Daily Management Review

US Army to Soon Get Next Generation 120mm Tank Ammunition


Orbital ATK Begins Production of M829E4 Advanced Kinetic Energy 120mm Tactical Tank Cartridge

US Army to Soon Get Next Generation 120mm Tank Ammunition
Orbital ATK Inc. is all set to begin production of the M829E4 Advanced Kinetic Energy 120mm tactical tank cartridge. The company announced on Monday that the latest tank ammunition had passed the First Article Acceptance Testing and production for supply to the United States army is to begin soon.

The company has partnered with the US army and has type classified 11 of the 13, 120mm tactical and training rounds for the Abrams tank. The company has been collaborating with the US army for more than 30 years now, said Dan Olson, vice president and general manager for Orbital ATK’s Armament Systems division of the Defense Systems Group.

Orbital ATK is a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies and designs, builds and delivers space, defense and aviation systems for customers around the world as a prime contractor as well as a merchant supplier.

In July, 2011Orbital ATK was awarded the $88 million contract to develop and qualify the M829E4 120mm Advanced Kinetic Energy (AKE) tactical tank round for the U.S. Army. After the completion of the second phase of the Engineering Manufacture Design (EMD) work that was required to qualify this new round for use with the Army's M1A2 SEP Abrams Main Battle Tank, the company would now enter production subject to a full material release decision form the government that is expected to be given before the end of the 2016 fiscal year.

The contract gives Orbit ATK production contracts for the first year and two follow-on production years that are optional. It is expected that the US army would require another 5 years of production time to replenish its armory and inventory requirement for the ammunition.

Olson said that Orbital ATK had helped ‘upgun’ the Abrams tank from a 105mm to a 120mm main gun by providing the 120mm ammunition. Oslo hopes that the company would have the opportunity to continue its work with the Army to hold the Abrams' standing as the world's most dominant tank.
The importance of the M829E4 Armor lies in the fact that has the capability to penetrate all current, modern armour protection suites as well as future armour protection concepts. This cartridge is the generation, 120mm kinetic energy cartridge of the US army and has a piercing Fin Stabilized, Discarding Sabot.

The cartridge is capable of making the most efficient transfer of energy to maximize the penetrating power of the advanced design, long-rod penetrator equipped with an exclusive composite sabot.
The cartridge is able to operate at extreme temperatures- from very hot to very cold, due to the use of a unique propellant blend that maintains a consistent muzzle velocity. The relocated skive-joint placement in the new cartridge improves armour crew safety during handling.

The company has had a long partnership with the US army and has delivered more than four million rounds of 120mm tactical and training tank ammunition since the 1980's. The cartridges that are produced by the company are safe to handle and are affordable and thus are in high demand with the US army.

A few days ago, the company was also awarded a $23.6 million contract by the US Air Force to help launch the fifth Operationally Responsive Space mission. It consists of a solid-fueled 78 foot-tall, four-stage rocket Minotaur IV rocket.

The 78-foot-tall, four-stage rocket will launch a small satellite called SensorSat from Launch Complex 46, which was last used in January 1999 by Lockheed Martin's Athena I rocket.