What Are EFP Bombs?

July 16, 2023
David Sunnyside

The New York Times called them the single most lethal weapon American forces encountered in Iraq, and a U.S. military official said they were responsible for a sixth of all deaths in the conflict. EFPs, or explosively formed penetrators, are shaped like PVC pipe or a short piece of steel, packed with explosives and covered with a concave copper plate on top. When detonated, the copper inverts and is sent flying. It can travel more than a mile per second, meaning it can punch through the armor of tanks and other vehicles. In the process, it leaves holes similar to gunshots. These powerful bombs were manufactured by Iran and sold to terrorists in violation of U.S. sanctions, and a number of banks have since pled guilty or settled criminal charges for helping Iran circumvent those sanctions.

While previous versions of EFPs essentially project a single massive, high-velocity penetrator, they must be upgraded to better counter new generations of harder armored vehicles without the use of more powerful weapons systems. The inventors of the present invention provide a precursor-follow through kinetic energy explosively formed projectile (EFP) assembly that greatly enhances penetration by forming multiple penetrators simultaneously.

The researchers’ solution to this problem is a multi-layered computational model that allows for the simulation of various configurations, materials and conditions that affect formation, velocity and ballistic performance of EFP warheads. This method enables them to determine how each EFP element interacts with the surrounding environment, such as the air and other projectiles, to achieve optimum results in penetration and stability.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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