Though infantry troops around the world have used grenades for centuries, the U.S. Army has not made any major updates to the weapon in 40 years. But a new development looks to revolutionize the device, and simultaneously give soldiers more discretionary options, something they’ve been requesting for years.
The old M67 grenade was built with right-handed soldiers in mind, but the new Enhanced Tactical Multi-Purpose hand grenade is designed to be used ambidextrously. It also features a small switch on the side which will allow the user to deploy either a fragmentation explosion or a concussion bomb.
Defense expert Peter Quentin, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London, commented:
“What’s quite interesting is the objective they are trying to achieve with this, which is a discretionary weapons system. This is important because it is all about minimizing collateral damage and civilian casualties, ensuring the appropriate effect is easily achieved, and simple concussion/fragmentation selection makes it more likely to employ appropriate force.”
U.S. troops previously carried the MK3A2 concussion grenade in addition to their fragmentation grenades, but this was taken out of service in 1975 over concerns relating to the asbestos hazard. Engineers at the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center have been working on the ET-MP since at least 2010 and estimate that it could be introduced for general use around the year 2020.
Jessica Perciballi is a project officer with the U.S. Army, Grenades & Demolitions Division. She was able to explain more about the way the ET-MP will revolutionize battle for members of our military:
“They are currently carrying one M67 grenade that provides lethal fragmentation effects. With the new multi-purpose grenade, they can carry one ET-MP grenade and have the ability to choose either fragmentation or concussive effects desired for the situation.”
The new grenade also features an electronic fuse. This will increase the accuracy of its timing once armed and make is safer to handle. In short, it will enhance fighting capabilities while limiting collateral damage – a win, win.