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New round for M1 Abrams main gun

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Preacherman, Aug 19, 2005.

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  1. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    From National Defence magazine (http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/issues/2005/sep/uf-army_developing.htm):

    September 2005

    Army Developing Advanced Ammo for Abrams Tank

    By Joe Pappalardo

    To be more useful in urban battlefields, the Army’s main battle tank needs to be armed with advanced multipurpose rounds that can be adapted for use against different types of targets, officials said.

    “Overall, that is where we need to be going,” said Army Col. Mark Rider, project manager for maneuver ammunition systems.


    [​IMG]


    “Kinetic-energy rounds are being sent to the rear,” Rider noted. “From a logistics and operational standpoint, our tankers have to have the ability to … make them multipurpose. There will be fewer specialty rounds.”

    As the war in Iraq shifted from limited armor engagements to counter-insurgency, tank units rediscovered their roles in urban combat. Current ammunition, however, is better suited to defeat hordes of Cold War-era Soviet tanks, rather than insurgent guerillas dug into houses and bunkers. A multipurpose round would offer tankers flexibility to target not only armored vehicles but also foot soldiers or light trucks, even if they are shielded by a rock wall or within a fortified concrete shelter.

    The Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., is developing line-of-sight multipurpose (LOS-MP) munitions that would replace four rounds currently used in Army and Marine Corps tanks.

    The new round uses a fragmenting warhead and programmable fuses that can be set for either point-detonation against hard targets or for airburst, to strike soft targets. The fuse settings are controlled via datalink and operated by the tank crew with a mouse click.

    “One size fits all—that’s the best way to put it,” said Ernie Logsdon, division chief of the Munitions Systems & Technology Directorate at Picatinny.

    The LOS-MP program started in 2004. “I think the urban tank experience in Iraq emphasizes the need for this round, especially for the Abrams tank, although the request did not start this way,” Logsdon said, explaining that the program was designated originally for the Future Combat System’s mounted combat vehicle, which is not scheduled to enter service until at least 2014. The Army decided to accelerate the development of LOS-MP, so it can be fired from Abrams tanks.

    If funded to completion, the LOS-MP would replace the M830, M830A1 and M908, as well as the just-released M1028 canister round.

    The M830A1 is a high explosive shot with a limited antipersonnel component, and tank crews must flick a switch manually for the round to be used against enemy helicopters. All the other current Abrams rounds are what the Army calls “dumb bullets.”

    The M908 was initially developed in 1996 to destroy obstacles, such as bunkers. The round penetrates concrete before detonating.

    The M1028 canister round has only recently been available to Army and Marine tank crews in Iraq. The round, fired from the main cannon, contains tungsten balls that fan out into a 500-meter lethal shotgun blast.

    In January, General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems was awarded a $5.8 million contract for low-rate production of 3,600 M1028 rounds. The company will assemble the projectiles at its facility in Red Lion, Pa.

    Although new, this canister would be replaced, along with its three brethren, by a single multipurpose round. The Maneuver Armament Systems and ARDEC together are designing two different versions; the full-bore XM1069 and the sabot XM1068.

    The full bore is more lethal at close ranges, while the sabot has a smaller diameter, fewer explosives and better reach.

    “If the user requirements come in and they want a longer range, we’ll go with the 1068,” said Logsdon. He said both versions of the multipurpose round offered as good or better lethality as the rounds they would replace.

    LOS-MP would not be the preferred munition for direct tank-on-tank battles. Kinetic energy rounds would be loaded for such an engagement, according to Pete Cardell, deputy product manager for maneuver ammunition.

    There are no tungsten balls or other projectiles in LOS-MP. Instead, the warhead is designed to come apart into whirling chunks of shrapnel when it is set to the airburst mode. Unlike the current canister, it would be lethal and accurate at long range.

    One eager customer for new types of ammunition is the Marine Corps, which has operated the 70-ton Abrams since the early 1990s. Marines have been involved in the development of both the canister round and LOS-MP, Lodson said.

