disposable incendiary assault system

KnightTemplar

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Apparently, 6 years ago a prototype one-man MLRS was created. It was deemed far to dangerous to actually produce and use, but here it it anyway. It was capable of firing four rockets, each one the size of a standard LAAWS anti-tank rocket. It was classified as a disposable incendiary assault system. It was square, with fold down lids on both ends and a pistol grip in front for stabilization. The The problem was that the warhead contained a mixture of gelled kerosene and aluminum flakes, which, when burning, was probably at least as nasty as napalm. The rockets were also supposed to have a penetrating effect, but like the pistol rocket they never reached an acceptable velocity. Unfortunately, the lowest bidder got the contract to make them, so the warheads had a tendency to leak inside the launcher. There really wasn't any way to inspect them without popping the end cap, which broke a seal, so any unit that had been inspected could no longer be issued for use. If you fired one and another one had leaked, it would probably explode. If a bullet hit a warhead, it would probably go off, and set the other three off. Given the weight, it probably was not possible to throw one of those things far enough away to survive the unexpected explosion or launch of all four of those warheads.
 

elmayerle

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I really question that warhead mixture. From what I remember, aluminum flakes need an intense supply of oxygen to burn, hence the presence of iron oxide in thermite or ammonium perchlorate in solid rocket fuel. I'd reckong gelled kerosene by itself wouldn't be that much different from the gelled gasoline that is napalm.
 

RP1

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It seems to have been quite real, and quite dangerous:

(As featured in "Commando", BTW, but as an AT type weapon)

http://www.inetres.com/gp/military/infantry/flame/M202.html

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ground/m202.htm

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/policy/army/fm/90-10/90-10apb.htm

http://www.bellum.nu/armoury/M202A1.html
 
J

jeffryfontaine

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As far as being something new in the inventory, I think you better check the dates on your information sources. I received instruction on that weapon when I was in Army basic training back in 1973 so that weapon has been around for a very long time. The weapon you are describing was type classified as the M202 and it was nicknamed "Flash" for obvious reasons. It was designed to replace the flame thrower and it basically a rocket launcher that contained four 66mm incendiary rockets in a launcher that could be collapsed for carriage and when needed it was expanded to allow firing of the weapon.
The M202 was not issued as a throw away weapon like the M72 LAW, it was capable of being reloaded using a prepackaged ammunition clip containing the four 66mm incendiary rockets which were inserted into the breech end of the rocket launcher. This allowed the M202 to be reused instead of discarded after firing.

Regarding the dangers with this weapon, there is always cause for concern regarding the backblast area which is standard for any recoiless weapon such as this. The usual precautions were also stressed regarding the explosive content of the motor as well as the warheads. Any weapon such as this will also have a shelf life after which time it must be removed from the inventory to be destroyed or demilitarized due to the chemical debonding and decomposition of the explosive and incendiary fillers used in the weapon which will cause leakage inside the container.

It would have been nice to have had an option for the M202 to be loaded with four 66mm HEAT (LAW) rockets instead of the incendiary weapons, this would have given shooter a higher probability of success in hitting a distant target instead of the recommended approach of "volley fire" by several soldiers with the M72 LAW against a single target in order to achieve a successful hit on the target. However, Hollywood is the only place that has managed to achieve that using their wonderful special effects.
 

RP1

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instead of the recommended approach of "volley fire" by several soldiers with the M72 LAW

After spending too much time on Operation Flashpoint I had wondered what the approach used in IRL was.

RP1
 

Speedy

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Hi

I'm new here so welcome everybody. And sorry for my poor english, sometimes I have problems with clearly explain what I have on my mind :(

jeffryfontaine said:
I received instruction on that weapon when I was in Army basic training back in 1973 so that weapon has been around for a very long time. The weapon you are describing was type classified as the M202 and it was nicknamed "Flash" for obvious reasons.

AFAIK the M202 launcher was standarized in 1972. But some years before, a prototypes XM191 and XM202 were extensively tested and used in Vietnam War. XM191 look identical, I think the changes between prototypes and standard weapon must be minor.

jeffryfontaine said:
It would have been nice to have had an option for the M202 to be loaded with four 66mm HEAT (LAW) rockets instead of the incendiary weapons, this would have given shooter a higher probability of success in hitting a distant target instead of the recommended approach of "volley fire" by several soldiers with the M72 LAW against a single target in order to achieve a successful hit on the target. However, Hollywood is the only place that has managed to achieve that using their wonderful special effects.

Your idea look very good. The M72 HEAT rocket for LAW and M74 incendiary rocket for FLASH are almost identical, only the warheads are different, motor and stabilizer section is the same. There was also a third member of family, XM96 Riot Control Rocket, bulild in 1968/69, with tear gas (CS) warhead http://www.designation-systems.net/dusrm/app4/m74rocket.html. It would be very easy to adopted M202 launcher to the launch all types of 66 mm Talley rockets. Moreover, in the 1970's or 80's multi-barrel antitank launchers are "fashionable", some companies showed some prototypes of similar weapon, French Matra and one German company made 2-barrel launchers, and Spanish Instalaza 3-barrel launcher. So 4-barrel would be nice idea...
But it is possible that someone have quite different idea and made prototype of one-shot incendiary launcher. I remember a B&W photo in one old journal (i think German "Soldat und Technik", something like "soldier and technology", from early 70's) showing M113 APC with all the infantry squad equipment laying around. There was a backpacks, rifles, ammo boxes etc. etc., tens or hundreds of things. And of course some LAW rockets, described as "antitank launchers". And - one or two - identical to LAW weapons (in slightly darker shade) ,described as "incendiary launchers" or "incendiary rounds".

And some about the incendiary payload. There wasn't of course "aluminium flakes". There is something called TPA (Thickened Pyrophoric Agent). Main component of this, is triethylaluminium (TEA) - a liquid metalorganic compound, used as a catalyst in some industrial processes. TEA is very dangerous substance (as many metalorganic compounds). It's spontaneously inflammable in air, very rapidly burn or exploded with water. It burn very hot, bright-white flame with temperature of 2500°C. The light and heat emission is so enormous that it is possible to get several skin burns from some (close) distance without direct contact with flame, only by thermal radiation. For warhead use TEA is prepared similar to modern napalm, by adding to liqiud TEA some percent of synthetic polymer (polyisobutylene) to get a gelled mass. It's looking not so safely so it isn't popular incendiary substance. Very good experience in chemical industry and qualified personnel is needed for mass production of similar substances and elaboration into live ammunition. I never read about TEA-based weapon in other country than USA and even in US there is only FLASH and prototype of 152 mm tank gun incendiary round that wasn't standarised.
 

Speedy

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Firefly said:
This was used in the movie Commando?

Yes. Of course explosion was "Hollywood type", not real flame burst. And I think even most stupid user can't shot rocket rear.
 

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