The M119 105mm howitzer, outfitted with the LBOP muzzle brake, ready for live-fire testing at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. (Photo: Army.mil)
This is not your father’s howitzer
PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. — Engineers from Watervliet Arsenal have designed a 105 mm low blast overpressure muzzle brake, or LBOP. It’s 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 developed at the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center’s Benet Laboratories at Watervliet.
A muzzle brake achieves recoil reduction by redirecting propellant gasses rearward, explained Robert Carson, LBOP design engineer. It’s similar to the thrust reversal used during the landing of a jet plane when the jet plane’s engines redirect engine exhaust forward to reduce the jet’s forward momentum.
The more efficiently a muzzle break redirects propellant gasses to the rear of the gun, Carson explained, the greater the reduction in the recoil.
“It is important to the warfighter because it allows them to be more lethal by sustaining a higher number of rounds fired per day,” said Alan Ng, LBOP program lead, “because the blast overpressure from this new muzzle brake that is experienced by the artilleryman is significantly lower.”
The LBOP muzzle break also reduces the auditory and non-auditory health hazards — compared to the current muzzle brake on the M119, according to Carson.
“The reduction in impulse noise [blast overpressure] varies between 13 percent to 48 percent at various quadrant elevations and crew locations,” Ng said.
The 105 mm LBOP muzzle brake would be used with the M119 Towed Howitzer during shorter range howitzer missions and training.
The M119 Towed Howitzer is designed specifically for this 105 mm M20 cannon, but the technology can be engineered for other cannon platforms, such as a 155 mm.
–Lauren Poindexter, Picatinny Arsenal, Feb. 15, 2017