ARDEC engineers at benet laboratories enhance crew safety lethality with large caliber muzzle brake

The M119 105mm howitzer, outfitted with the LBOP muzzle brake, ready for live-fire testing at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona.

Picatinny engineers have designed the 105mm Low Blast Overpressure Muzzle Brake or LBOP, which is the first large caliber muzzle brake designed specifically for an existing gun system.

Muzzle brake designs for large caliber have historically been for brand new cannon designs but the LBOP was designed around the existing M119 howitzer platform. The designs are being done at the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center.

“A muzzle brake achieves recoil reduction by redirecting propellant gases rearward. This function is similar to the thrust reversal upon landing of a jet plane where the jet plane’s engines redirect engine exhaust forward to reduce the forward momentum,” said Robert Carson, LBOP Design Engineer.

“The more efficiently a muzzle brake redirects propellant gases to the rear of the gun, the greater the reduction in cannon recoil,” Carson added. “However, by redirecting high temperature and pressure propellant rearward, the blast overpressure experienced on the crew is substantially increased compared to firing with no muzzle brake.”

“It is important to the Warfighter because it allows them to be more lethal by sustaining higher number of rounds fired per day because the blast overpressure from this new muzzle brake that is experienced by the artilleryman is significantly lower,” said Alan Ng, LBOP Program Lead.

“The LBOP muzzle brake reduces the auditory and non-auditory health hazards compared to the current muzzle brake on the M119,” said Carson.

Added Ng: “The reduction in impulse noise (blast overpressure) varies between 13 percent to 48 percent at various quadrant elevations and crew locations.”

The 105mm Low Blast Overpressure Muzzle Brake would be used with the U.S. Army on the M119 Towed Howitzer during shorter range howitzer missions and training.

The M119 Towed Howitzer is designed specifically for this 105mm M20 cannon, but the technology can be engineered for other cannon platforms such as a 155mm.

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The U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities for decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the Joint Warfighter and the Nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.