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The Army’s Developing a Two Kill Option, Ambidextrous Hand Grenade

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The new grenade has been in development and testing for five years. (Photo: Herbert Wortmann)

Engineers at the Picatinny Arsenal are developing a new kind of hand grenade for today’s warfighters. The M67 hand grenade in current use was designed more than 40 years ago and has been in service since 1968. While it’s been effective, the Army thinks it’s about time for a new one.

The Army wants to give soldiers more options with a variable-effect hand grenade. The grenade will be able to do double duty as either a fragmentation grenade or a concussion grenade with the flip of a switch. The next-generation grenade is called the Enhanced Tactical Multi-Purpose (ET-MP) hand grenade.

A fragmentation grenade works by using an explosion to throw metal shards in all directions. A concussion grenade is still lethal, but it doesn’t blast fragments in all directions — making them less dangerous to use in close-quarters situations. The Army stopped issuing concussion grenades over asbestos concerns in 1975.

grenade-render

An illustration of the new grenade design. (Photo: U.S. Army)

The new grenade in development will have an electronic fuse and an ignition system that will let soldiers pick either fragmentation or concussion modes with the flip of a switch. The Army also wanted the controls to be more ambidextrous with the same manual of arms for left- and right-handed users.

The decision to move to an electronic fuse will raise eyebrows but the Army actually wants a more predictable, reliable ignition system. The electronic fuse is accurate to a millisecond. They also want the grenades to have a longer shelf life. The new grenade has been in development for five years.

“[Soldiers] are currently carrying one M67 grenade that provides lethal fragmentation effects,” said U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) project officer Jessica Perciballi.” With the new multi-purpose grenade, they can carry one ET-MP grenade and have the ability to choose either fragmentation or concussive effects desired for the situation.”

See Also: Milkor M32A1 Grenade Launcher

“Not only will ET-MP provide additional capabilities and lethality to the warfighter, it will also be the first Army Fuze Safety Review Board and Insensitive Munition-qualified lethal grenade in the Army’s portfolio,” said Perciballi.

grenade-brainstorming

Soldiers, Marines and engineers discussing different fuse styles and grenade controls. (Photo: Herbert Wortmann)

Both the Army and the Marine Corps put in requests for a new, improved hand grenade. Initial ET-MP research began in 2010 and engineers received full funding for the project in 2013. Researchers have been working directly with infantry trainers and active-duty Soldiers and Marines.

Engineers expect to have the new grenade in troops’ hands by the 2020 fiscal year, according to Grenades Tech Base Development Lead Matthew Hall.

“We received direct input from the Army and Marine Corps early on, which was critical in ensuring the new arming and fuzing design was user friendly,” said Hall.

The use of an electronic fuse adds an extra layer of safety to the system as well. “With these upgrades in the ET-MP, not only is the fuze timing completely electronic, but the detonation train is also out-of-line,” Hall explained. “Until armed, the hand grenade will not be able to detonate.”

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • ejharb October 15, 2016, 11:23 am

    Asbestos? I’d be more worried about depleted uranium dust than asbestos!

  • Philip Hess October 2, 2016, 10:29 pm

    5 year, really? 5 years! Wasted tax dollars! And they come up with close quarters hand grenades? And we morons are footing the tab.

  • Larry Koehn October 1, 2016, 8:21 pm

    They need a Frisbee shaped grenade for longer range grenade work. You sure would not want your enemy breathing asbestos fibers. If he survives the grenade he could die of lung cancer and that would be horrible, or would it? Of course with all the butt kissing paper pushers running things since Obozo dumped all the warriors being politically correct is the driving force now.

  • Keith Brockmiller September 30, 2016, 10:20 pm

    Really? Your in a war, and worried about asbestos? And that was in the 70s!!

    making them less dangerous to use in close-quarters situations. The Army stopped issuing concussion grenades over asbestos concerns in 1975.

  • Dave K. September 30, 2016, 9:03 pm

    Damn it. It’s only a matter of time before they co-opt my years of work on the “Shizzlicious Candy Bar”. Just press a small blister on the wrapper and it goes from sweet chocolate to turd-flavor. Seriously? Did a defense lawyer come up with this?

  • Keith September 30, 2016, 11:14 am

    One more high tech solution looking for a problem to solve. Do we really need a high tech, selective fire hand grenade?

    Once-upon-a-time the goal of the military, when it comes to basic combat weapons, was to make it soldier-simple. The idea being that, with minimal combat training, any soldier could operate and maintain their primary combat weapons. No college degree needed, no indecision about what switch to turn or what “combat” option to use. SIMPLE operating instructions; pull the trigger, fire a bullet; pull the pin and throw, blow-up the enemy.

    The fewer steps needed the easier to use. In a combat environment the fewer steps needed to use a weapon the better. I remember when the military introduced the “safety” on the M-67. You could literally pull the pin and let go of the grenade and it would not go off until you physically removed the safety. GREAT for reducing training accidents, bad for real combat. Troops going into combat would sometimes pull the pin and throw the grenade WITHOUT REMEMBERING TO REMOVE THE SAFETY! Real safe, for the enemy.

