and direct shot range.
Such a bullet or projectile can, at the expense of adaptive aerodynamics, compensate for the effect of the wind and, within certain limits, the force of gravity of the Earth, straightening the trajectory.
When publishing the work, the engineers predicted that before the appearance of full-fledged, suitable for mass production, shells, 15 years would pass.

After this, a strange silence ensued (although the project is now listed among the current lab work), the latter being mentioned in 2004 at the military technical conference in San Diego, USA and in the article by R. Barrett and G. Lee from 2010.
At this time, R. Barrett was already heading up in the Netherlands. Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Kluyverweg 1, Technical University Delf, 2629HS, NETHELANDS

It can be assumed that the idea turned out to be so successful that no one intends to talk about success.
And this seems to be true.
Project developers and engineers constantly participate in military-technical conferences, and calculation methods, and the term BLAM mentioned in programs

Range Extended Adaptive Munition (REAM)
Spike-Controlled Adaptive Round SCAR '00 (DARPA)
Light Fighter Lethality Adaptive Round (LFLAR '01-02)
Hypervelocity Interceptor Test Technology (HITT '98-00)
Shipborne-Countermeasure Range-Extended Adaptive
Munition (SCREAM '01-03) Phase II SBIR
New Scientist, 12/04/1997 "A DECADE OF ENABLING ADAPTIVE MATERIALS R&D" Dr. Ron Barrett Alumni Associate Professor and Director of the Adaptive Aerostructures Laboratory 211 Aerospace Engineering Building, Auburn University, Alabama 36849 Dr. Gary Lee President, Lutronix Corporation 13627 Portofino Drive, Del Mar, California 95327 ADM001736, Proceedings for the Army Science Conference (24th) Held on 29 November - 2 December 2005 in Orlando, Florida. Barrett, R., “Design and Testing of Piezoelectric Flight Control Actuators for Hard-Launch Munitions,” SPIE 11th Annual International Symposium on Smart Structures and Materials, San Diego, CA, March 2004. SPIE Digital Libray on 21 May 2010 to 470 / 5390 Proc.of SPIE Vol.XNUMX "Membrane"
Photos used:

Subscribe to our Telegram channel, regularly additional information about the special operation in Ukraine, a large amount of information, videos, something that does not fall on the site:

Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. Kars
    Kars 6 May 2012 09: 55
    In detail, informatively, illustrated --- the author is already recognizable.
    I didn’t even hear about such research.
    Thank you.
  2. FTALL
    FTALL 6 May 2012 12: 03
    A good project, but we have gas in our apartment) and the "daredevil" projectile and laser-guided mines, not to mention the ATG-tour by itself and the air bombs, but they and the adversary have, but in the ground armament shells with laser correction are our everything wink ))
    1. ankh-andrej
      ankh-andrej 6 May 2012 12: 30
      Well, there is also an M712 Copperhead.
  3. Yan005
    Yan005 6 May 2012 12: 49
    It seems to me that the technology is quite simple and we can "fruitfully" adapt it to our needs of the RF Armed Forces.
    For T-50, air defense, Navy, spacecraft, Mi, etc. such shells would be very useful for cannon weapons!
    We are not far behind the piezoelectric elements, and we simply solve the problem with the control chips: we take everything in the same place.
    In aerodynamics, algorithms, we are ahead or at the level (Buran, Su)
  4. Ion coaelung
    Ion coaelung 6 May 2012 13: 09
    I read it in the magazine Popular Mechanics in April 2012, they are trying to introduce the same technologies (piezoelements, micro flaps) into bullets for rifles. There are even results proving its effectiveness.
    1. Yan005
      Yan005 6 May 2012 13: 17
      topwar also wrote about these technologies:
      probably the question has ripened, and the process has begun ..
  5. KA
    KA 6 May 2012 16: 04
    I wonder how much this projectile (cartridge) will cost?
    1. matvey.z
      matvey.z 6 May 2012 18: 14
      150 $ / nozzle. The article has cost for 1997
  6. matvey.z
    matvey.z 6 May 2012 18: 02
    150 $ / nozzle. The article has cost for 1997
  7. Anubis
    Anubis 6 May 2012 18: 30
    The projectile and bullet rotate very quickly, several thousand revolutions per second. If they are going to deflect the tip at a speed of 200 hertz (200 vibrations per second), they won’t be able to control the projectile, because from the moment the cone is deflected until it returns, the projectile will make more than 10 revolutions, which will lead to its destabilization. wink For this technology to work on a rifled weapon, the frequency must be two orders of magnitude higher, and this is already unrealistic. Hence the "plug" in the program.
    1. 11Goor11
      11Goor11 6 May 2012 20: 25
      God give it! And under the usual fall is not a hunt. And here is such a dirty trick!
    2. postman
      7 May 2012 01: 27
      Quote: Anubis
      Projectile and bullet spin very fast

