Rheinmetall's family of medium calibre ammunition
Rheinmetall provides a comprehensive medium-calibre ammunition portfolio for its own and other cannons. The portfolio covers a broad range of mission profiles and targets and allows minimizing the number of required ammunition types balancing performance with logistics.
The ammunition combines a high penetration performance, versatility, reliability, low dispersion and handling safety. Corresponding target practice and drill rounds complete the portfolio.
Part of a new generation of armour-piercing sub-calibre ammunition, Rheinmetall’s APFSDS-T, which stands for armour-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot-tracer, is used by infantry fighting vehicles in a self-defence role for engaging ground targets and enemy aircraft. Designed for extremely low air resistance, the round’s tungsten penetrator defeats homogenous steel and high-density armour, even at low angles of impact and long engagement ranges. Because the heavy metal penetrator departs the barrel at full spin, the sabot flies away as soon as the round leaves the muzzle, increasing its accuracy. This makes APFSDS-T ammunition indispensable for infantry fighting vehicles. The APFSDS-T round is available in calibre 25 mm x 137, 30 mm x 173 and as ballistically matched practice ammunition.
FAP is a new type of high-performance, explosive-free, multi-purpose ammunition for fighter planes and fighter-bombers. Each round is armed with a penetrator consisting of individual frangible heavy metal pellets and heavy metal sub-projectiles. After penetrating the target envelope, the heavy metal pellets disintegrate into multiple fragments. As the fragments penetrate deeper into the target interior, the number of fragments increasing, turning into a cascade of heavy metal. This is a highly effective means of neutralizing armoured targets on the ground and in the air. FAP cartridges are designed for air-to-ground and air-to-air engagements. Owing to their special design – and unlike conventional aircraft ammunition – FAP cartridges never result in ricochets as the projectile core disintegrates upon impact. The FAP multi-purpose round is available in calibre 20 mm x 102, 25 mm x 137 and 27 mm x 145.
The concept of the frangible subcalibre projectile without primer and explosives was specially developed for engaging hard and semi-hard targets. Its short time of flight, high accuracy and the destructive power of its frangible tungsten core make the insensitive FAPDS-T ammunition an extremely efficient means of defending infantry fighting vehicles and surface combatants. The FAPDS round is available in calibre 25 mm x 137, 27 mm x 145 and 30 mm x 173.
The 35 mm Ahead system, consists of measurement and programming units, control electronics and programmable Ahead ammunition. It can be fitted to any suitable automatic cannon and then successfully engage small, fast aerial targets with a high kill probability. Each Ahead round contains 152 tungsten sub-projectiles which are ejected immediately in front of the oncoming target. The measurement unit determines the velocity of each Ahead round prior to muzzle exit. Based on this data, the control electronics calculates the sub-projectile ejection time, which is transmitted via the programming unit to the time fuse in the projectile.
Air Burst Munition
Rheinmetall’s airburst ammunition (ABM) is the ideal solution for contemporary vehicle main armament, ground-based anti-aircraft guns and naval applications. Based on NATO-qualified Ahead technology, each ABM round contains a large amount of sub-projectiles and a programmable fuse, which is supplied with data from the fire control computer via an electric fuse programming coil as it departs the barrel. After measuring the current velocity of the round, the electronics calculate the optimum detonation time, inductively programming each round as it passes through the muzzle. Since the ejection interval can be altered, the insensitive Rheinmetall airburst ammunition can be used to engage a wide spectrum of modern battlefield threats. The ABM round is available in calibre 30 mm x 173 and 35 mm x 228.
PELE–“penetrator with enhanced lateral effect”–is a new type of automatic cannon ammunition without a fuse or explosive. The combination of two materials with different densities causes the shell to disintegrate in the target zone without the need for an explosive charge or fuse. Its penetrating power, response sensitivity and fragmentation performance actually exceeds conventional ammunition in terms of lethality. The insensitive PELE is a cost effective ammunition technology that is very safe to store, transport and handle; it can also be used for training purposes. The PELE round is available in the calibres: 20 mm x 102, 25 mm x 137, 27 mm x 145 and 30 mm x 173.