Improved Ammunition for the 120mm Tank Gun – 2006 Eurosatory Exhibition


To better prepare the Leclerc tanks to cope with asymmetric and urban warfare, the French Army is buying 1,000 new 120mm HE-T Mk II high explosive rounds, capable of destroying all types of constructions, light and medium armored vehicles. GIAT is studying the addition of a time fuze to enable indirect (overhead) activation when engaging dug-in targets.

 IMI introduced the M-337 High Explosive Multi-Purpose 120mm round, designed for similar roles. The new HE-MP-T inherits components, such as fuse and stabilizers, from IMI’s Anti-Personnel/Anti-Material (APAM) cartridge, which has become standard 105mm ammunition with the IDF. Its 120mm derivative is currently in final development, under a $60 million development and multi-year procurement program awarded by the Israel MOD. The 120mm APAM is scheduled for fielding by 2009.

Newly introduced ammunition is the PELE, from Rheinmetall defense reduced lethality ammunition. PELE uses non-explosive frangible warheads, designed to fragmentize as a result of the impact’s pressures, scattering fragments over a short, confined radius avoiding further damage. PELE can be optimized for close-in urban combat. Development started in 2002, under cooperation with GEKE Technologies.

Improvements are made with conventional KE ammunition. Rheinmetall Defense introduced the DM63 tungsten based KE round which uses new temperature independent powder, suitable for use in extreme climatic zones, without limitation. This round will improve the KE capability of the L44 gun, used with Leopard 2A4. So far, these capabilities were limited only to the L55 120mm gun fitted to the latest Leopard 2A6 tanks.

IMI introduced a similar round designated M-338, which improves the KE performance of its 120mm KE rounds, and is suitable for all types of guns (including L44). M-338 uses a tungsten core designed for improved penetration and performance. Using new Low Vulnerability (LOVA) propellant enabled IMI to increase the M-338’s muzzle velocity with large safety margin while maintaining precision and operability over the entire temperature range defined by STANAG criteria. IMI used a uniquely designed tungsten alloy core, with unique mechanical properties and sabot design to improve accuracy at all combat ranges.

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