In the Pipeline

By Sebastian Sprenger / January 12, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Officials at the Pentagon and the Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration last week marked the 25th anniversary of the Joint Munitions Technology Development Program, or JMP.

We asked NNSA what kinds of scientific problems program officials plan to tackle in the years ahead. According to an e-mail from agency spokesman Michael Padilla, these are some of the topics on scientists' to-do lists:

  • Next-generation energetic materials having increased energy and reduced sensitivity to hazards (fire, frags, bullets, etc.);
  • NNSA's unique proton and X-ray radiography facilities are being used to understand the slow cook-off problem to support development of insensitive munitions;
  • Detonators for insensitive explosives;
  • Multi-phase blast explosives for increased lethality;
  • New weapons designs (e.g., non-fragmenting, composite case munitions) for reducing collateral damage (in urban warfare, close air support  and counterinsurgency operations);
  • Smart munitions having selectable output/effects;
  • Weapons for defeat of hard and deeply buried targets (high-g resistant materials and components);
  • Application and the assessment of reliability of survivability of Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS);
  • Novel photonic proximity sensor for robust and compact height-of-burst sensor.

At the Defense Department, the JMP program is managed out of the Land Warfare and Munitions Office within the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Between DOD and DOE, over than 200 scientists and engineers are working on JMP projects, according to a Jan. 7 NNSA statement.