The U.S. Army gets through a lot of ammunition thanks to the amount of training it carries out. But that ammunition doesn’t come without waste which slowly degrades over hundreds of years polluting whatever ground (and nearby water sources) it happens to fall upon. So the Department of Defense (DoD) decided to do something about it, and is requesting environmentally friendly ammunition for use during training exercises. The request was made via the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Specifically, the DoD wants “biodegradable training ammunition loaded with specialized seeds to grow environmentally beneficial plants that eliminate ammunition debris and contaminants.” The ammunition the DoD wants to replace with biodegradable alternatives includes “low velocity 40mm grenades; 60mm, 81mm, and 120mm mortars; shoulder launched munitions; 120mm tank rounds; and 155mm artillery rounds.” There’s also cartridge cases and sabot petals, which can either lay on the ground or end up buried beneath it. Sourcing the seeds for use in this new ammunition won’t be a problem as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) already bioengineered them so as not to germinate for several months, allowing time for the materials containing them to sufficiently biodegrade. The seeds can then take up any remaining contaminants as they grow, further reducing harm to the environment. As for what materials could be used to form the ammunition, the DoD points to materials used for manufacturing water bottles, plastic containers and other composite plastics already on the market today. Any contractor attempting to produce these bullets for the DoD will need to progress through a three phase SBIR process. Phase one involves demonstrating a production process for the biodegradable materials for 40mm-120mm training rounds. Phase two involves proving the fabrication process and passing government ballistic tests. Finally, phase three will involve working with ammunition contractors to turn the tech into a supply of training ammunition. If successful, the use of biodegradable ammunition will lead to less ground contamination while at the same time ensuring anywhere training exercises are carried out will be left rich in plant life.
Wow.. Where to even begin with this? This is just another example of political correctness gone crazy…and this takes it to a whole new dangerous level. The ONLY thing the Army (or any of the other military branches) should be concerned with is lethality; the ability of that soldier, sailor, airman or marine to be able to be the most lethal fighting force on the battlefield. They have ONE job; to win. Anything that deters from that job shouldn’t even be considered…let alone be pursued. As someone who has spent many years as a “field grade” Army officer both in training environments, and “down range,” I cannot emphasize the importance of putting all of this ridiculous political correctness and social experimentation on the extreme back-burner…and get back to mission focus; the enemy. Under Obama we’ve seen an emphasis on transgender issues and all sorts of other nonsense…and we’ve also seen a U.S. Navy ship commandeered by the Iranian navy. Our sailors were used as propaganda pieces by the thugs in Tehran because their officers and NCO’s lacked the necessary training to deal with that situation….which should NEVER have happened. We were made to look weak and inept…because we were. Hey.. I’m ALL for the idea of biodegradable ammo. How can anyone be against that idea? BUT.. It should meet a few basic, common sense metrics..which I doubt they have. For example.. It needs to be just as lethal, if not more lethal, than the regular ammo used by troops. It also shouldn’t be more expensive than regular ammo; something I SERIOUSLY doubt it is. Anything green is like something organic; MUCH more expensive. Also, this new ammo cannot be damaging to the weapon systems firing it. We cannot afford to be repairing weapon systems while sticking our chests out and proclaiming it’s for the good of the environment. Finally, it needs to be readily available. Oftentimes, “green” options (like car charging stations) aren’t nearly available as non-green options. Those are just some basic, common sense metrics that need to be considered…and yet were conveniently left out of this article…because it would have undermined the liberal agenda of it’s author. The military needs to train as it fights. To separate them as this article suggests, puts our troops and our national security at risk.