Lightweight Small Caliber Ammunition Production Initiative
Project Status: Current
The objective of this effort is to establish and qualify a domestic production capability for the manufacture of lightweight ammunition based on polymeric material. The initial focus is the development, production, and qualification of lightweight .50 caliber machinegun rounds. Upon successful completion of the machinegun round, other lightweight small caliber ammunition, including .50 caliber sniper rounds and Special Forces operations ammunition, will be considered for development. This Defense Production Act Title III project will result in military grade ammunition casings that can be deployed in conventionally fielded weapon systems at a comparable cost to standard brass ammunition. The lightweight .50 caliber ammunition weighs approximately 25% less than standard brass ammunition.
Bay St. Louis, MS
To speak with a Title III representative about a specific project, call (937) 904-4382.
Date of Contract Award: September 18, 2008
Total Contract Value: $ 12,900,488.00
Lightweight, polymer-cased, .50 caliber ammunition
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Applications and Benefits
Ammunition, specifically cartridge cases, account for a sizable portion of the overall carrying weight
necessary for the modern warfighter. In many instances, the carried ammunition weight alone can far outweigh the related weapon system.
Reducing the weight carried by the soldier will result in improved battlefield mobility, combat readiness, and ultimately, survivability. Additionally, weight reductions will have the effect of decreased fuel consumption during transportation and delivery or conversely enable larger quantities of ammunition to be delivered without increasing shipment costs.
Activities and Accomplishments
- Developed and demonstrated baseline prototype design for the polymer-cased .50 caliber ammunition.
- Established a pilot-scale facility.
- Successfully fired lightweight .50 caliber rounds from M2 gun at two Quantico Live Fire Demonstrations (Quantico, VA) and Tech Warrior Demonstration (Fort Drum, NY).
- Demonstrated lightweight ammunition in two aircraft-specific weapon systems, XM-218 (GAU-16) and GAU-21, which have a very high rate of fire.
- Conducted tests using .50 caliber polymer cases with precision (sniper) bullets. The test results have been very positive, indicating improved accuracy compared to current precision ammunition.
- DOD pre-qualification testing underway for the .50 caliber ammunition in three weapon systems, M2, XM-218 (GAU-16), and GAU-21.