Combustion Light-Gas Gun (CLGG)

UTRON’s team has been gun-launching masses for the past 25 years. UTRON has extensive experience in design, construction, and operation of many gun technologies. In 1990, UTRON concluded that the most promising technology for the “gun of the future” was the Combustion Light-gas Gun (“CLGG”). The CLGG gun should not to be confused with a two or three-stage light-gas gun. The only common element is the use of light-gas, such as hydrogen.

UTRON first developed a 15mm gun which successfully proved the concept. UTRON then designed and built a 45mm CLGG gun which successfully proved the scalability of the concept.  UTRON’s 45mm CLGG gun project has fired with projectile speeds of 2.5 km/sec. An automatic loader has been developed, installed, and successfully operated.  A special fuel-loading system and ignition device have also been successfully developed and deployed. Unique light-gas propellant mixture can be manufactured on the battlefield. The barrel for UTRON’s 155mm gun was designed and manufactured for UTRON by a US Army-owned arsenal.  When deployed, the gun, with a muzzle energy of 64 megajoules, will be the most powerful 155mm gun in the world.

UTRON developed and built the 155mm gun that was successfully fired at UTRON’s gun range in West Virginia.  UTRON’s CLGG gun has set records for muzzle energy and project velocity for a 155mm gun. The CLGG has experimentally demonstrated velocities great than 4 km/sec (13,120 ft/sec). In some tests, it has demonstrated a muzzle energy increase of 400% when compared to guns with conventional powder propellants. The CLGG uses no large external electrical power supply or conventional powder propellants. UTRON’s CLGG achieves its incredible performance by combusting light-gases.  One of the benefits of the CLGG is that it also provides longer barrel life.

UTRON has developed ultra long-range guns for the US Navy. The UTRON naval gun is designed to fire projectiles for 200 nautical miles providing substantial advantages over the current range of approximately 20 nautical miles.

The US Navy is focusing on long-range gun systems, which are needed to provide littoral and deeper onshore support of the US Marine Corps at ranges of 100 nautical miles and beyond, particularly at a time when naval ships are increasingly vulnerable to shore-fired “smart” weapons.  Meeting this mission with missiles, rocket-assisted projectiles, or tactical air support is costly and can be limited by weather.

The United States Military urgently needs more powerful, faster, and accurate artillery weaponry that can provide sustained lethal firepower on multiple targets from ultra long-range distances. These new gun technologies must be able to substantially improve the military’s ability to provide destructive, suppressive, and protective indirect and direct fire in support of increasingly complex operations.

UTRON’s CLGG gun can meet this mission and provide revolutionary disruptive warfighting capability.  The CLGG is the only gun that has been able to fire at 2.5km/sec on a repeated and consistent basis.  Combining the UTRON’s CLGG gun with a GPS-guided projectile creates a cost-effective artillery system capable of placing the first projectile on target at ranges in excess of 100 miles and continuing to fire at six rounds per minute. For indirect fire, the CLGG has infinite zoning.

For direct fire, the CLGG has hyper-velocity and is an effective tool against reactive armor. The projectiles kinetic energy is equivalent to that of conventional weapons, but being more focused, it is more destructive.



Other Defense Technologies

UTRON believes that the CLGG gun has significant advantages for many critical missions over alternative technologies.

The decision to focus primarily on the CLGG gun was based on the UTRON team’s extensive research and hands-on experience over the last 25 years with various gun technologies, such as:

Electromagnetic (EM) Gun or Rail Gun.  The rail gun is an electric gun with a barrel consisting of two or more electrical conductors separated by insulators that run its entire length. The projectile is accelerated by a magnetic force induced by running current through the rails. In theory, the velocity is limited by the materials used in the design of the gun. The gun that UTRON personnel designed, built, and test fired, achieved velocities in excess of 5 km/sec (but not on a consistent basis) and barrel erosion, as with all rail guns, has been a continuing problem.

Electric Light-gas Gun (ELGG).  This gun is not to be confused with a two- or three- stage light-gas gun. The only common element is the use of a light-gas such as hydrogen. ELGG is an extremely high-velocity and efficient gun launch technology. Experimentally velocities of 7.2 km/sec (23,620 ft/sec) with 10% efficiency have been demonstrated. This gun, in theory, should go to velocities in excess of 8 km/sec. ELGG does require an electric power supply.

Electrothermal (ET) Gun.  The ET gun is an electric gun that ablates or heats material from the inside wall of a capillary tube. There are many different variations of the ET gun depending on the wall material with cooling fluids (inert and/or energetic) that can be placed inside a chamber in front of the capillary tube. The velocities achieved are as varied as the recipe put into the mixture. Typically velocities (with no barrel erosion) up to 2 km/sec (6,562 ft/sec) have been demonstrated. In theory much higher velocities might be possible. However, demonstrated velocities greater than 2 km/sec have also demonstrated higher barrel erosion. The ET gun requires an electrical power supply.

Electrothermal Chemical (ETC) Gun.  ETC is a variation of ET and has demonstrated the same velocity and barrel erosion effects as ET. The main difference between ETC and ET is that smaller amounts of electrical energy are required. As the electrical energy is reduced, solid propellants are added; thus, smaller electrical power supplies are needed. ETC is sometimes called a hybrid gun. There are many variations of ETC as to the geometry, propellants used, and the mix of electricity and propellant used.

Electric Light-Gas Gun Velocity Doubler.  The velocity doubler is similar to a two-stage light-gas gun, except no solid propellants are used. The pump tube and the launch tube are the same bore diameter and the heavy projectile follows the light projectile to the target. Several shots were taken and all were successful. The output velocity was always double the input velocity and velocities in excess of 5 km/sec were demonstrated.

Electrothermal Ignition (ETI) Gun.  Although "Electrothermal" remains as part of the name, the ETI is a solid-propellant gun. The solid propellant is ignited with an energetic electric charge. There are many variations of this gun: propellant type, ignition energy, ignition energy timing, and geometry to name a few.

Ram Cannon. The UTRON team designed and operated the world's largest (120mm) ram cannon. The research was carried out for the US Navy and test fired at the Army Aberdeen proving ground. This gun works as an inverse ram-jet engine. The barrel is filled with a mixture of gaseous fuel and oxidizer, the projectile runs through the fuel, and the combustion takes place mid-way down the projectile. The projectile experiences a constant and uniform acceleration profile. The ram cannon has demonstrated velocities of 2.5 km/sec (8,220 ft/sec) and in theory is capable of much higher velocities.

Side-injection Gun. The side injector is, as the name implies, the accelerating energy coming in from chambers distributed along the barrel. Germany built and fired a side-injection gun named the Millipede during WWII. UTRON personnel have designed, built, and test fired several different versions of the side-injected gun using ET and ELGG technologies. The side-injected gun demonstrated velocities of 7.2 km/sec and, after much experimental work, it was learned that velocities no higher than a breech-feed gun could be reached. However, the acceleration profile could be altered for low gravitational constants.

Conventional Large-Bore powder Gun. The UTRON team has live fired thousands of rounds from large bore 120mm, 155mm, and 8-inch guns. These rounds were fired in support of ordinance research and barrel shot- life research.