EPFs – and my experience in the early 90s

EFP detonation from NYTimesJust reading TPMmuckraker today and saw this article on the Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFPs) that were discussed in this article of the New York Times. What surprised me was the actual description of the device as seen here in this graphic (click on the graphic on the right) and my personal close experience with them.

Back in the late 80s/early 90s, I was a newly minted engineer from Purdue, seeking jobs in the engineering world. I was a CS/EE and was talking to a number of companies. One of my trips to a company was to Honeywell in Minneapolis where I was introduced to the Advanced Weapons Group. I spent the day with one of the engineers who offered me a glimpse into two new weapons they were developing for the US Government and how they needed a good controls engineer to work on them. While I forgot the first one, the second one is quite familiar:

“You launch the projectile into the air ABOVE the target in a very high arc. The projectile deploys a parachute and begins its decent, scanning the terrain like a mini radar system. Once it determines its target, an explosive charge occurs behind the material and the shaping of the charge causes it to deform into a mortar-like object. This will then plunge through tanks and other defenses quite easily.”

I remember the picture of the six inch steel wall that had been pierced by the projectile and how the engineer commented on how the shrapnel of the projectile was even more destructive within the enclosed environment, killing all of the combatants inside.

Suffice it to say, I did not take the job offer.

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