Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munition

Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munition

A Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions (DPICM) is an artillery or surface-to-surface missile warhead designed to burst into sub-munitions at an optimum altitude and distance from the desired target for dense area coverage. The sub-munitions are designed for both antiarmor and antipersonnel attack. Some sub-munitions may be designed for delayed reaction or mobility denial (mines). The air-to-surface variety of this kind of munition is better known as a cluster bomb. They are banned under the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

M77 DPICM submunition of type used by MLRS artillery rocket launcher system. The M77 was developed from the M483A1 that was developed for so called "cargo" artillery shells in the 155mm and 8 inch caliber.

US DPICM projectiles

Development work for DPICM projectiles began in the late 1950s, with the first projectile, the 105 mm M444 entering service in 1961, though the submunitions were simple bounding anti-personnel grenades (ICM). Production of the M444 ended in the early 1990s.

The first true DPICM was the 155 mm M483, produced in the 1970s. By 1975 an improved version the M483A1 was being used. The projectile carried 88 M42/M46 grenade like dual purpose submunitions. The 155 mm M864 projectile entered production in 1987, and featured a base bleed that enhances the range of the projectile, although it still carries the same M42/M46 grenades. The base bleed mechanism reduces the submunition load to 72. Work was budgeted in 2003 to retrofit the M42/M46 grenades with self-destruct fuzes to reduce the problem of "dud" submunitions.

Work on 105 mm projectiles started in the late 1990s based around the M80 submunition. The results were two shells, the M915 intended for use with the M119A1 light towed howitzer, and the M916, developed for the M101/M102 howitzers.

Projectile M483A1 M864 M915 M916 M444
Caliber 155 mm 155 mm 105 mm 105 mm 105 mm
Service date 1975 1987 1998 (?) 1998 1961
(production ended early 1990s)
Range  ? to 17 km  ? to 30 km 10 km to 14 km 3 km to 11 km  ? to 11.5 km
Load 64 × M42
24 × M46
48 × M42
24 × M46
42 × M80 42 × M80 18 × M39
(M444E1 used M36)
Weight projectile
46.5 kg 47 kg (approx)  ?  ? 14.97 kg
Length (fuzed) 937 mm 899 mm  ?  ? 371.9 mm