Development of New 120 mm Shell for New Version of M1 Abrams being Rushed

By | Feb 12, 2017 09:21 AM EST
"Lethal-er" weapon

M1A2 SEP V3, the newest Abrams MBT. (Photo : US Army)

Production of a new and more versatile tank round fired by the 120 mm gun of the new M1A2 SEP V4 version of the M1 Abrams main battle tank (MBT) is being accelerated by the U.S. Army amid dangerous tensions ignited by Russia.

The army has rewarded U.S. defense contractor Orbital ATK from Virginia a 30-month development and qualification deliverable award worth $45 million to develop the next-generation 120 mm multipurpose round for the new Abrams. Full-rate production might bring the total contract value to $119 million.

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The far more lethal Advanced Multi-Purpose (AMP) 120 mm tank round combines a variety of different rounds into a single tank round and will replace four rounds now in use. It was designed to easily defeat the Afganit active protection system (APS) protecting Russia's new T-14 Armata MBT against high-velocity anti-tank rounds and anti-tank guided missiles.

When fielded, AMP will greatly improve the Abrams' main-gun ammunition capabilities. The AMP round will replace and combine four tank munitions (the M830 High Explosive Anti-Tank round; M830A1 Multi-purpose Anti-Tank round; M1028 Canister round for use against infantry and the M908 Obstacle Reduction round for use against bunkers and buildings).

With the new round, an Abrams gunner will use the tank's fire control system to program the AMP fuze for a specific operational mode.

Afganit is a radio electronic system combining active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars; a computer subsystem and dischargers firing special rounds whose fragments destroy incoming projectiles. These rounds are fired from tube-shaped submunition dischargers at the base of the T-14's turret.

Slated to being testing in 2021 or four years before Armata enters Russian service, M1A2 SEP V4 will include new laser rangefinder technology; color cameras; integrated on-board networks; ammunition data links and laser warning receivers.

It was only in September 2016 the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation signed an order for a pilot batch of more than 100 Armatas that will all be used in field trials. The program to supply the Russian Ground Forces with T-14s was initially planned to begin by 2020, but has been extended until 2025 due to logistics and technical problems and funding shortfalls.

M1A2 SEP V4 is designed to be more lethal; faster; better protected; equipped with new sensors and armed with upgraded, more effective weapons. 

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