      Hey. right:
      rifle 830 rpm.
      AK-74 approx. about 3000 rpm
      a shell from 200 to 500 rpm.
      (in the article we are talking about shells, about bullets in the future)
      but even if the projectile rotated more than 1000 r / sec., it is possible to control with a cycle of 200 Hz.
      You forget about derivation

      When shooting at short and medium distances, derivation is not of great practical importance. So, when shooting at a distance of 300 m, the derivative deviation is 2 cm, at a distance of 600 m - 12 cm. Derivation should be taken into account only with particularly accurate long-distance shooting, making appropriate amendments to the installation of the sight.

      "Already at the beginning of the use of rifled guns, the artillerymen were faced with an at first incomprehensible phenomenon: a rotating projectile fell not where the gun was aimed, but in Russian artillery - always to the right of the target, in French - always to the left of the target."
      No "plug", piezo drive is not one or two, but many. how much: the work is not reported.
      1. Anubis
        Anubis 7 May 2012 07: 01
        What does derivation have to do with it? Rejecting the nose of the bullet (shell) we change its flow around the air, by analogy with conventional rudders, causing it to turn. If the projectile rotates, then this method only works if the nose deviates and returns to its place when the projectile rotates no more than 1/4 turn. Even at a rotation speed of 200 revolutions per second, the oscillation frequency should be at least 800 Hz, and given that the nozzle must be universal, it is necessary to focus on the maximum rotation speed.
        1. postman
          7 May 2012 12: 58
          Quote: Anubis
          Rejecting the nose of the bullet (shell)

          you can change or decrease the lifting force, or shift the point of the resultant forces (gravity, resistance, turning moment, etc.).
          But the bottom line is that derivation is not 800 rpm. and much less and 200Hz enough
          1. Anubis
            Anubis 7 May 2012 16: 04
            Quote: Postman
            But the bottom line is that derivation is not 800 rpm. and much less and 200Hz enough

            Enough for what? How do you plan to use derivation to control the direction of the projectile? If you simply deflect the nose of the projectile and allow it to rotate, then forces that tend to destabilize it will act on it, because they will act uniformly as the projectile rotates. A simple example - hold a bent nail in a drill and turn it on smile
            1. postman
              8 May 2012 14: 03
              Quote: Anubis
              Enough for what?

              In order to effect the body moving in the atmosphere with a frequency greater than the rotation frequency due to derivation.
              Quote: Anubis
              How do you plan to use derivation

              and derivation is the result of which (what forces acting on the projectile flying in the atmosphere).

              the drill is not suitable as an example. There is no aerodynamic drag on the flow.

              Actually, in the work of R.Barret ^ G.Lee) to the page of mathematical formulas.
              I did not post in the article, otherwise I would have overloaded.
              If interested, I can send in a personal. .
              There are explanations in English.

              In my opinion, in addition to aerodynamic correction, a change arises from the displacement of the CM. and this they also (most likely) took into account, but for some reason they hid it in their works.
              Algorithms that are calculated and worked out will simply be wired into the chip.
              1. Anubis
                Anubis 8 May 2012 17: 56
                Give a better example of controlling a rotating projectile using the displacement of the CM in a serial product.
                1. postman
                  8 May 2012 19: 22
                  In serial yet. So what?
                  There are developments.
                  All when it was not serial.
                  1. Anubis
                    Anubis 8 May 2012 19: 35
                    If we were talking about changing the CM as the main means of control, then it makes no sense to fence a garden with a deviating nose. By the way, in the article itself, we are talking ONLY about aerodynamic control (the tip must be deflected alternately in different directions, taking into account the projectile rotation frequency, then for the incoming flow it will be deflected in one direction - where the projectile "wants" to turn) and in this form the project at the oscillation frequency nose at 200 Hz will not work.
                    1. postman
                      9 May 2012 12: 32
                      controlling the change in the position of the CM is harder to organize, but for the projectile trajectory it is energetically beneficial. no spurious losses.
                      no one "fences".
                      a hydrogen engine (ICE, RD) is more profitable. but all "fence" with gasoline or ndmg.
                      there is the concept of "technical, technological" feasibility at this time.

