For the second time in two years, the U.S. Navy has developed a new type of bomb that causes fewer civilian casualties. This one uses HDRM (High-Density Reactive Materials), a composite of metallic and polymer materials that are stable and as strong as steel unless detonated by nearby explosives. Thus when the explosives in the missile, bomb or shell go off, the HDRM shell of the projectile explodes as well. This can increase the explosive effect by up to five times, while reducing the metallic projectiles by over 90 percent. It’s the metallic projectiles (shrapnel) that causes more distant casualties. The only problem with HDRM is it’s just out of the laboratory, costs more than a hundred times as much as the steel it replaces. It will take a decade or more before it becomes a cost-effective replacement for metal casings for these weapons.
One of the side effects of precision guided munitions is that the US is putting a lot of effort into making munitions more lethal, yet less powerful.