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A new artillery warhead is retiring an outdated cluster-bomb round on the battlefields for U.S. Army Central in the Middle East and Southwestern Asia. US officials are hoping that it could help eliminate unwanted casualties in the future.
The M30A1 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System Alternate Warhead was debuted in Kuwait during a test fire exercise recently in the Central Command area of operations, according to the central command’s website centcom.mil.
“Currently, the (Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions) round has a higher-than-acceptable rate potential to leave duds behind,” said Maj. Joshua Szafranski, an operations officer with the 197th Field Artillery Brigade.
Older models of the DPICM munitions contained hundreds of smaller “cluster bomb” explosives that were often left unexploded across the battlefield and creating a danger to civilians. The new M30A1 round is being implemented to limit duds by replacing the smaller explosives with 180,000 tungsten steel bee-bee-sized balls. “This particular round will be effective against light skinned vehicles and personnel,” Szafranski said.
The 197th Field Artillery Brigade is credited as the first to test the munitions for USARCENT from a High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System, also known as a HIMARS rocket system, according to CENTCOM’s website.
The round is expected to have applications in anti-terrorism operations, such as the fight against the Islamic State known as Operation Inherent Resolve.
“We successfully demonstrated what the capabilities of this new round are,” Szafranski said. “A high explosive round is very impressive because it produces a big bomb and large pieces of shrapnel, but this round is small pellets and covers a much larger area.”
See also our article about another alternative to warheads.