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U.S. Army’s High Efficiency Lethal Mechanisms (HELMech) Program Seeks ‘Ultra Lethal’ Capabilities

The U.S. Army Project Manager for Combat Ammunition Systems (PM CAS), based at Picatinny Arsenal N.J., is exploring capabilities from industry, government agencies and academia to provide “ultra lethal mechanisms relative to conventional cannon artillery and mortar indirect fire stockpiles.”

As identified in a recent “sources sought” announcement, the proposed technologies “should focus on delivering maximum lethal effects with higher efficiency when compared with the existing conventional stockpiles while also addressing large area targets, mobile point targets in a large area and/or poorly located targets with soft, medium and hard protection profiles.”

The High Efficiency Lethal Mechanisms (HELMech) market research effort will compile and assess technology capabilities and maturation in both the near term (0-6 years) and the far term (7-20 years) based on identified technology readiness levels.

“All proposed technologies shall take into account a delivery accuracy of 50 [meters] CEP [circular error probable],” the announcement notes, adding that “Proposed technology capabilities should consider but not be limited to the Program Executive Office Ammunition (PEO AMMO) Insensitive Munition Strategic Plan (IMSP).”

Information developed through the HELMech research effort “will be used to assist PM CAS in creating materiel development strategies to maximize the cannon artillery and mortar indirect fires lethal capabilities of the Brigade Combat Team (BCT), and, in particular, light forces such as the Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT).


Scott Gourley is a former U.S. Army officer and the author of more than 1,500...