Research facilities: Laboratory for Ballistic Research


Laboratory for Ballistic Research

In 1992, the Laboratory for Ballistic Research installed a 76 mm “laboratory gun”. The laboratory was part of the then Prins Maurits Laboratorium TNO (PML-TNO) located at the former Air Force base Ypenburg.

76 mm laboratory cannon
76 mm laboratory cannon

In 1992, a [slightly edited and translated] description of the 76 mm laboratory cannon states:

“With the cannon, research can be carried out into the final ballistic effect of modern ammunition on fast-flying missiles at realistic speeds at the moment of impact. Because the target is stationary in the laboratory setting, the projectile must be given a higher speed than in practice: the velocity of the incoming missile (some 500 m/s) plus the normal projectile velocity (some 1500 m/s). The installed laboratory gun with a large powder chamber (up to 5 kg of gunpowder) and long barrel (15 m) makes this possible.
The diameter of the 76 mm gun is larger than that of the projectiles. Therefore they are embedded in a plastic cylinder (sabot). While still in the barrel, the projectile is separated from the sabot by suddenly releasing the pressure behind the projectile.
Projectiles coming out of the barrel are usually unstable. They need a more or less large distance to fly stably. To achieve this stable phase during the research of new, so-called fin-stabilised projectiles, the shooting tunnel of the laboratory at Ypenburg has been extended to 200 meters. The unique research facility has a target bunker for explosions up to a maximum of 25 kg explosives and strong shredding ammunition. The laboratory facility, therefore, allows the shooting of grenades up to a calibre of 76 mm and kinetic energy projectiles (solid projectiles) up to a maximum of 40 mm safely into the target bunker. With an extensive set of instruments, the events in the shooting tunnel and the target bunker are followed: sensors for speed and pressure measurements in the cannon barrel and extremely fast optical cameras and X-ray flash units behind special windows. The target bunker is a horizontal cylinder with meter-thick concrete walls and a semi-spherical head with very heavy steel reinforcement. The whole research facility meets high environmental requirements.

In 1992, the gun was used in the further projectile optimisation of the Goalkeeper projectiles on behalf of the Royal Netherlands Navy.”