    The military needs to remember what really works for troopers in combat, Keep It Simple Stupid!

  • SicSemperTyrannis September 30, 2016, 10:43 am

    Having never served, maybe I’m missing something, how is a concussion grenade different from a flash bang? What jumped out at me instantly when reading this (and maybe it’s because of my lack of knowledge with this weapon) is the high potential for an “oh-sh!%” moment with a dual option grenade. Would a concussion grenade normally be used in less than lethal situations? When would one option be used over the other? Would this be an “if/then” weapon? Meaning IF a team of operators is on a rescue mission, THEN if they might consider setting to concussion to help avoid collateral damage during the rescue? However, IF they are on a search and destroy/kill mission, THEN they would likely opt to set the grenade to frag.? If this is accurate (and it may not be), I can already see how a soldier in the heat of battle might make a tragic error.
    For example, let’s assume a hostage rescue team has reached their objective, one of the soldiers tosses a grenade into a room full of hostage takers, but the moment the grenade leaves the soldiers hand his teammates hear an audible “oh sh!%” the moment he releases the grenade. 3 seconds later, any confusion the comment might have created is clarified when the hostage(s) they were sent to rescue get ventilated by shrapnel.
    Just sayin…maybe it’s my lake of military experience that has me at a disadvantage here as I don’t know this weapon system, but it seems simply logical to me that a “dual purpose” grenade for soldiers who will be engaged in highly stressful situations shouldn’t have to pause and think if they set the damn thing to the right setting while they are in contact. Does this create more problems than it solves? Those of you that have served, please feel free to help me correct my thinking on this if I’m wrong.

    • John October 1, 2016, 6:05 pm

      Concussion Grenades are not like flash bangs at all. You would not throw a concussion into a room you wanted anyone to survive in. It doesn’t “stun” you like a flash bang. It hits you with a shock wave that collapses your lungs and turns your brain and other soft tissues into jelly.

    • Bob Lee October 6, 2016, 11:28 am

      You missed the part where each grenade comes with an advisor/lawyer who will engage in a discussion of possible legal liability scenarios as you set the switch and hurl it toward the persons selected for life/death modification….

  • ToddB September 30, 2016, 7:48 am

    As a lefty I had no idea the old grenade was even an issue, I still managed to pull the pins on them. And we can almost see how this new grenade is going to work, double the price and will be recalled several times to work out the bugs. Its a friggin grenade not rocket science. You pull the pin, throw it, people die.

    • TommyT September 30, 2016, 9:46 am

      Exactly! The first problem they will likely have is that the switch proves unreliable; and, combat troops are stuck with only concussion grenades in combat…

      I carried a claymore bag full of hand grenades, in Vietnam. It’s far better, whenever you can, to be able to kill the enemy without having to expose yourself to their return fire.

      • Mick September 30, 2016, 10:39 am

        TommyT, I loved having some of the old “pineapple” grenades in ‘Nam, liked them better than the “lemon” grenades ! !

    • DIYinSTL September 30, 2016, 2:01 pm

      Double the price? The taxpayer will be lucky if this boondoggle is only 10 times the price.

  • Erik Polcrack September 30, 2016, 7:37 am

    When does the new grenade’s fuse/timer actually start and how long is the delay? The nice thing about current grenades is the time fuse doesn’t start burning until the grenade is well away from the thrower – the ‘spoon’, the lever on the side of the grenade, has to flip up and pop off first. The thrower’s hand holds it down until it leaves his hand(and the soldier is well on the way to the prone position or back down behind cover – that follow-through is part of the training). You can even ‘safe’ the grenade by putting the pin back in. If the new grenade’s timer starts as soon as the pin is pulled, I’m a little concerned about an increase in fatal training accidents and friendly fire casualties in combat.

  • Dam miller September 30, 2016, 6:42 am

    Maybe it’s time we use someone else’s ideas! Didn’t know the Dutch even had and effective Army that could use grenades! Just kidding! Good idea smaller lighter carry few more! Crap….. have you seen what the normal combat load is already for the combat infantryman! I don’t see how they could carry any more stuff and be effective!

  • Shasta McNasty September 30, 2016, 6:38 am

    My problem with the M67 is the fact that we arent allowed to have them.

  • John Sahagian September 30, 2016, 6:31 am

    Will an electronically fused grenade still function after an EMP?

    • Peter September 30, 2016, 10:47 am

      I was thinking the same thing. If it has electronics inside, it has to have some sort of battery and circuit board to control it. Two things susceptible to an EMP.

  • Matt September 27, 2016, 6:45 pm

    My problem with the M67 is you can’t throw it far enough that it can’t hurt you, making it more of a defensive weapon. The Dutch solved this problem by making smaller grenades that could be used offensively. Good for clearing a room, or fighting position an added benefit was you could carry many more for the same weight.

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