                      "by the way" no one argued otherwise, and despite your
                      Quote: Anubis
                      The project will not work at a nose frequency of 200 Hz.

                      the project works.
                      What to guess on coffee grounds or to make statements not supported by anything: write R. Barret (Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Kluyverweg 1, Technical University Delf, 2629HS, NETHELANDS)
                      he will give competent explanations. And tell you about the fate of the future.
                      The bar is removed from work.
  8. Andrey_K
    Andrey_K 7 May 2012 00: 20
    1. Increase the probability of hitting and destroying targets in the short and medium range. Air-to-air weapon class, with the ability to hit the entire range of aircraft and missiles.

    Here is the main application for such shells (bullets).
    If the plane can fight anti-aircraft missiles, then it will again become the king of the air - stealth will no longer be needed, and the plane will calmly shoot itself any missiles that will be launched on it.
    If such weapons appear, then everything else (tanks, artillery) can be safely written off as scrap, since they will become defenseless against aviation.
    The advantage will be for those who have the most effective ammunition, the other will lose the battles without causing any losses.
    1. Vldmr
      Vldmr 7 May 2012 00: 46
      And that anti-aircraft artillery cannot be equipped with such shells? Anyway, the aircraft will carry less ammunition than ground ZSU, it will simply shoot it. Yes, the projectile is much more difficult to shoot down. Anti-aircraft shells can be remotely controlled and close the entire estimated target location, no acrobatic somersaults will help. On the topwar there was an article about 3 months ago on the completion of the ZSU-57-2 guided missiles and radar with a control channel.
      1. Andrey_K
        Andrey_K 7 May 2012 13: 13
        The anti-aircraft artillery has a significant drawback, in comparison with the plane - it is stationary, and the plane is mobile.
        Those. the aircraft selects the route — it can temporarily retreat, firing, and anti-aircraft missiles will have to catch up with it, while the shells fired from the aircraft will meet them in the opposite direction - this gives complete superiority to the aircraft.
        And the corrected shells - so they will not catch up with him or catch him at all - they can not maneuver as much as a rocket and an anti-missile (shell) maneuver will save them.
        The projectile cannot turn at an acute angle.
        1. postman
          7 May 2012 13: 17
          Quote: Andrey_K

          The aircraft also has the ability to maneuver in 3 dimensions (right, left, up / down) at a significant speed.
          1. Andrey_K
            Andrey_K 7 May 2012 13: 28
            Well, I’m saying that it’s impossible to shoot shells at other planes, but anti-aircraft missiles against such shells are defenseless.
            Although the missiles have the ability to maneuver, but if they do this during the pursuit of the aircraft, they will not catch any aircraft, but will only waste fuel.
            1. postman
              7 May 2012 14: 18
              Quote: Andrey_K

              According to the full text of the release, it just follows that the development began at the request of the US Air Force to equip cannon weapons.
              It is understandable: the aircraft has a payload limitation. take 100 shells, or say 2, which can perform the same task.
              Then, in 2004 it is traced that they (the shells) are supposed to equip the artillery air defense systems of the Navy, as well as snipers.
              ZR, of course, cannot and is not intended to maneuver against missile defense.

              the only thing that makes it difficult to destroy air defense (or air-to-air) with cannon weapons is that missiles (as a rule) go onto the plane from behind, or at an angle from behind, after.
              "Head-on", as far as I know, is not being launched.
              And only large aircraft (bombers class) shoot "back".

              Fighters are not equipped with "backfire" weapons.

