|Arthur Dominic Villasanta |||Mar 28, 2017 01:32 AM EDT|
(Photo : US Army) APFSDS in flight.
It appears one reason why the U.S. Army isn't in a hurry to develop a replacement for its third-generation M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank (MBT) that entered service in the 1980s is because its new depleted uranium (DU) armor piercing round and a new multi-purpose round can easily destroy Russia's new fourth-generation T-14 Armata MBT.
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The M256 120 mm main gun on the M1 now fires the new M829A4 Advanced Kinetic Energy (AKE) round and the Advanced Multi-Purpose (AMP) round.
The M829A4 is an armor piercing fin stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS) with a DU penetrator capable of penetrating both the "Malachit" explosive reactive armor (ERA) and the hull and turret armor protecting the T-14.
The new M829A4 can also defeat the T-14's "Afghanit" active protection system (APS). Malachit and Afghanit are the most advanced systems of their kind in use with the Russian Ground Forces.
The M829, the "parent" of the fifth-generation M829A4, is designed specifically for the 120 mm gun on the M1A1 and M1A2 SEP (System Enhancement Package) Abrams MBTs. This sub-caliber anti-tank round is a kinetic energy (KE) dart made of a DU alloy, which allows it to penetrate nearly all known types of tank armor. The penetrator is lodged in a sabot (or "shoe") as it leaves the gun barrel.
In addition to defeating Malachit, the M829A4 can also overcome the newest Relikt ERA, which detonates on radar command before a KE penetrator hits it.
The M829A4 consists of a DU penetrator with a three-petal composite sabot; a low-drag fin with a tracer for the penetrator and a windshield and tip assembly. It passed First Article Acceptance Testing in July 2015 and entered production that same year.
The other new M1 tank round that has the measure of the T-14 is the AMP, which combines a variety of different rounds into a single round. It will replace four munitions now in use.
AMP was also designed to easily defeat the Afganit APS protecting the T-14 MBT against high-velocity anti-tank rounds and anti-tank guided missiles.
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 AMP, an Abrams gunner will use the tank's fire control system to program the AMP fuze for a specific operational mode.
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