"Bullets don't work in water". Until DSG Technology (DSGT) developed its range of multi-environment ammunition (MEA), that statement held true. However, the company's unique, patent-protected technology Cav-X allows DSGT's bullets to work in water, air, from air to water, and even from water to air using standard weapons. Jon Andre Garberg, founder and CEO, shares some of the capability and secrets of the newest breed of specialist ammunition.
How has DSG Technology contributed to the defence sector?
Jon Andre Garberg: I often describe DSG Technology (DSGT) as "the effector company". It is a specialist in the development of supercavitating projectiles and applications, including effectors for torpedo and mine hardkill. It develops multi-environment ammunition (MEA) in most calibres, but also designs non-cavitating projectiles, notably calibres below 12.7mm.
What makes your MEA unique?
The most obvious feature is that DSGT's range of Cav-X ammo projectiles work in air and in water, and can be fired from air to water, from water to air or under water using standard weapons. But it also offers an unmatched Xtreme Material Penetration (XMP) feature. Combine XMP with Cav-X, and you have the world's most unique and powerful ammunition.
So, your Cav-X ammunition swims?
Yes, but more significant than our already designed rounds is the fact that we hold a technology that can be used to add swimming capability to projectiles in any calibre - short, long, fat or slim.
Is there other ammunition on the market that can swim?
Yes, some other supercavitating ammunition does exist, but with limitations in its use and performance due to its design, which typically requires fins to stabilise, like a long, thin dart. However, our patented Cav-X technology allows us to design bullets to be spin-stabilised without the need for fins. For MEA, this means a bigger diameter bullet for any given calibre, enabling air/water/air transitions. It also means that small calibres are possible.
I must add that we also have several designs available that use fins, but we clearly see the benefit of using full-calibre over sub-calibre rounds for many underwater applications, especially since this lets us bring powerful charges to deep depths.
How mature is your technology?
Our technology started with the research phase in the 1980s and early 1990s. Since then, it has evolved out of the public eye, until we started our current phase almost ten years ago. Our revenue is split into three main streams: sales of finished products, typically small arms munitions for special forces; custom design and licensing of specialised ammunition for system integrators such as cargo rounds; and consultancy and advisory, for example unmanned underwater vehicle manufacturers that need data for submerged shooting positions.
It's important to mention that, although we have all of our technology patented, other companies still try to copy us. My advice is to carefully check anyone claiming intellectual property rights in this field. On the positive side, it means we have achieved something that others haven't been able to.
Yes, from 5.56mm upwards. Our patented technology enables us to design patterns and methods of calculating supercavitating ammunition that stabilises in water by its cavity and by rotation in the air. The largest design we have is 155mm, which theoretically can go to depths of 600m. With a significant 'cargo' chamber, we can deliver a combination of explosives and kinetic energy like none other.
What material do you use to achieve this?
Tungsten is a major component in our 'full performance' range of products. We have established close cooperation with some of the world's leading experts in tungsten production, and together we have developed unique production methods, even machines. This work currently takes place in the US and Europe. That said, we don't need tungsten to swim, so for practising and for military units with tight budgets, we have designed low-cost versions that use less expensive materials.
You are entering a very conventional market that uses a lot of traditional technologies. How do you see DSGT penetrating this market?
First of all, by partnering. We offer a new breed of effectors with new capabilities. The decision of how and where to use them is left to our customers, who are typically integrators and solution providers. To make it easy to talk to us, we have employed subject matter experts (SMEs) that can assist in the different phases. They typically maintain contact with local distributors, helping them by presenting a new capability in an effective way. Right now I can tell you that there is not a single country in NATO that is not in contact with us in one way or another.
DSGT announced earlier this year several specialists joining your company. Who are they?
Our latest SME is retired Captain (Navy) Geir Flage. He served 40 years in the Royal Norwegian Navy and is a former commander of one of NATO's two standing MCM forces. He joined DSGT as SME for MCM and hardkill countermeasures.
Flage is former commander for Standing Naval Force Channel (STANAVFORCHAN), today known as Standing NATO Minecountermeaures Group 1. He was the first Norwegian commander of this force and also the first force commander ever to take the force across the Atlantic (to the US and Canada) from Europe in 1998.
In his command he had more than 20 MCM vessels from several NATO nations. With a career in mine countermeasures and, in the past five years, having been branch head of operations and resources, naval staff, Norwegian Navy, Flage understands the need for effective mine countermeasures and clearance, and sees DSGT's supercavitating MEA as a game-changing component for MCM and other hardkill systems.