Grenade Getting a Upgrade in 40 Years, US Army is Designing a Grenade With Selectable Explosion Modes
The US Army has started work its first new hand grenade in 40 years, which could give soldiers much more control over the explosive effects of their ordinance.
The Enhanced Tactical Multi-Purpose (ET-MP) grenade being developed at the Army’s Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey will allow soldiers to choose between fragmentation mode and concussive mode before tossing it.
All Army personnel have been outfitted with the M67 fragmentation grenade. The last concussion grenade that saw wide use in the Army was the MK3A2, which was used from the early 20th century through Vietnam. However, the casing of the MK3A2 contained a lot of asbestos, so it would spread those fibers through the air upon detonation. That was a danger to anyone in the area after the blast.
Concussion grenades in general, are a desirable option, though. They’re still lethal weapons, as opposed to stun or “flashbang” grenades. However, the lethal radius of a concussion grenade is only about 2 meters, allowing soldiers to reduce the risk of collateral damage. A fragmentation grenade can be lethal at several times that distance because it actually ejects shrapnel in the explosion. Concussion grenades rely on the force of explosion alone.
The ET-MP is still in the planning phase, but designers envision a dial on top of the device that will allow the user to select between the two modes before the pin is pulled. It will also feature a safer electronic fuse, which has a longer operational life and more precise timing.
It’s also ambidextrous, whereas the current M67 fragmentation grenade is intended for right-handed use. The Army has allocated just $1.1 million for the development of the grenade in 2017, so it’ll probably be a few years before there’s a physical prototype to test.