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M829 120mm, APFSDS-T

The 120mm M829 Armor Piercing, Fin Stabilized, Discarding Sabot-Tracer(APFSDS-T), cartridge is a US developed kinetic energy (KE) armor defeating round. It consists of a fin stabilized subprojectile with a six bladed aluminum fin, a tracer assembly attached to the rear of the fin and a depleted uranium (DU) penetrator with a ballistic tip to reduce drag. The propulsion system uses an obturating case base with combustible wall. This growth potential round features a modern technology high length to diameter (L/D), depleted uranium penetrator, and lightweight sabot. The cartridge weight is 41.1 lbs. The major components of the M829 are: The M829 is no longer in production. It was replaced by the M829A1 and more recently by the M829A2.


The M829A1 (nicknamed the "Silver Bullet" by Operation Desert Storm tank crews) is widely regarded as the most effective tank-fired (M1 Abrams 120mm main gun) anti-armor weapon in the world, and overwhelmed Iraqi armor during Operation Desert Storm. The M829A1 is a depleted-uranium long-rod kinetic energy penetrator round capable of defeating heavily armored vehicles.


As the executing arm of the Project Manager for Tank Main Armament Systems (PM-TMAS), TACOM-ARDEC recently fielded the M829A2, which enhances the round through increased velocity and improved terminal effects. The improved performance was attained by implementing new composite material technology and a new propellant with a higher loading density. The Cartridge, 120mm APFSDS-T M829A2 is the current production armor defeat cartridge for the 120mm gun tanks M1A1 and M1A2. It is a technology improvement over the M829A1, the "Silver Bullet" of Desert Storm fame. The A2's performance gains, while classified, result from several novel features. These include the use of new manufacturing process to improve the structural quality of the depleted uranium penetrator, the use of a carbon-epoxy composite for the sabot (a world-wide first in a projectile this large) and a special manufacturing process which partially cuts the propellant charge to allow it to behave ballistically like a granular propellant bed, while loading like a stick charge. Combined, these features increase the muzzle velocity of the M829A2 approximately 100m/sec greater than the M829A1, while operating at slightly lower pressure. PRIMEX is the sole producer of this advanced technology penetrator coupled with a state-of-the-art composite sabot and propulsion system. The M829A2 APFSDS-T KE munition is compatible with all standard NATO smoothbore 120mm tank cannons.


The M829E3 is the Army's next generation 120mm Armor-piercing Tank round. It replaces the M829A1 and the M829A2 projectiles. These rounds are widely regarded as the most effective tank-fired anti-armor weapons in the world. The E3 round will provide the army greater armor penetration capability than its two predecessors and also with improved accuracy.

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Maintained by Robert Sherman
Originally created by John Pike
Updated Friday, January 08, 1999 2:33:49 PM