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  1. #1
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    Pneumatic Artillery for Avalanche Control on US Railroads

    I work as a consultant for companies that ship by railroad in the US. I noticed this article on the Union Pacific web site when I logged in this morning.


    https://www.up.com/aboutup/community...her-2-2-21.htm

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsGTWXeOIuU

  2. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to M8owner For This Useful Post:

    SG500 (5th February 2021), sksvlad (24th August 2021), ydnum303 (4th February 2021)

  3. #2
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    About 5-6 years ago someone contacted me after seeing a sign on a mountain bike trail in Colorado warning of possible duds, with a bizarre picture of a round. I'd never seen one, and spent a week or so hunting on the internet before I tracked this company down. Speaking with the owner I attempted to purchase a round, he instead sold me most of his personal collection, about 6-8 pieces including the current round, many of his developmental items, a Swiss round and an Italian round. Many of the pieces are very simple, in some cases just a rock blasting cast booster (pentolite) with fins and a nose. He identified that they had had a lot of difficulty with the development of the fuze, and at one time apparently a park ranger was killed in a mishap.

    I'll try and take a picture or two of the pieces this weekend. Some of them may have already been used on a thread, I don't remember.
    All dug or live ordnance shown in my posts is under EOD control and has been or will be dealt with accordingly by EOD personnel

  4. #3
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    When you think about all of the effort that has gone into fuse design in the last 100 years, it seems kind of strange they would have trouble finding a simple, low cost and safe design to copy. My candidate for best fuse design to copy would be the Russian M-50 mortar fuse of WWII vintage. Does anyone else have a good candidate fuse design that should be considered "best of its class" for this type of application?

  5. #4
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    If I recall correctly, they studied a German mortar fuze. Their push was to keep it extremely simple and as light as possible for range and carry weight. If I had time I could probably search through old emails, but that could take a long while. Here are some pictures instead. The last two were described as Swiss and Italian.


    IMG_2491.jpg IMG_2492.jpg IMG_2494.jpg IMG_2499.jpg IMG_2495.jpg IMG_2496.jpg IMG_2493.jpg IMG_2500.jpg IMG_2501.jpg
    All dug or live ordnance shown in my posts is under EOD control and has been or will be dealt with accordingly by EOD personnel

  6. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to US-Subs For This Useful Post:

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  7. #5
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    They look like professional grade fireworks. I wonder how much each round costs the railroad? I will bet they sell for $1000 each - most of that to cover the liability insurance.

  8. #6
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    why bother to invent anti-avalanche projectiles when you already have everything you need
    (I assume M323 shell)

    https://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/20/us/20alta.html
    Last edited by MINENAZ16; 4th February 2021 at 09:22 PM.
    Any Live or Dug ordnance shown by me has been disposed of by EOD personnel .

  9. #7
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    The article states that the supply of surplus 105mm shells is dwindling.

    I guess the avalanche control teams want a guaranteed source of projectiles, hence the new guns.
    Last edited by glevum; 5th February 2021 at 04:16 PM.

  10. #8
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    When I was at the 47th EOD Ft Hood, we got a mission to go to Taos ski area to take care of their duds. They used the 106 recoilless using HEP rounds. We also found a number of caster boosters they dropped from helicopters.
    Now Ft Hood was pretty low elevation, and Taos is couple thousand feet higher. Ever hump 106 rounds up and down mountains like that?
    ISnt easy when not ready. On one shot we place 3 together and had picked a safe place up hill. Lite fuze and headed to safe spot, only to run out of breath way before getting to it, so I picked a spot behind a big boulder, all was good until I looked behind me and saw thos even bigger boulder just setting there on an edge. Just knew that when the shot went off we would be crushed by falling boulder. But all went well
    any live or dug ordnance shown in my posts was dealt with by EOD personell

  11. #9
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    There has been concern about the dwindling/aging stockpile of cartridges for a long time. That, plus the primary users of both the recoilless and the pneumatic are Forestry and Park personnel. They are not ordnance personnel or weapons personnel, and are not trained in the maintenance and do not have spare parts. Further, security and ammunition bunkers are an issue. The need for an alternative system was discussed back in the 70s and 80s, but until recently no one was attempting to construct a commercial alternative.
    All dug or live ordnance shown in my posts is under EOD control and has been or will be dealt with accordingly by EOD personnel

  12. #10
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    The first five designs all appear to leave a steel base plate behind in the breech. The plate pulls a pin when the projectile is launched. This appears to be a bore riding pin that is spring loaded like a US M52 mortar fuse; the pin shoots free when the projectile comes out of the barrel. That flying pin releases the firing pin to move forward and hit the detonator on impact. It seems to be a simple and effective solution. The base plate remaining behind probably has issues that go with it. Reduction in rate of fire is probably not an issue.

 

 
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