M119 howitzer muzzle brake
The M119 105mm howitzer, outfitted with the LBOP muzzle brake, ready for live-fire testing at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona.
(Photo by U.S. Army)

Engineers working out of the U.S. Army’s Watervliet Arsenal in New York have developed a new 105 mm low blast overpressure muzzle brake, or LBOP, for the M119 howitzer.

The new LBOP represents a break from tradition. Large caliber muzzle brakes are usually reserved for new cannon designs. This is the first one made specifically for an existing gun system.

A muzzle brake reduces recoil by redirecting propellant gasses to the rear of the gun, similar to the thrust reversal used in landing a jet plane when the engines redirect engine exhaust forward to reduce forward momentum, the Army says.

“It is important to the warfighter because it allows them to be more lethal by sustaining [a] higher number of rounds fired per day because the blast overpressure from this new muzzle brake that is experienced by the artilleryman is significantly lower,” Alan Ng, LBOP program lead, said in a press release.

The LBOP lowers both “auditory and non-auditory health hazards” when compared with the M119’s current muzzle brake.

“The reduction in impulse noise [blast overpressure] varies between 13 percent to 48 percent at various quadrant elevations and crew locations,” Ng said.

The new 105mm LBOP muzzle brake is going to be used with the M119 Towed Howitzer in shorter ranger missions and training.. The M119 Towed Howitzer is “designed specifically for this 105 mm M20 cannon, but the technology can be engineered for other cannon platforms, such as a 155 mm,” the Army confirmed.

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