The new type of explosive material tested on Friday mixes metals and polymers — oxidizers — to create a chemical explosion on impact, is as strong as aluminum and is as dense as steel, but is “less likely to kill innocent bystanders,” the state-run BBC quoted US Navy scientists as saying.
High-Density Reactive Materials (HDRM) combine and explode only when the projectile hits the target, and are very durable, significantly enhancing the explosive effect, which increases the chances of a “catastrophic kill,” according to the military scientists.
Clifford Bedford, a researcher involved in the development of the new material, said, “In the case of a steel missile you explosively launch it, it goes through the target and all the kinetic energy is dissipated into the target.”
“With the reactive material missile, you have the same explosive launch — however, it disintegrates within the target and liberates chemical energy, and this chemical and kinetic energy combined gives you the enhanced effect,” he added.
The scientists who worked on the project say the development of the new material has been in process for more than five years.
Dr Bedford stated, “In the existing scenarios we have now, we essentially fire twice, look, and fire again because we don’t have a great deal of time to hit that missile — and that’s because with the steel fragments in current warheads, you can’t really tell if you’ve hit the target or not.
“Hopefully, with the HDRM reactive warhead, we fire once, look and can determine a catastrophic kill. We still have the option for a second fire. But it saves a great deal of cost if you can take out the target with one missile versus three.”