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has successfully tested a fuze well (the area where the fuze is installed) and fuze for high-speed penetrator warheads along with its partners Applied Research Associates (ARA), L-3 KDI Precision Products and Ellwood National Forge Co. The companies tested their design this past summer in a bomb that penetrated reinforced concrete at supersonic speeds.
“This is a major development that will help address a problem the military has been working on for quite a while,” said Carl Avila, director of Advanced Weapons and Missile Systems for Boeing. “Hard and deeply buried targets have always been difficult to find and prosecute, but this new fuze design makes it possible because it stays intact as the bomb penetrates and detonates when and where it’s needed.”
The design is the result of data collected from a 2006 test at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, when Boeing propelled a 1,800-pound penetrator warhead at more than 2,300 feet per second through high-strength reinforced concrete. The data from that test led to the fuze well design and fuze hardening concept used in the July test, also at Holloman Air Force Base, when a Small Diameter Bomb fuze in an 1,800-pound warhead survived a supersonic impact into high-strength reinforced concrete and soil.
“The fuze survived a very difficult test,” said Steve Vukelich, director of Special Programs at Boeing. “This design concept can be incorporated into existing weapon fuzes and goes a long way toward correcting a major deficiency for the warfighter. It’s currently being considered for a number of advanced weapons.”