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120mm Ammunition

M831A1 TP-T
XM1007 ERM/TERM - Tank Extended Range Munition
Advanced Tungsten KE Cartridge

The 120mm ammunition system equips the MlE1 (Abrams) tank with a 120mm main armament. It consists of a family of kinetic energy (KE) rounds and a family of high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) rounds. The KE rounds use a high length over diameter ratio subcaliber projectile with a depleted uranium (DU) fin-stabilized rod as the penetrator element. Traveling at supersonic speed, this penetrator concentrates an extremely high level of kinetic energy over a relatively small surface area of the target. The high specific energy on target enables the KE round to penetrate even the most resistive armor plates. The HEAT rounds, on the other hand, take a shaped charge warhead to targets. This shaped charge warhead, with its inherent blast and fragmentation capability, also provides additional weapon defeat capability

All 120mm rounds use a common combustible case which structurally combines the ammunition'scomponents prior to firing and is completely consumed during firing. The combustible case is the primary reason for the superior interior ballistics performance of the 120mm ammunition. This breakthrough in cannon ammunition technology allows both a greater chamber volume for the propellant and a higher working chamber pressure, thus giving the rounds greater muzzle velocities and higher ballistic efficiencies. The combustible case also minimizes round weight and, because the metal base is the only element ejected, the armount of spent cartridge case material and propellant gas within the tank is is greatly reduced.

While the combustible case is thoroughly consumed during firing, further assurance of a clean tube and chamber for each successive round is provided by a cannon bore evacuator. The evacuator functions as a large vacuum device, sweeping all portions of the barrel interior free of the most minute particles. All 120mm rounds have a propellant containment device that prevents propellant spillage if the combustible cartridge case is damaged.

The 120mm smooth bore cannon system was developed by West Germany for the Leopard II tank. The ammunition produced by both countries is interoperable and interchangeable between the Abrams and the Leopard, thus ensuring maximum commonality within the NATO community.

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Maintained by Robert Sherman
Originally created by John Pike
Updated Friday, January 08, 1999 6:54:40 AM