Ballistics & Explosives Range

image of an explosion  
image of a gun projectile and ammunition

The Ballistics and Explosives Range Section in the Mechanical Division provides experimental support to the Engineering Dynamics Department and other areas at the Institute. The main range is a 10-acre outdoor facility with 12 designated test sites and is located on the SwRI grounds in San Antonio, Texas. The Institute also maintains the small arms test facility, where small arms testing (up to .50-caliber) is conducted. SwRI also has an indoor range for experiments requiring small compressed gas guns (bore diameters of 0.1 inch to 3.0 inches). Large-scale experiments are conducted at a test site located approximately 60 miles southwest of San Antonio.

The Ballistics and Explosives Range Section staff members have many years of experience and are experts in designing and conducting ballistics and explosive experiments. Studies include long-rod penetrator impacts, simulated bomb fragment impacts, body armor design and testing, non-lethal weapons design and testing, fragmentation experiments, simulated bird strike impacts, shaped charge penetration, full scale weapons testing, energetic materials, blast loading effects, and hypervelocity impact, among others. The experimental capabilities include state-of-the-art data acquisition and instrumentation capabilities such as high-speed video cameras (up to 10,000 frames-per-second), ultra high-speed imaging systems (up to 100 million frames-per-second), high-speed film cameras, flash X-ray equipment, and high speed digital data acquisition (pressure, temperature, acceleration, displacement, etc). The Ballistics and Explosives Range Section works hand-in-hand with the SwRI Ballistics and Explosives Engineering and Computational Mechanics Sections to provide the experimental capabilities required to support client needs.

Donald J. Grosch, Manager

Ballistics & Explosives Range Facilities and Capabilities:

  • Small arms test facility
  • Large gun test site
  • Large compressed gas gun
  • Small compressed gas guns
  • Explosive testing
  • Hypervelocity testing
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Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 10 technical divisions.
04/15/14