The Russian military has been using a family of kinetic 125mm ammunition known as ‘MANGO’ since the mid-1980s, with all 125mm guns used on main battle tanks, tank destroyers including the D-81. This family comprised the 3VBM17 cartridge and the 3BM42 long rod penetrator made of steel. About ten years later a new family of kinetic ammunition known as SVINETS was in the making.

SVINETS represent the family of new rounds designed to meet a new performance level set by the American M829 that were loaded with depleted uranium penetrators, that made their debut in Operation Desert Storm in Iraq, 1991. The original M829 could penetrate 540 mm of RHA target at 2,000 meters. The advanced types of M829 (A3/4) long rod DU penetrators are fitted with a special fin designed to defeat ERA.

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T-90M firing. Note the mesh-type RPG protection on the side.

[wlm_ismember]The latest models of these advanced penetrators have now been accepted and used by the Russian military. They use new materials and longer rod penetrators developed since the beginning of the 2000s. According to Russian sources, SVINETs are operational with the Russian military for about six years.

NIMI offers two versions of the 3BM60 KE round. The longer projectile shown on the right, is designed for the 2A46M gun while the shorter projectile, currently in development, fits the D-81. Photo: Defense-Update

The family comprises the red-tipped SVINETS-1 fitted with depleted uranium penetrator (3VBM22/3BM59) and SVINETS-2 using a tungsten-steel long-rod penetrator (3VBM23/3BM60). Both projectiles use four tungsten-made sabots to keep the penetrators aligned in the gun tube. SVINETS-2 was displayed for the first time by the manufacturer NIMI in the ARMY 2019 exhibition in Russia.

SVINETS offer significant improvement over the MANGO family. The DU rod penetrates +700 mm of rolled Homogenous Steel (RHS) at 0° degree angle from a range of 2,000 meters, while the Tungsten rod pierces through 600 mm with the same parameters. MANGO family rounds could penetrate 460 mm in these conditions.

The Armata T-14 tank is armed with the 2A82-1M cannon, which can fire the faster, more potent Vacuum-1/2 projectiles. The Vacuum also comes in DU and Tungsten variants fired at a muzzle velocity of 1,980-2050 m/s, thus offering even higher penetration levels. Vacuum family rounds are believed to be used only with Armata T-14.

SVINETS ammunition is longer than previous projectiles and thus requires an adaptation of the autoloader in the turret of the tanks operating it – such as T-14, T-90M, and modernized T-9SM. NIMI is developing a different variant for use with older tanks, including T-72 and T-80s, that will improve armor penetration to 560 mm.[/wlm_ismember]