Magazine article National Defense

U.S. Army Tags the Champion in Objective Individual Combat Weapon Competition

Magazine article National Defense

U.S. Army Tags the Champion in Objective Individual Combat Weapon Competition

Article excerpt

The U.S. Army took a big step into the 21st century when the joint service small arms program office selected the winner of the objective individual combat weapon (OICW) sweepstakes.

Alliant Techsystems, Hopkins, Minnesota, edged out its only other competitor, AAI Corporation, Hunt Valley, Maryland.

The new weapon promises the next generation soldier finally will be able to shoot around corners. Don L. Stieninski, Alliant Techsystems' group vice president of defense systems, predicts this weapon will revolutionize warfare as much as the introduction of the machine gun did more than 100 years ago.

The OICW eliminates most of the guess work from the individual soldier's warfighting equation. It weighs 18 pounds fully loaded, and fires 20mm high explosive, air-bursting munitions as well as standard 5.56 x 45mm NATO kinetic energy ammunition.

The technology underpinning its sophisticated fire control system is more often associated with a main battle tank. In combination. the OICW extends the depth and range of the battlefield for the individual soldier.

With fewer fighting men in the Army's future, doing more with less takes on new meaning in an infantry equipped with the OICW

Knowing exactly where the target is, the weapon can deliver 20mm ammunition with an air burst fuze and fragmenting warhead with requisite lethality to area targets up to 1,000 meters away.

The problem for this small warhead in a round with a total weight of , just 92 grams-3.25 ounces-is attaining that lethality. Precision will be the key to its success.

Alliant Techsystems engineers, with assistance from partners at Dynamit Nobel in Germany, decided on what they called the "reliability and repeatability" of turns-count technology for the 20mm fuze.

Asked about consistency in performance, Dave Broden, Alliant Techsystems technical director, said turns-count fuzing is selfcompensating, "regardless of the rate of speed; [the round] will always turn at the same rate," compensating for any variances resulting from the manufacturing process.

In combination with target information and preprogrammed technical data of the ammunition, the fire control system, designed by Contraves, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, calculates the number of turns it takes the round to reach the target. The laser in the fire control mechanism sends pulses out to the target. It analyzes each pulse, and calculates the exact range. The fire control communicates that information to the fuze before the round exits the barrel.

Broden attributed the selection of Alliant Techsystems' OICW to a combination of weapon design and the integrated product team that produced it. …

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