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MILITARY TECHNOLOGY (MILTECH) is the world's leading international tri-service defence monthly magazine in the English language. MILITARY TECHNOLOGY is "Required Reading for Defence Professionals". Follow us on Twitter: MILTECH1

14 June 2016

Eurosatory 2016: Orbital ATK Details Armament Systems

Currently, Orbital ATK's Armament Systems produces a full suite of 20mm, 25mm, light weight 30mm and 30mm ammunition for medium calibre cannons. The division also produces a full range of training and tactical, 120mm ammunition for the ABRAMS tank and 105mm training ammunition for the STRYKER mobile gun system. Armament Systems recently has developed the 30mm, MK310 PABM-T (Programmable Air Burst Munition with Tracer) and is in service with international customers. The MK310 is designed for use with the company’s MK44 BUSHMASTER Chain Gun. The MK310 uses a turns and times counting fuzing that provides the extremely reliable burst point accuracy. The round uses an inductive fuze setter that is easily integrated into new MK44 cannons and platforms or as an upgrade to existing systems.

The division is currently developing a suite of 40mm ammunition to support a system approach (gun and ammunition specifically paired for optimal performance) the company’s MK44 BUSHMASTER Chain Gun in its 40mm configuration – also known as the MK44 STRETCH.  The ammunition suite consists of TP-T (Target Practice with Tracer), HEI-T (High Explosive Incendiary with Tracer), and APFSDS-T (Armor Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot with Tracer).

The division also is furthering its experience in the creation of the EXACTO (EXtreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance) .50 caliber sniper round (DARPA contract) where the round is diverted in flight through command guidance to correct trajectory to the target and/or engage a moving target. Future application of this experience include the addition of command guidance for medium calibre ammunition used to increase accuracy of ground, air and sea-based gun systems for both offensive and defensive applications, such as air defence or anti-UAV operations. Adding a precision capability to medium calibre weapons platforms provides game changing capabilities (both offensive and defensive) far beyond currently fielded allied and threat systems.

In the large calibre area, Armament Systems recently developed the 120mm KET (Kinetic Energy Tungsten) tank cartridge and has approval for international sales. The proprietary designed, tungsten-based penetrator provides allied militaries with an overmatch capability to defeat threat armour with a cartridge that is fully compliant with NATO standardisation requirement for 120mm guns. Most allied nations require a tungsten-based penetrating rod for armour penetrating cartridges. According to the company, current competitor tungsten offerings are much less capable than Orbital ATK’s KET in their ability to defeat modern protective armour.

The division is the developer of the US Army’s advanced 120mm armour penetrating cartridge (M829A4) for the ABRAMS tank. The cartridge has the ability to defeat all known armour types and has recently delivered the first lot to the US Army and received a Milestone C Decision which paves the way for full rate production.

Likewise, Armament Systems is investing in the development of the US Army’s Advanced Multi-Purpose (AMP) 120mm cartridge, which provides anti-tank, anti-helicopter, obstacle reduction, bunker penetration, wall breaching and dismount engagement capabilities – all in one round. This multi-purpose capability will replace four unique cartridge types providing tank crews greater mission flexibility while also replacing an aging tank ammunition inventory.

In other news, the company's Armament Systems division is developing SCORPION for the US Army’s High Explosive Guided Mortar (HEGM) programme, with Orbital ATK's solution being an advancement from the XM395, leveraging experience in that programme as well as lessons learned and applied to PGK for artillery. Speaking of Precision Guidance Kit (PGK) for artillery: Currently it is in the first round of production contract and has completed all lot acceptance tests and is ready now for full rate production. Earlier this year, the guidance fuze was approved for full material release (FMR) – which is a key development approval needed to advance to fielding large quantities to US Army and US Marine Corps. Orbital ATK has also delivered initial quantities to a small set of allied nations – and there are several allied nations interested in witnessing demonstrations of its capabilities (a demonstration was held in Germany in October 2015 using the PzH2000 and DM111 projectile). During this first round of production, PGK has tested highly reliable, proved 100% safe, and has met or exceeded during lot acceptance testing the Army’s 30m objective for accuracy.

XM395 Precision Mortar

Lastly, Orbital ATK is displaying a XM25 model with the new fire control system (same as at AUSA 2015) marketing discussions with NATO +5 are officially starting. Currently, the system has passed Design Verification Testing (DVT) and is on the way to Milestone C approval, which is to come yet this year.

For more information please see MILITARY TECHNOLOGY #06/2016, available at the show in hall 6, stand #B197; and frequently check back for more NEWS FROM THE FLOOR.