TechNorth Korean ammo risks backfire on Russian troops

North Korean ammo risks backfire on Russian troops

The moment of the S-60 anti-aircraft gun explosion due to faulty ammunition from the DPRK.
The moment of the S-60 anti-aircraft gun explosion due to faulty ammunition from the DPRK.
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1:37 PM EDT, July 4, 2024

The Russians rely heavily on ammunition supplies from North Korea, whose quality can be questionable. We explain why ammunition from Kim can be more dangerous for the user than the enemy.

The Russians have long exhausted their ammunition stocks from the days of the USSR. Despite increasing local production, they cannot meet demand and must resort to importing ammunition from abroad. One of Russia's most significant foreign ammo suppliers is North Korea, which quantitatively provides massive supplies.

The quality of the received ammunition is worse, which has been criticized many times. Now, a video shows a three-person crew of an S-60 anti-aircraft gun, caliber 2.24 inches, mounted on the chassis of an MT-LB armored personnel carrier during combat.

After loading the next magazine and firing, the gun explodes, injuring three Russian soldiers. A detailed analysis shows that the gun's locking mechanism failed, and the full force of the explosion was directed toward the crew. This could have happened for several reasons.

We explain the reasons for the S-60 gun explosion

It is possible that the locking system was already damaged or weakened due to material wear. Still, a more likely case was that the pressure in the cartridge chamber was too high, which repeatedly exceeded the safe pressure level and burst the locking system.

In such cases, the culprit is often faulty ammunition. If the cartridges were stored in non-optimal conditions for several decades, for example, in high humidity, it could lead to the degradation of the propellant charge and a change in its burn rate. This must be within specified limits because a burn rate that is too fast causes a massive increase in pressure and acts like a bomb.

This problem is known, among others, among civilian shooters, where, for example, the use of faster-burning pistol powder in the production of intermediate ammunition for rifles can have catastrophic consequences. The principle is universal for larger calibers as well.

The second option is too large a charge of the proper powder in the cartridge than intended, resulting from errors in production, which will also cause an explosion upon firing. It can be assumed that often malnourished workers in North Korean ammunition factories can mistakenly measure out 1-2 grains (1 gram is 15 grains) of powder for cartridges.

Therefore, great precision is required in ammunition production, and its lack causes human losses even without the enemy's active involvement.

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