              When firing, SAs also have an additional advantage over the air defense system, that the carrier speed is added to the speed of the projectile (rocket) and shoot "from top to bottom" (gravity increases the speed of the projectile and, accordingly, the range)
              1. Andrey_K
                Andrey_K 7 May 2012 15: 29
                I thought about it (that the plane does not shoot back), but in fact:
                1) Air defense does not always shoot a plane in the tail - usually, it should fly towards the front line and missiles are launched into its forehead.
                2) Even if the rocket flies from the side, the projectile in a wide arc can change direction - it cannot wiggle sharply, and knowing where the missile will be after some time the projectile can be delivered there.
                3) And the pilot knows where the rocket will be after some time and can even "help" her choose the right decision - after all, the trajectory of the rocket depends on the maneuvers of the plane, and the plane can maneuver as he wants.
                4) The main thing is kinetic energy - the velocity of the projectile, combined with the speed of the aircraft, provides the projectile with high kinetic energy.
                Having such a reserve, part of this energy can be spent on turning in a wide arc, and even turn 180 degrees and go into the tail of your own plane.
                1. postman
                  7 May 2012 17: 39
                  With preemption, you can shoot and so will fire the anti-aircraft artillery system (for example, a ship).
                  As for changing direction, especially by 180 gr. I doubt:
                  1. there is not enough stock of kinetic energy
                  2. Do not forget that the target must be highlighted by the LCC (before the projectile and the contact of the target) and the projectile sensor must capture the reflection of the LCC.
                  3. very high speeds of a striking warhead and antiaircraft
                  1. Andrey_K
                    Andrey_K 7 May 2012 19: 41
                    Why is there not enough energy?
                    There is enough boomerang, and why should not the shell miss?
                    The boomerang in the air unfolds 360 degrees, with almost no loss of energy.
                    It’s not necessary to highlight - it is possible to transmit by radio the current location of the target relative to the projectile, the speed of the target and the speed of the projectile, or the place where the projectile needs to be reached, and he himself will figure out where to turn.
                    1. postman
                      8 May 2012 01: 07
                      Boomerang and projectile speed?
                      180g turning radius?
                      (I always remember SR-71) with its 70 = 80 km by 3 M.
                      The boomerang has the same +: it "keeps" in the air like an airplane (due to the lifting force)
                      If you transmit on the radio it’s the GOS with the correction: too complicated, oversized, expensive.
                      1. Andrey_K
                        Andrey_K 8 May 2012 14: 01
                        More speed - more air flow.
                        Everything is interconnected.
                        Increase the windage (no matter what extendable wings) and you can twist the eights.
                        One nose, of course, does not turn.
                        By the way, the boomerang uses its rotation energy - the projectile also rotates ... if you think about it, then this rotation can also be adapted for business.
                      2. postman
                        8 May 2012 19: 17
                        More speed, more resistance.
                        The rocket has traction, the shell is not.
                        Boomerang yes, but the "blades" due to rotation create lift.
                        There (at the boomerang) other speeds ...
                        "quantity for quality," as Lenin said
                      3. Andrey_K
                        Andrey_K 11 May 2012 14: 59
                        But, belatedly, the following idea arose:
                        If, let’s say, the projectile has a propeller - then at the corresponding rotation speed and projectile speed, this propeller will either accelerate the projectile (if it rotates too fast) or spend translational energy on unwinding the projectile.
                        In the forward direction of motion, the speed of rotation of the projectile will come in line with its linear speed - the propeller will neither accelerate nor slow down the movement.
                        But now we’ll turn the projectile a certain angle.
                        Then the projection of the headwind speed on the projectile axis will become less than that "equilibrium velocity" and the propeller will start spending the energy of the projectile rotation on acceleration in the direction where its nose is looking.
                        Those. the projectile will begin to accelerate in a new direction, due to the energy of rotation.
                        It remains only to add a mechanism in which the lateral wind spins the projectile in the same direction in which it rotates.
                        This can be achieved by changing the shape of the blades to spiral or add additional blades - especially for the promotion of the projectile with a side wind.
                        (There are such column-shaped wind generators in which the blades have a cylindrical shape, which the side wind spins)
    KAZAKHSTAN 7 May 2012 15: 43
    They thought better of how to get out of the crisis, but in the minds of the current states, a war and a new sophisticated means of killing a nation of killers !!! the killers!!!
    1. postman
      7 May 2012 17: 42
      This is progress and scientific development. This does not stop. remember Nazi Germany: research and work went on until the day of surrender.
      States need dominance. So they stimulate the search for new tools ...
    2. marauder
      marauder 7 May 2012 20: 45
      Quote: KAZAKHSTAN
      Better thought how to get out of the crisis but the current states mind wars

      And they can get out of the crisis only through war.
  10. Okuscher
    Okuscher 7 May 2012 21: 48
    interesting solution good it is necessary to achieve current industrial production and bring control and application to mind drinks and in the end, we will get a simple solution for the art of adjusting ordinary fire, and over time solve it with smaller systems
  11. Anubis
    Anubis 8 May 2012 09: 14
    Quote: Okuscher
    interesting solution

    Only not working laughing In any case, for rifled trunks and shells to them. We can say that the project, as it was originally planned (to create a nozzle that can turn any projectile into a controlled one), failed.
    1. postman
      8 May 2012 19: 19
      Quote: Anubis
      Just not working laughing

      I would not be so categorical.
      information about the fact that "not working" - no. Experiments have shown the opposite.
      And I think in the near future we will hear.
      1. Anubis
        Anubis 8 May 2012 19: 46
        The principle is quite working, no doubt, if you raise the frequency of oscillations of the nose to several tens of kHz. And at 200 Hz - such a nozzle will work only with mines and missiles.
  12. Honory
    Honory 5 March 2015 22: 50
    Undoubtedly the Americans will bring the project to mind, it is too profitable to have homing bullets.