1. The Ground Ordnance Land Disruptor (GOLD) has been designed to provide a safe and effective method for dealing with one of the most hazardous types of IED, the buried victim operated device. GOLD is a user filled, explosively driven system that renders safe buried IEDs through a combination of disruption, component separation and expulsion from the ground. The technology readiness level (TRL) of GOLD is 9. GOLD is now in low rate initial production and has been sold to a number of allied nation specialist units. GOLD is extremely effective at both disrupting and destroying buried IEDs and provides a reliable method of dealing simply with the type of IEDs encountered most frequently in Afghanistan. GOLD achieved a success rate of 83% when tested against buried IEDs in hard desert ground in Jordan and has now been procured by allied NATO countries.
GOLD Characteristics and Method of Operation
2. Overview. GOLD consists of three basic assemblies: a propulsion assembly, a warhead assembly, and a ground penetrator. The basic system components are shown in Figures 1 and 2. The system has an operational weight of 7.5 kg and is completely inert until filled with explosive prior to operational use.
3. Propulsion Assembly. The propulsion system consists of a single assembly that holds a series of explosively driven plates. The propulsion system is slotted to take the warhead assembly and this joint is a simple push fit. The propulsion system is driven by a conventional military plastic explosives such as C4 or PE4. Approximately 150 g of explosive, arranged hemispherically over a driving plate, is sufficient to drive the warhead assembly up to 60 cm into very hard ground. The explosive in the propulsion system is initiated by a conventional detonator or blasting cap. The propulsion system uses a series of interleaved metal and rubber plates to reduce peak stresses on the disrupter and to improve its penetrative performance in very hard ground.
4. Warhead Assembly. The warhead assembly is a cylindrical hollow metal tube that has push fit joints for attachment of the ground penetrator and propulsion assembly. The lower section of the warhead assembly is configured with longitudinal grooves that create linear explosively formed projectiles which provide this device with its principal disruptive means of operation. The warhead is a user filled item and is only fitted with explosive and the means of initiation immediately prior to use. The quantity of explosive employed can be varied by the user depending on the threat and required effect. To improve the speed of loading and the integrity of filling, the delay detonator and main explosive charge are placed into a charge holder. The warhead tube has a number of longitudinal grooves that facilitate the creation of coherent, linear explosively formed projectiles that disrupt and separate IED components in the ground. The warhead explosive charge is initiated by a non electric delay detonator which is in turn initiated by a shock tube that is threaded through the propulsion explosive charge.
5. Method of Operation. On initiation of the propulsion explosive charge, force is exerted through the propulsion system and the GOLD warhead is driven into the ground. Detonation of the propulsion charge also initiates the pyrotechnic delay in the warhead detonator. After a pre-determined delay, the delay detonator functions and detonates the main warhead explosive charge. The high pressures thus generated cause the warhead assembly to expand along its radial axis and the presence of grooves on the outer surface of the warhead assembly results in the creation of linear explosively formed projectiles as a result of the Misznay-Schardin effect. These high velocity projectiles move out along a radial axis from the warhead assembly and disrupt and separate any IED components in their path. The fragments are eventually stopped due to the resistance of the ground. The blast wave from the warhead initially follows and then overtakes the warhead fragments and causes further separation of the IED components. The detonation of the warhead explosive charge also produces a significant volume of gaseous detonation products.
6. GOLD has entered low rate initial production (LRIP) and a number of systems have been built to support qualification testing and demonstrations.
7. GOLD has been tested during development against a variety of realistic IED targets including the following:
- IED main charges with a mass up to 35kg in palm oil type plastic containers.
- IED main charges based on ERW/UXO (typically a 105mm smoke carrier shell filled with ballast) with a mass of approximately 13kg.
c. Low metal content pressure plates.
d. Power source configurations of various types.
e. Secondary means of IED initiation such as radio control switches or anti-lift switches attached to IED main charges.
f. Daisy-chained IEDs with multiple warheads.