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New ammunition for tanks under development

Orbital is to develop a new 120mm multi-purpose round for tanks under a first-phase development contract from the U.S. Army.

By Richard Tomkins
New ammunition for tanks under development
Marines load ammunition into an Abrams tank. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. John M. McCall.

DULLES, Va., Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Next-generation, multi-purpose 120 millimeter ammunition is to be developed for U.S. Abrams tanks by Orbital ATK.

The U.S. Army contract for first-phase development work is worth $16 million.

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"Our ammunition innovations like advanced kinetic energy penetrators and airbursting munitions are providing combat overmatch for our warfighters -- which is our company's mission," said Dan Olson, vice president and general manager for Orbital ATK's Armament Systems division, of the Defense Systems Group. "Our ability to innovate comes from a long history of creating new capabilities for existing systems through our expertise in fuzing, warheads and platform integration."

Orbital ATK said the 120mm Advanced Multi-Purpose, XM1147 High Explosive Multi-Purpose with Tracer cartridge will replace four existing rounds, including those for defeating armor and breaching reinforced walls.

An expected timeline for development of the ammunition, however, was not disclosed.

Orbital ATK and the U.S. Army earlier this year finished qualification for the M829E4, creating the Army's fifth generation 120mm kinetic energy round that features a penetrator capable of defeating all modern armor protection.

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