What is "dry ammunition" in a defense-industry breakdown? (here, Israel)

See query. From Jpost:

According to [the defense export ministry], in 2017 Israeli companies exported missiles aerial defense systems (31%) [sic], radar systems (17%), avionics (14%), dry ammunition (9%), communications systems (9%), observation and optics (8%), UAVs (2%), marine systems (1%), satellites and space (1%).

  1. I can kind of figure it out–deliverable things that go boom–but is that the common word? (It seems quaint, as in dry powder.) What else am I missing?

  2. Are these the rock-basic divisions of the industry across the market?

Man, you ask the most cryptic questions. It’s like you’re a retired, eccentric ex-CIA spook or something. Between that and your username, sometimes I feel like I’m reading a novel by the love child of Frederick Forsyth and James Joyce.

Don’t get him annoyed, just answer the question. :slight_smile:

Ordinarily you’ld get dinged for goofing around as the first reply, but I’m feeling magnanimous, somehow complimented, and/but curious: what on Earth is cryptic in this OP?

ETA: Just found out “you’ld” is not a word in English. Should be, obviously.

It’s not necessarily the wording that’s cryptic. The topics are cryptic, and the wording is very terse, and it all adds up to looking like some kind of internal government memo. It’s ok though. Have you ever heard of the “Lake City Quiet Pills” mystery? Google that if you want a real rabbit hole to jump down.

The only time I have heard of dry (and wet) ammunition is in tanks like the old Sherman tank. The Shermans had a reputation for catching fire easily in battle, so much so that they were given the nickname “Ronsons”, which was the name of a cigarette lighter at the time whose slogan was “lights the first time, every time”.

Initially, the ammo in the turret was stored in “dry” racks. Nearby fuel tanks may have led to the Sherman’s “Ronson” reputation. Anyway, if the ammo racks were hit, they could easily catch fire, which was very bad news to anyone inside the tank. To reduce the chance of ammunition fires, the ammo was moved to “wet” tanks below the gunner. The ammo stored in these tanks was surrounded by a mixture of water and ethylene glycol and probably some other stuff that I’m not remembering (it wasn’t just water).

In that context, wet ammunition was the stuff in the wet tanks under the gunner and dry ammunition was the stuff in racks up next to the gunner in the turret.

That doesn’t really fit with the context of the OP, but in the OP’s case it may refer to ammunition that is just stored in racks somewhere.

I wonder if that phrase is a translation artifact. Perhaps the “definitive” version was in Hebrew?

Could it be ammo without the explodey bits put in yet?

Might make sense to stockpile mostly made ammo that can be finished quickly but not have the risk of it exploding.


I had a half-formed idea that it was blanks, analogous to dry-firing a weapon (firing without any ammunition at all), but this makes even more sense.

I’ve found a reference (Textbook of Pistols and Revolvers: Their Ammunition, Ballistics and Use By Julian S. Hatcher) which claims dry ammunition is unlubricated which, to me, simply raises more questions. The author claims that dry cartridges cause terrible leading, which… I know what “leading a target” is, but in the context of shooting at a stationary target, that makes no sense, and shooting at a stationary target is clearly what the book is describing. From reading further, it appears the author’s talking about fouling the barrel with little flakes of lead (the metal, not the verb) and that reducing accuracy.

That seems like the most reasonable explanation.

Possibly it refers to traditional artillery rounds containing only dry powder explosive inside.
I believe there is ammunition containing liquid components that can be fired through barrels like artillery, but are more like rockets or missiles. (Like rocket-propelled grenades, for example?) These are probably included in a different classification.

During WW2 certain machine guns needed lubricated rounds in order to ensure mechanical reliability during sustained fire. The rounds would either be lubricated during production or to save time/use existing rounds the machine gun itself would have an oiler installed that would lubricate the rounds as they were being fed into the gun.

Anderson family history

That seems like an awful large amount of dry ammunition. I lean towards thinking it’s a miss-translation.

That’s not what Julian was referring to. Those machine gun rounds were indeed just externally oiled with a brush so the mechanism would function. Dry ammunition in the sense he meant fires just a copper jacketed projectile. But plain lead bullets (no copper jacket) need to be lubricated with a waxy substance. Those bullets are grooved for this purpose. If you do not lube them they “lead” the barrel. In other words, the bare lead builds up quickly in the rifling. The wax coated bullets tend to clean up after themselves.

Here is a photo of a lead bullet with the grooves filled with lube:

What the article the OP referred to, I have no idea.


I’m not familiar with the term “dry ammunition” in Hebrew, but based on the context, I think it means non-explosive munitions, like rifle rounds. I know for a fact that Israel is a major producer, and exporter, of 5.56 mm ammo.


In general, the Israeli military uses the term “wet” to refer to live ammo - a “wet exercise” is a live fire exercise, while a “dry exercise” is an exercise where the soldiers go through the motions without actually firing their weapons. In this context, “dry ammunition” is a bit of an oxymoron, but my guess, again, is that it refers to not-explosive munitions.

This circles back around to my very first guess, which means we have two reasonable guesses at this point: Non-explosive or otherwise dummy ammunition, or unlubricated ammunition.

Given that the quote is from the Jerusalem Post I’d go with Alessan’s definition.

No - my guess is that it refers to live, functional ammo that isn’t designed to explode, like small-arms munitions (gunpowder, after all, is not an explosive). This, vs. explosive munitions like howitzer shells or guided missiles.

**[SIZE=“6”]Powerful Ammunition, Wet or Dry [/SIZE]****(from military.com) **