Warplanes: March 9, 2000


Rafael is developing a new bunker-busting warhead with an unusual shape. Most bombs and shells have a nose that is either a cone or an ogive (a "bulged cone") and symmetrical. This is needed to provide an aerodynamic shape, and because bombs and shells rotate in flight and hence it is impossible to know which side of the nose will hit the target first. The problem is that the traditional ogive shape causes the shell to travel in a continuous curve. This path can take the shell away from the inside of the bunker, reducing its effectiveness. Rafael plans to make a shell which is asymmetrical, basically a cylinder cut off at an angle so that one edge is far in advance of the rest. A stabilizer system will be needed to make sure that this leading edge contacts the bunker wall or ceiling first, where the dynamic forces will actually turn the shell toward a perpendicular line and penetrate the bunker more easily. --Stephen V Cole


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