Groundbreaking round: New artillery round brings promise of more bang, less buck
By Courtesy Story, Defense Media Activity
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- The successful test of a new artillery round brings the promise of more explosions and reduced costs for the artillery community after the Marines of 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment tested the new M1122 practice round at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Nov. 19, 2015.
The battalion tested the round during a series of demonstrations with several members of the artillery and combat arms communities in attendance in order to solicit feedback on the degree of potential use for artillery training.
Potential inclusion and use of this new round by the Marine Corps came about due to fiscal constraints and rising costs of M795. The M1122 practice round may be used at II Marine Expeditionary Force artillery batteries as early as 2017.
“This round could be beneficial to the Marine Corps because it’s going to be a cost-saving initiative,” said Lt. Col Mike McCarroll, the operations officer for 10th Marine Regiment. “Artillery ammunition is expensive. This could help us acquire rounds at a third of the cost of the traditional M795 high-explosive projectile.”
The implementation of the M1122 training round is under evaluation as a training cost reduction measure, potentially by 2017. The primary training HE round will most likely remain the M795; the Marine Corps is working to determine a suitable mix of M1122 and M795 rounds.
The training round provides the same effective experience as the M795; however, the M1122’s low cost allows the Marine Corps to provide more training opportunities and in turn enables Marines to enhance their skills with the M77A7, one of the Marine Corps’ largest guns.
“The M1122 practice round is built from recycled shell casings from the dual-purpose improved conventional munition round, which will be removed entirely from the inventory before 1 January 2019,” McCarroll said. “We’ve recycled this round by taking out [some of the explosives] and filling it with concrete and from there we get to take advantage of having an efficient round at a lower cost for training than our current round.”
McCarroll added the M1122 is the same weight as the current high explosive projectile so there won’t be a great difference on the firing line, but there will be a difference in the scout-observer aspect of training. The training round has about one-seventh of the explosive impact, which allows for the scout-observer to make faster and more accurate adjustments.
The employment of the training round will provide artillery elements throughout the Marine Corps more resources and training opportunities.
“Because the M1122 is so inexpensive in comparison to the M795, the change would allow us more money and training assets,” said Cpl. Andrew Williams, a fire supportman with the battalion. “This round would enable us to have a bigger budget by spending less on the ammunition we use and it would be very beneficial.”
Williams also stated that with having a smaller projectile, the M1122 performs as it is intended, and it provides adequate training.
No matter the weather, artillery units provide capable fire support whenever they are called upon.
“Our demonstration was done in rain today and that proves that when the skies are rainy and clouds are gray, 24/7 fire support is still available with artillery,” McCarroll said.