    Having a multipurpose round in the arsenal has many benefits, boosters at ARDEC said. The logistical footprint of a multipurpose muniton is smaller and easier to track in the transportation cycle. A successful LOS-MP would “wipe the logistics burden away. We’d be going from five rounds to two,” Logsdon said.

    Other advantages come in the procurement process. By consolidating the rounds, the military would increase the size of the munitions orders. In theory, that would lower the price per round.

    Since the tanks only hold 40 rounds, having more flexibility is vital, Logsdon added. “You have to figure out the percentage before the fight,” he said. “With LOS-MP you have more options from one round … And you have greater lethality than with the current set.”

    If funded for the 2008 fiscal year, the munition could be fielded as early as 2010 or 2011, he said. The program is vying against other projects for funds, Cardell said. “There’s a lot of competition.”
     
  2. Gordy Wesen

    Gordy Wesen Member

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    Are the current high density rounds causing radiation problems for the troops or civilians?
     
  3. Joejojoba111

    Joejojoba111 Member

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    The current high-density rounds would penetrate every wall of every building in a straight line through a town, spraying a lethal cone of chunks of those walls into every room it passed through.
     
  4. Koobuh

    Koobuh Member

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    >_<

    Depleted uranium is not much more radioactive than granite.
    The big problem with using DU rounds is airborne DU, caused when a round impacts a solid surface. DU is pyrophoric, meaning it will burn at high pressure (such as during a high-velocity impact), and becomes dust.
    Most of this dust settles into the ground, but some will become airborne, and becomes a heavy metal risk analogous to lead, cadmium, etc.

    The only reason this nonsense about 'DU is radioactive and causes cancer' came about was Sadaam carting every young cancer patient his thugs could find to the hospitals in Baghdad to suffer in front of Western reporters, coupled with the basic ignorance of most people.
     
  5. bogie

    bogie Member

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    That, and a lot of the "any war is bad, and any war the U.S. is in is worse" folks kneejerk really hard at any mention of uranium. By the time some of these folks get through with it, coupling in a bit of basic ignorance, it sounds like there're little miniature mushroom clouds all over Baghdad.
     
  6. Gordy Wesen

    Gordy Wesen Member

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  7. Third_Rail

    Third_Rail Member

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    $1,600 or so a shot. Better be good stuff.
     
  8. DelayedReaction

    DelayedReaction Member

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    2012? I hope by that time we're out of there.

    I have a lot of trouble seeing how tanks are well suited for urban insurgent warfare. I mean, although they're extremely hard to kill and can unleash an unholy amount of firepower, they also destroy the ground they tread on and have limited manueverability. Granted they can usually just run through whatever happens to be in their way, but it seems like using a tank in this situation is analogous to using a sledgehammer to swat a fly.
     
  9. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    Thank you.

    I worked a project for the Army Chemical Center and School in the mid-90s and as a contract add-on developed the manual for dealing with DU. The idea that DU is somehow a radiation hazard is one that is hard to put down.

    As you say, the primary hazard from DU is heavy metal poisoning, similar to lead or mercury, from the ash. Troops working around knocked-out vehicles need to be aware of this, and wear masks. They also need to wash thoroughly before eating or drinking.
     
  10. Sam

    Sam Member

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    There is a valid need for a decent he round for the Abrams, but i can't see how these will make a good replacement for cannister. Don't think, they can make a fuze setup fast enough, or sensitive enough to make that work, then there is the arming distance problem. Just my dimes worth

    Sam
     
  11. Yanus

    Yanus Member

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    Personally, I'd like to see some of the older model tanks retrofitted as flame tanks, similar to the ones used in WWII in the Pacific. They would make a helluva urban combat vehicle!......... :evil:

    Yanus
     
  12. scout26

    scout26 Member

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    Yep, I always said that getting rid of HEP and Beehive rounds were a mistake. Sometimes you need to have different tools in the toolbox.
     
