RDM receives follow-on order for plastic explosives


Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) has been awarded a nearly R100 million contract to supply plastic explosives in a follow-on contract.

The company said the contract for PE9 plastic explosives was awarded on 9 May. RDM said it has been manufacturing PE9, the equivalent of C4, since 1978.

PE9 is a white explosive putty containing RDX and binders packaged into blocks of different masses for use as demolition main charges – it is used for the demilitarisation of redundant ammunition stock, for example.

“Initially these P9 explosives were only manufactured for use by the South African government, but has over the years been expanded to many international markets. We have grown an established customer base worldwide and our longstanding relationship has been a key factor for RDM in securing this contract,” said RDM CEO, Jan-Patrick Helmsen.

For more than 20 years, RDM has maintained its status as one of the largest producers of PETN in South Africa, the company said. PETN is a commercial high explosive used in the mining industry to produce blasting caps, detonating cords, and pentolite boosters.

Pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN, Penta, TEN, Penthrite or Nitropenta) is one of the strongest known high explosives, but is more sensitive to shock or friction than TNT or tetryl. PETN is manufactured at RDM’s Wellington Site. The explosive is rarely used alone, but primarily used in boosters and bursting charges of small calibre ammunition, in upper charges of detonators in some land mines and shells, and as explosive core of primecord. PETN is also used in exploding bridgewire detonators either alone or with a subsequent booster charge.

“RDM has always maintained its commitment to supporting the industry’s needs and has displayed this recently through efforts to continue supplying the mining industry in South Africa, also during the national lockdown,” RDM said.

“RDM has positioned itself as the leading manufacturer and supplier of innovative explosive products that is shaping the future of our industry and we are confident that we will meet future growing demands”, Helmsen said.