APFSDSArmor-Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot
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Reflecting its primary targets, it can fire APFSDS and a multi-purpose Kinetic Energy-Timed Fuse (KETF) munition with an air burst capability.
For this reason the ammunition load is normally biased towards armour-piercing, fin-stabilised discarding sabot (APFSDS) rounds.
For a start, the long gun barrel needed to drive an APFSDS round up to high muzzle velocities may be a distinct disadvantage in cramped surroundings.
According to Rheinmetall, a 14 per cent increase in muzzle energy is registered on the L55 as compared to the L44 version when using APFSDS rounds.
Kinetic energy armour penetrators, such as APFSDS, simply create small holes that might prove fatal to armoured vehicles but which make little impression on buildings.
Rheinmetall DeTec has duly noted the changing scene and added its own HE-Frag round to the 120 mm smooth bore tank gun ammunition family, hitherto populated only by Heat and APFSDS. The HE-Frag projectile is also fin-stabilised.
The gun can fire the current range of APFSDS (armour-piercing, fin-stabilized discarding sabot), APDS (armour-piercing, discarding sabot), Heat (high explosive anti-tank) and Hef (high explosive fragmentation) ammunition (42 rounds carried below the turret ring) plus the 9M119M laser-guided missile (up to six of which may be carried) with a maximum range of 5000 metres.
Known as the C148, this employs a discarding sabot base and the training round launches a projectile matching that of the APFSDS out to 2500 metres but then becomes unstable, so that the maximum range is reduced to some 7.5 km.
When the US Army acquired examples of the Kondakt5 in the mid-1990s they conducted test firings with the M829 120 mm Armour-Piercing Fin Stabilised Discarding Sabot (APFSDS) round.
During the 1980s, a DU armour package was developed for the General Dynamics M1 Abrams tank that is supposed to be the equivalent of 1300 mm thickness armour against shaped warheads and 600 mm armour against APFSDS rounds.
The CTWS involves the 40 mm gun, two types of ammunition (APFSDS and GP, the latter a high efficiency fragmentation and blast projectile) and the ammunition stowage and feed system