Technical Specifications: Fragmentation Grenade
CLASSIFIED LEVEL YELLOW
PHALANX Extraterrestrial Response Unit
Technical Document, Delta Clearance
Filed: 20 March 2084
By: Cdr. Paul Navarre, R&D: Engineering Division, PHALANX, Atlantic Operations Command
The alien attack on Mumbai made our situation painfully clear. Their technology is far more advanced than ours. The complete inability of Commonwealth troops to make a dent in the Mumbai offensive revealed critical weaknesses in current military training and equipment. They lost three battalions just bringing the aliens to a standstill without inflicting significant casualties. PHALANX has to overcome these odds, and to do that we need the very best human technology has to offer.
The Excalibur Program was created to find the most effective weapons on Earth by reviewing their manufacturing standards, durability, operational record, and their combat performance in the situations where we've managed to bring the aliens to battle.
The concept of the fragmentation grenade has changed little since it was first conceived, when Chinese soldiers packed gunpowder into ceramic or metal containers. It only solidified further after the end of the 20th century. Improvements in explosive technology and casing materials have made them a little faster and a little deadlier, but the mechanics are the same: An explosive substance at the heart of the grenade causes the casing (and possibly additional payload such as a layer of wire or white phosphorus coiled around the explosive) to fragment into shrapnel and fly in all directions at high speed, killing or wounding targets in the area of effect. The delayed fuse is ignited by first pulling the pin and then releasing the handle, usually released as the grenade is thrown. It will detonate after a period of several seconds.
For PHALANX purposes, we have selected the Australian HG15 as the best of the lot. This grenade is loaded with an extremely conventional charge of C8 solid chemical explosive, an inner layer of coiled wire, and an outer layer of thin plated steel. It's designed to maximise coverage by putting out more shrapnel than any other grenade on the market. The HG15's outer layer is smooth and unbroken, unlike the old 'pineapple' grenades of World War 2, to make it easier to roll across various surfaces. The C8 explosive at its core may be old in design, but it's both highly powerful and can be counted on to work right under harsh conditions. Reliability is an especially important attribute in any kind of hand-held bomb.
Though quite effective against enemy infantry, frag grenades are weapons of opportunity, not a replacement for firearms or portable artillery. Their range is highly limited and their casualty radius is small. However, if the situation calls for close-range indirect fire or something deadly thrown around a corner, the frag grenade is just the thing.
Care should be taken that no friendlies (especially civilians) are caught in the area of effect. In such situations the use of lethal grenades is strongly discouraged; flashbangs should be given preference.
It's recommended that all soldiers carrying non-heavy weapons should be equipped with at least one grenade of some variety -- be it a frag grenade, flashbang, incendiary grenade or other -- in case the need should arise. Two or more are strongly recommended.