you goota admire the Boxheads

Germans show us how to make effective Tank guns.

This excerpt was taken from Janes defence news weekly

BAE Systems Land Systems has confirmed at DSEi that the 120mm L/55 smoothbore tank gun has carried out its first test firing at the Eskmeals firing range in the UK. For these trials, the weapon was installed in a static mount fitted to a Centurion chassis.

Today the British Army’s Challenger 2 MBT is armed with a 120mm L30 rifled tank gun, which fires separate loading ammunition, projectile and charge. This weapon system is not interoperable with the UK’s NATO allies and to develop a new weapon system is no longer affordable.

Under a Defence Procurement Agency (DPA) Future Business Group contract awarded in 2003, BAE Systems Land Systems teamed with Rheinmetall W & M in developing a 120mm L/55 smoothbore tank gun. This fires standard ammunition obtainable from a variety of sources, including the latest generation of APFSDS (armour piercing fin stabilised discarding sabot) types, which do not use a depleted uranium penetrator. The L/55 has a greater effective range than the current weapon installed in Challenger 2.

This 120mm smoothbore weapon has been manufactured by Rheinmetall W & M of Germany and is ballistically similar to that installed in the latest production German Leopard 2A6 MBT, but externally is almost a direct replacement for the current 120mm L30 rifled tank gun.

After static firing trials the complete weapon system will be integrated in a Challenger 2 turret for a series of unmanned trials, which will take place early in 2006. The UK MoD is continuing to derisk 120mm smoothbore technology for both the projected Future Rapid Effect System (FRES) direct fire platform and the in service Challenger 2 MBT. An additional package of work is expected to extend the TDP.
Can any of the tank crews tell me if there will be a noticeable difference in accuracy with the new gun being smooth bore compared to the existing rifled gun?

Not on APFSDS rounds they're fin stabalised so don't require to be spun. Though a gunnery instructor could explain the physics better than I. However with a smooth bore gun we won't be able to fire HESH so we will be pretty useless in FIBUA (if we aren't already!). So it gets the thumbs down from me. I think the only reason we are going smooth bore is peer pressure. Everyone else uses them.
From what I've heard, the L55 120mm is slightly better than our L30 at punching through armour. However it's not as accurate.

The big plus point from the MOD is that we can nick the Spams ammo, and not have to pay for it ourselves.

There is the other question about how Mr loader is going to feel dicking about with this huge shell case.
I also belive That CR2 was clocked at 10 round per min on a recent nato exercise, the Abrams only gets about 8?
You also have to fit the cased ammo into the tank, and that will involve a redesign of all ammo bins which are only capable at present of taking bag charges and projectiles separately.Thee isn't any space for this in the CR2 without a major redesign of the hull crew comparment and the whole turret. And the breech of the Rheinmetall gun (whichas I said takes cased ammo) will take up more room in the turret. So I think who you've really got to hand it to are DPA for thinking up such a stupid f*cking idea in the first place.
And another thing!

IIRC, this programme is primarily concerned with procuring & developing Main Armt for the lightweight MBT version of FRES, and the rearming of CR2 is a bit of an afterthought. A crap afterthought, for the reasons stated above.


Book Reviewer
And straying slightly off-thread - since when did we admire the Boxheads? They're almost as bad as the frogs, God knows.

they might have been a great army once, but then again so were the Italians and even the Greeks......
Someone more in the know please correct me, but i was told recently that technology was being developed to fire wire guided amunition through smoth bore tank guns, this giving the firer greater accuracy and range. I dont know whether this is feasible or not, not knowing a great deal about tank armament but would assume that if someone was developing a technology that would make it possible to take you out at a greater range than we are capeable of, it would be a good idea to develop this yourself. Please feel free to correct me.

Yanks tried it back in the 60's with the Sheridan;light, air portable wagon which had a 152mm main armament which fired conventional rounds and the Shillelagh (sp) missile. Bit of a disaster by all accounts.
Just a few points:

The MoD is not prepared to pay the premium necessary for a tank gun unique to the UK. R&D and manufacturing facilities have already been closed down for both gun and ammo so we have to change regardless of what the best solution may be. Moving to the gun everyone else in NATO uses is therefore a bit of a no-brainer.

The 120mm smoothbore does however come in several varieties as far as the barrel length is concerned and I don't know which one we're after. Equally, a large range of ammo is available. The US are introducing a vastly improved HE round to address deficiencies in the current inventory identified in Iraq. They also produce DU fin, while the rest of NATO uses tungsten. So if we spend the money we should see no reduction in performance.

The USSR introduced laser guided missiles on the T-64B decades ago. They will happily sell you the latest version in 100mm, 115mm, 125mm or NATO 105mm and 120mm. It addressed the perennial problem they had whereby they produced very powerful guns with lousy fire control. They couldn't get hits with normal ammo at longer ranges so they added a missile for such engagements. Western tanks can hit targets at such ranges with normal ammo hence we never saw the need. The Sovs also saw such missiles as useful for countering hovering NATO helos.
I think the US wire guided cack was the 152mm Shillelagh weapons system, fitted to the Sheridan light tank - which was so crap the spams removed it from front line service and only ever used it as OPFOR in the Mojave desert - and the M60 A3(?) which was replaced by 105mm gunned models as quickly as possible. All of that without a reference book, which means:

1. It's probably wrong. And
2. Christ, I'm as boring as the wife says.
The reason why it was so shite was becuase the weapon used a caseless bag charge, and due to it being 1970's tech it had a habit of blowing up when loaded.

Add to that it was sent to nam, a vehicle that was desgined for the plains of europe, and suffered humidty problems with the Bag charge. also the light weight aliminium armour was useless agaisnt mines.
What - Aluminium armour is crap!? Shurely shome mishtake... Somebody had better tell all those poor f*ckers zipping about in CVR(T) then! Listy, I bow to your superior spotterdom; go and sew a little tank onto your anorak sleeve, then get a life. While you're at it, get me one will you?
The Sheridan was made from aluminium (read light) so you can hoik it out the back of an aircraft in support of paras. 152mm gun for FIBUA and mass infantry attacks and the missile system to take on Sov MBTs.

Like the M113 a good idea as it prevents the infantry getting shot to shreds on the DZ. The airborne loved them and the went to war with them back in 91. Were supposed to be replaced by the M8 light tank with 120mm gun but project was shelved due to budget constraints although 6 or 7 prototypes exist but were not used this time round.

Yup I need a life too....
The Russians aren't the only ones to tinker with Cannon Launched Guided Missiles.


and the Israelis no a bit about tanks.

The L55 is just part of an overall programme (CLIP) to improve CR2 lethality. It also includes a thermal panormaic sight for the commander and possibly a RCWS. Don't know whether the whole programme has been funded yet.

This may give CR2 the ability to fire not only the latest APFSDS ammunition, but also the latest programmable, anti-personnel and anti-structure munitions out there. This is a good thing IMHO.
Chieftain had a cannister round a million years ago but it was binned due to excessive barrel wear, allegedly. More likely just to save dosh; ie "There is no requirement for etc". Saw a Scorpion firing it once; very impressive if a bit short range.

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