CavPen.jpgBritish magazine New Scientist (subscription) reports that Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control has developed a conventional "bunker buster" (right, click for a larger view) using a novel concept:

The design builds on the US navy's work on high-speed torpedoes, which reduce friction around themselves by creating a gas bubble called a supercavity. ...To create a supercavity that surrounds but doesn't touch the body that created it, the object has to be travelling very fast- at least 180 kilometres an hour if it is in water. And the nose has to be flat to force fluid off the edge with such speed and at such an angle that it avoids hitting the surface of the body. But if this is to be achieved, the result is a supercavitating body with extremely low drag. Instead of being encased in water, it is simply surrounded by water vapour, which is less dense and has less resistance.But supercavitation may not be limited to liquids. At high enough velocity a blunt-nosed body will force apart any medium it travels through, whether it be water, soil or concrete. If the cavity is large enough, the only surface in contact with the medium will be the blunt tip of the nose.
Joseph Mayersak, Advanced Projects general manager at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, calls the phenonmenon "terradynamic cavitation."Mayersak claims the Kinetic Energy Cavity Penetrator Weapon "offers the ability to penetrate with a drag factor one-tenth of that associated with other penetrators and the ability to penetrate into targets at an overall depth of ten times that which can be reached by other penetrator geometries."One thing: Did he have to call it a "cavity penetrator"?New Scientist reports that Lockheed plans to test four prototypes by the end of the year.Mayersak filed a patent application, which I have posted as a .pdf at my website, Arms Control Lewis
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