ATK Building Next-Gen Abrams Ammo

FYI, the all-round big gun experts at ATK have neen chosen by the Army to make the next generation of 120mm ammo for the venerable M1A2 Abrams tank. The latest version of the tank’s main gun ammunition is designed to penetrate the explosive “reactive armor”found on modern main battle tanks as well as being effective “in Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT), mountain, and nontraditional battlefields,” according to an ATK press release. The real feature here is that it can defeat reactive armor with one shot.

The round will allow for the use of fewer rounds and allow for faster enemy engagements – factors that will ultimately increase crew and platform survivability.

The company has been chosen to built the rounds under a $77 million three-year contract to “develop and qualify” the round, known as the M829E4 120mm Advanced Kinetic Energy (AKE) ammunition. Once this three-year period is up, the company is expected to win another contract for full production of the AKE ammunition.

12 Comments on "ATK Building Next-Gen Abrams Ammo"

  1. John Moore | July 11, 2011 at 2:56 pm |

    I don't get it u pay 77 million to develope it and then pay to buy it what happened to free enterprise like Mr Obamo said would replace the Shuttle?

    If it's so good for nasa why don't the defence people take that path and wait for someone to builid what we want?

    Of course I'm being sarcastic.

  2. They need a eqivilient of a 90mm canister round like used in Korea for use in Afghanistain if they had these in Wannat the battle would have been over in minutes.

  3. Are we going to be fighting guys with ERA in the near future or what? I thought the future was mass production of MPATs, since we'll probably be knocking down buildings with tank rounds in the near future.

  4. Anybody have thoughts on how they can promise a KE round that can do well “in Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT), mountain, and nontraditional battlefields”?

    My speculation is something like blended metal that fragments when it penetrates targets. Sabot plus spall is win? Not sure what other options there are.

  5. ERA has little effect against KE rounds, it is designed to work against HEAT rounds. A KE round is effectively a big DU or tungsten dart traveling at high velocity

  6. "ATK have neen chosen by the Army" They've NEEN chosen!

  7. Am I the first to wonder if they stick with DU or use Tungsten? I love the idea of a politically correct kinetic energy penetrator.

  8. Skysoldier173 | July 12, 2011 at 11:06 am |

    Speaking of CG, it does fire a cannister round. Why the US does not issue more to front line troops is puzzling.

  9. The innovation is ground breaking.What are the classications of armor on the main gun?

  10. ATK (formerly Morton Thiokol of Challenger explosion fame) is guaranteed to get at least $77 million to develop a new tank projectile? It is a multi-billion dollar company, and they could not possibly afford to develop a tank bullet on their own nickle? Instead they are going to soak the US taxpayer for $7.7 million in profit to build a new tank bullet that they are going to sell by the millions of to the US Army and other foreign customers who won't spend a dime on the development? Wow, what a sweet deal for ATK. The deal is even sweeter if the should just happen to run into problems designing this new bullet. I mean, hell, you never know what could happen. Pretty soon years turn into decades, millions turn into billions. I'm sure ATK would never let this happen on purpose, it just always seems to turn out that way for some mysterious reason, and the defense contractors just happen to benefit from the increased cost with increase profit. What a darned coincidence!

  11. The 829E4 will be purely AKE for anti-armor applications. There is no Abrams Master Gunner writing this fourth page filler article. Typos are plentiful and it is apparent that the author is blending lots of information that was heaped upon them in an interview/press conference.

    The US Army has the M1028 Canister, the M830A1 Multi-Purpose Anti-Tank, the M908 Obstacle-Reducing, and M829 series of DU Sabot rounds. The M829E4 is merely evolution to defeat higher levels of both ERA and standard solid armor found on Tanks and Tank-like targets. Non-line of sight rounds could be a possibility, but under another nomenclature. Why not procure the LAHAT from the Israelis like the Germans have recently? As for purchasing millions of the round or sales to other countries, European Countries use Tungsten almost exclusively, and the current top of the line round, the M829A3, is not even offered to other nations yet. The Armor force is shrinking right now, only a blind man could miss it. There are still stockpiles of tank ammunition that does not yet need to be replaced. The US Military needs the round to be ready for the eventuality of a war with a well-equipped military, and a base stock of the round enough to supply the initial forces.

    As for the Abrams' max elevation and depression, it is adequate and will work into mountiainous terrain like that found in Korea. Most Abrams tanks are in line to receive the CROWS system to replace the TC's .50 cal mount. This gives a maximum elevation of 60 degrees with accurate, precise, and deadly fire with light-armor defeating capabilities. It also now allows the TC the option of firing buttoned-up, like he was able to do on the old M1A1s.

    There is no considerable weight difference between the M1 (105mm) and the M1A1/A2 series (120mm), let alone are there any remaining 105mm M1s in the US inventory.

  12. gee, is anyone on these sites pro American and proud to be in this country? All I see is criticism. It seems that enemies of the United States are creating false accounts to create anti American propaganda. I am quite sure I am right in at least some instances. I mean look at the propaganda that Iran is spewing about weapons they obviously do not have. I am a veteran. Are any of you people a military vet? The United States has the best military in the world. Who does not think so?

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