Weapons Effects
Gary's Combat Vehicle Reference Guide

Kinetic Energy (KE)

The kinetic energy projectile uses high velocity and mass to penetrate its target. Penetration depends directly on the projectile's velocity, weight, and the angle at which it hits.

Projectiles may have incendiary (tracer) pellets to aid in aiming and provide an incendiary effect. Incendiary projectiles can be used to penetrate a target and ignite its contents.

Types of KE projectiles include:

Chemical Energy (CE)

The chemical energy projectile uses some form of chemical heat and blast to achieve penetration. It detonates either at impact or when maximum penetration is achieved. Chemical energy projectiles carrying impact-detonated or delayed detonation high-explosive charges are used mainly for direct fire from systems with high accuracy and consistently good target acquisition ability.

Types of CE projectiles include:

Flame Weapons

Flame weapons are characterized by both physical (flame and overpressure) and psychological casualty-producing abilities. The intense flame may also exhaust the oxygen content of inside air causing respiratory injuries to occupants shielded from the flaming fuel. Flame does not normally need to be applied with pinpoint accuracy to accomplish its mission. Flame weapons inlude flamethrowers, incendiary grenades, white phosphorus (WP) artillery shells, and fuel-air/thermobaric munitions.

Fuel-air (aka thermobaric) munitions disperse fuel into the atmosphere forming a fuel-air mixture that is detonated. The fuel is usually contained in a metal canister and is dispersed by detonation of a central burster charge carried within the canister. Upon proper dispersion, the fuel-air mixture is detonated. Peak pressures created within the detonated cloud reach 300 pounds per square inch (psi). The ability of thermobaric weapons to provide massed heat and pressure effects at a single point in time cannot be reproduced by conventional weapons without massive collateral destruction.

Flame weapons can be used against fortified positions, interior buildings, tunnels (to include subways and sewers), and open areas. They can also be used to control avenues of approach for personal and lightly armored vehicles. When employed properly, even if the round or burst misses, enough flaming material and overpressure enters the position or area to cause casualties and disrupt operations. Thermobaric munitions will provide a more effective and selective flame capability that is easier and safer to employ at all levels of tactical operations without the side effect of large area destruction due to uncontrolled fires.