Northrop Grumman, Armament Systems (previously Orbital ATK) (Stand S5-200), is expanding its family of 120mm tank ammunition for use with the M256 smoothbore tank gun installed in the General Dynamics Land Systems M1A1 and M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks, as well as for use in other 120mm smoothbore guns, such as the Rheinmetall weapon installed in the Leopard 2 MBT.
According to the company, it has now manufactured more than five million rounds of 120mm tank ammunition for the home and export markets.
The latest 120mm M829A4 advanced armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot − tracer (APFSDS-T) round has been type classified by the US Army and features a new depleted uranium penetrator with enhanced penetration characteristics, a muzzle velocity of 1,562m/s and an effective range of more than 3,000m.
In October 2019, Northrop Grumman, Armament Systems will submit its XM1147 Advanced Multi-Purpose (AMP) round for its critical design review, which, if successful, will be followed by Milestone 3 low-rate initial production.
This fin-stabilised round will replace several currently deployed 120mm tank rounds and is fitted with an advanced warhead that provides a capability for high-explosive anti-tank, air-burst capability, bunker defeat and wall breaching. Using the ammunition datalink installed in the breech, the XM1147 AMP round can be programmed for one of three modes: point-detonate, point-detonate-delay or airburst.
The current 120mm M829A3 and the latest M829A4 APFSDS-T rounds use a depleted uranium penetrator that is not acceptable for some export customers. The company has, therefore, developed and qualified the 120mm Kinetic Energy Tungsten round, which has a conventional penetrator and also has a muzzle velocity of 1,562m/s.
In addition, Northrop Grumman, Armament Systems has stated that it has restarted production of the M908 high-explosive obstacle reduction tracer (HE-OR-T), which in the longer term will be replaced by the AMP.