Nammo’s 40mm Anti-Drone Programmable Airburst Ammunition

    Image from Jane's Defense

    Norwegian ammunition company Nammo has come up with a solution to the anti-drone predicament. The company’s answer is to develop 40x53mm high-velocity grenades using programmable components that allow soldiers to lase the distance to an enemy UAV, transmit that data into the grenade, which then programs that grenade to airburst at that particular altitude. Using bursts to maximize the effectiveness of the explosions around a drone, the likelihood of taking it out of commission can increase, given an accurate distance program is used.

    This technology would have been very difficult to fit in a 40x46mm low-velocity grenade typically fired from hand-held grenade launchers or UBGLs due to the size and the lack of range with most of these designs (Max effective 400 meters). However with an automatic grenade launcher, the max effective is pushed out to 1,500 meters (Mark 19), and there is more space to fit the explosive charge as well as the timing mechanism. It is very similar to the 25mm XM25 Punisher that was canned several years back.

    Here a representative talks about the ammunition for Shepard Media-

    And the video of a drone getting shot down-

    I slowed the frame rate and screenshotted the individual explosions so we can get a better look at what went on.

    UAV in the open

    First air burst from 40x53mm round

    Second air burst

    Third, mixed in between the two

    Drone is finally hit, and descends

    Same action, from a different camera view-

    Interestingly, it appears that none of this technology was purely developed for counter-UAV use. The company has simply requisitioned existing products and fitted them to work against UAVs. Nammo was working on programmable mechanisms several years ago, before the UAV threat grew to the size that it is today (particularly in Syria). The device was called an MPU, or Manual Programming Unit, that attached to the rear sight of a Mark 19. This device was also co-developed with Swedish optics company Aimpoint.

    In addition, the ammunition itself was termed HEDP-RF, or High Explosive Dual-Purpose-Radio Frequency and was shown at least as far back as May 2016. In the publicity of both of these cases, a use for counter UAV tactics wasn’t expressed, unless there was a covert purpose behind the conventional one.


    Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

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