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Nexter qualifies Shard 120 mm APFSDS tank ammunition

KNDS's Nexter qualified its Shard 120 mm APFSDS tank ammunition in late 2023. (Nexter)

KNDS's Nexter announced in a press release on 29 February that it had qualified its Shard 120 mm armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot (APFSDS) tank ammunition in late 2023 and that it is now ready for production.

The ammunition was demonstrated against rolled homogeneous armour with Leclerc and Leopard 2 main battle tank (MBT) users in Alcochete.

Shard is designed to defeat modern MBTs and future threats, with Nexter claiming it offers increased penetration, greater accuracy, and reduced barrel wear.

The company said the ammunition's penetration has been increased by 15% while keeping dispersion low; its barrel wear has been reduced by 25%, reducing maintenance cycles and costs; and its muzzle velocity is 1,720 m/s with the Leclerc L52 gun and 1,734 m/s with the Leopard 2 L55 gun.

Shard has a lighter aluminium sabot and a long-rod penetrator built using a new high-performance tungsten alloy designed with Plansee to defeat latest-generation MBTs, combined with a redesigned combustible cartridge case and a new low-erosion propellant charge developed by Eurenco. It has a propulsion system compliant with Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) that produces the ammunition's velocity.

It is International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)-free and is designed for use by NATO tanks with smoothbore 120 mm guns, including the Leopard 2, M1 Abrams, and Ariete, as well as the Centauro 2 fire-support vehicle. It complies with NATO Standardization Agreement (STANAG) 4583 on military energetic materials and Interface Control Document 120 standards.

Nexter reported that demonstrations and contract negotiations are under way in European, Middle Eastern, and Asian countries.

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