Introduction to Variable Ammunition

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Variable Ammunition is not yet available. In making this statement, we want to elaborate on the concept of cartridge ammunition. Cartridge ammunition consists of modules that are composed of several components, such as: cartridge case, igniter, powder charge and bullet.

The new concept is to develop a completely new type of ammunition, utilizing the Carrier Cartridge and Projectile Carrier. The Carrier Cartridge is similar to conventional fixed ammunition; it has a cartridge case, a primer, and a powder charge. Unlike conventional fixed ammunition, the Carrier Cartridge has a Bullet Carrier. The Bullet Carrier contains the complete bullet, which can utilize any bullet type, i.e., Armor Piercing, High Explosive etc. This Bullet Carrier is pressed, as in conventional ammunition cartridges, into the cartridge case and encloses the powder charge space in the cartridge case from the environment. The result is the Carrier Cartridge now contains one powder charge for the different bullet types. These bullet types can be Armor Piercing, High Explosive and Training Practice. Using only one Cartridge Carrier design, 15 different types of ammunition can be utilized. The total weight and volume saved in this case corresponds to 14 different charges of powder, primer and cartridge cases.

The technique for the attachment between the Cartridge Carrier and Bullet Carrier is under development, but to illustrate the idea, the authors have attached a conceptual design.

Potential Applications of Variable Ammunition

The weapons platform utilizes a belt fed - delivery system for the Variable Ammunition. Carrier Cartridges and Bullet Carriers are mated, and ready for firing, (see illustration). Depending on construction costs and other constraints, the weapons platform will be able to support the loaded Variable Ammunition to a quantity of 1200 units, (which could be AP, HE or TP).

The key benefit in this proposal is the solution for the operator, within a very short time, the capability to select the appropriate ammunition for the corresponding target or field situation.

Cost Benefits

Sample calculations examining potential cost savings are noted below. Utilizing a cartridge price of $141.00 dollars for a High Explosive round (M789) and a cartridge price of $32.00 dollars for a training practice round (M788), yields a total of $173.00 dollars for the two different types of ammunition. Using Variable Ammunition, there are two Carrier Cartridges priced at approximately $25.00 dollars per each, a High Explosive Bullet, for $77.00 dollars per each and a Training Practice Bullet for $3.00 dollars. Total for the 4 components is $130.00 dollars. Comparing the costs of the two different ammunition types, the Variable Ammunition provides a cost savings of 24.86% over the standard ammunition.


The utilization of Variable Ammunition as an option to standard ammunition provides the field operator with the capabilities to change from one type Bullet to another Bullet or more, seamlessly, therefore giving the operator unlimited versatility in addressing the target. In addition to weight and volume reduction on the firing platform, there is cost benefits associated with using Variable Ammunition.


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  • Name:
    Rene Neubacher
  • Type of entry:
    Team members:
    Kim Butler, Rene Neubacher
  • Profession:
  • Software used for this entry:
    Autodesk Inventor
  • Patent status: