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US Army developing new smart munition for M-SHORAD chain gun

The army's Manoeuvre-Short Range Air Defense (M-SHORAD) system integrates existing guns, missiles, rockets, and sensors onto a Stryker A1 vehicle. The service is starting to develop the technologies for Increment 3 of that system. (US Army/Captain Jordan Allen)

The US Army plans to start development in 2024 on a munition that can be programmed to better take out small unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) and ground vehicles targets back to back, according to a service announcement.

The XM1223 Multi-Mode Proximity Airburst (MMPA) is a High Explosive Proximity (HEP) ammunition that would be used as part of the Manoeuvre-Short Range Air Defense Increment 3 (M-SHORAD Inc 3), according to the March 2023 announcement. The new munition would be the second development programme the service plans to start for the M-SHORAD Inc 3 in 2024, according to budget documents.

The service has already announced its plans to replace the Stinger surface-to-air missile with the Next Generation Short Range Interceptor (NGSRI) on an M-SHORAD Inc 3. The latest ammunition could replace the currently deployed XM1211 HEP and the XM1198 High Explosive Dual Purpose (HEDP) ammunition that are fired from the 30×113 mm weapon system, the army said in an August 2021 release.

While the XM1121 and the XM1198 can take care of small UASs and ground systems, the multimode technology will take care of both threats and also personnel targets in one munition, the release said.

Both the deployed medium-calibre ammunitions are manufactured by Northrop Grumman. The drone-killing technology uses a precision fuse to delay the round's detonation until it senses the target, said Jarrod Krull, Northrop Grumman spokesperson. The sensing element enables the round to be effective even if the UAS moves after it is initially targeted, he added.

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