  13. Joejojoba111

    Joejojoba111 Member

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    "Don't think, they can make a fuze setup fast enough, or sensitive enough to make that work, then there is the arming distance problem. Just my dimes worth"

    What about the xm25? If a 25mm high velocity grenade launcher with a small laser range finder can point detonate a grenade +- 5m, why can't a big stable platform with a much better range finder and a more accurate gun? Sure, they can't count revolutions in this case, but they could measure distance and calculate time of flight, for a fuze.
     
  14. Sactown

    Sactown Member

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    Wow, what's old is new again. Load up the grape shot!!!
     
  15. ARGarrison

    ARGarrison Member

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    I'll second what Scout26 said.

    I'll also through out the idea that we (the US of A) need a cheap HE missile or even rocket that can be fired from an ordanary TOW launcher. Save the expensive TOW III missiles for armor and use a HE warhead as a bunker buster.
     
  16. No_Brakes23

    No_Brakes23 Member

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    Nah, just get some reloading dies, I am sure you can reload it yourself for cheaper.

    Picking up spent brass is a PITA, though :D
     
  17. STW

    STW Member

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    If they bring back chain shot you can really get excited.
     
  18. Burt Blade

    Burt Blade Member

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    "Depleted Uranium" (DU) is Uranium 238. This is the most common isotope of Uranium found in ore. It is too stable to be used as nuclear fuel or explosive. It is only slightly radioactive, and is safe to handle. The far less common Uranium 235 is sufficiently unstable to make good fissile material, for bomb or reactor. Separating these two nearly identical materials is quite a task. "Highly enriched" Uranium, aka "weapons grade", is Uranium with much of the U238 removed.

    That leftover U238 is what we use to make the super-effective M-1 tank gun ammo. It is denser than lead, and rather hard. When it hits a tank (or anything else) at 5000 feet per second, the results are ... catastrophic. U238 also, as previously mentioned, burns when pulverized at high temperature and pressure, like when it passes through a Soviet made T-72 tank. The burning bits ignite anything flammable, like tank fuel or main gun ammunition, adding more "kablooey" potential.

    There is another source for DU / U238. When you reprocess spent enriched-uranium reactor fuel, U238 is one of the leftover materials. Spent reactor core fuel is absolutely _filthy_ with all sorts of high-level radioactives. You can chemically separate some of the components, like the oh-so-useful Plutonium. What is left has a fair percentage of U238.

    It is my understanding that the Soviet Union was using reprocessed nuclear core material as a source of depleted Uranium for some of its tank ammunition. _That_ stuff would not be something I would want to be near (especially with the legendary Soviet quality control). The shattered remains of such ammunition would be a major hazard to the locals.


    The A-10 "warthog" attack aircraft also uses DU in its 30mm cannon.
     
  19. bigun15

    bigun15 Member

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    I'd hate to duck hunt with those guys. They'd get everything.
     
  20. p35

    p35 Member

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    I'm trying to imagine using a mouse and monitor inside an M-1. Doesn't compute somehow :D
     
  21. mussi

    mussi Member

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    The Swiss Army long since has beehive rounds, HE-FRAG, and of course, the uber-evil HE-'soucoupe' round (I forgot the offical designation, I'm not a tanker), which disperses ten projectiles with the explosive power of about 3 times a hand grenade over a target for it's 120mm Rheinmetall gun on the Leo 2.

    Bee-hive is reputed to be quite good against low-flying aircraft.
     
  22. Joejojoba111

    Joejojoba111 Member

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    ...If they can convince the aircraft to stay still... Otherwise they need a new FCS.
     
  23. sumpnz

    sumpnz Member

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    What's also pretty cool are the extended range guided projectiles being developed for both arty and tanks. They stick a rocket motor in the back of the shell (this ignites after leaving the barrel), a guidance computer in the front, and add some fins and such. Quite the challange to get a guidance system to still work after the launch shocks.
     
  24. Crosshair

    Crosshair Member

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    Why not just bring in the Bradlys. That 25mm autocannon has to be better against human targets, plus you can shot through walls still.
     
  25. No_Brakes23

    No_Brakes23 Member

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    Not only that Crosshairs, but you can get 25mm DU ammo as well. The AV-8B uses that, (Loaded and unloaded more DU than I care to remember.)
     
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