Serial Tanks the Russian army of all modifications are equipped with 125-mm smoothbore guns-launchers and can use a wide range of ammunition for various purposes. A special place in it is occupied by several types of armor-piercing feathered sub-caliber shells (BOPS). In the near future, arsenals should be replenished with new products of this kind.
The main BOPS of our army is currently the product 3BM42 "Mango", used as part of 3VBM17 separate loading shots. The shell was adopted in 1988 and still remains in service. The design used new materials and solutions aimed at increasing the overall power and general characteristics.
3BM42 projectile has a length of 570 mm and a weight of 4,85 kg. Inside the steel body of large elongation is a composite tungsten core of two elements. The initial speed when applying a charge 4ZH63 - 1700 m / s. At a distance of 2 km, a projectile pierces up to 500 mm of homogeneous armor (direct hit) or 230 mm at an angle of 65 °. It provides penetration of multi-layer armored obstacles at different angles in a wide range of ranges.
Product 3BM42 and 3VBM17 shots are fully compatible with all existing versions of automatic weapons / loading mechanisms for 2A46 guns. This BOPS is still the main ammunition of its class and is likely to retain this status for a long time.
Recently, "Mango" is often criticized. This shell was developed more than 30 years ago and over the past time could have become obsolete. According to various estimates, the level of armor protection of modern foreign tanks exceeds the capabilities of the 3BM42 shell. For its effective application, it is necessary to reduce firing distances, putting yourself at risk.
However, objective data on the comparison of real tank protection with a real projectile are still missing. Perhaps such tests were simply not carried out. However, this fact does not prevent the emergence of new estimates.
The development of the Mango project continues. Last year, at the Army-2019 exhibition, the Russian concern Techmash first showed the Mango-M shell. A shot with such a projectile is characterized by increased indicators of armor penetration. At a distance of 2 km at an angle of 60 °, 280 mm of armor breaks through.
The Mango-M project was developed with an eye to the international market. Many foreign countries operate the T-72 and T-90 tanks, equipped with 2A46 guns. Operators may be interested in improving the combat qualities of such equipment, and the Mango-M BPS with improved characteristics can solve this problem.
The other day it became known about the launch of the production of a new BOPS. On January 17, Izvestia announced the availability of a contract for the supply of 3BM44 Lekalo serial shells. The document provides for the delivery of BOPS for several years in the amount of thousands of pieces. Through supplies, the army will replenish the ammunition of combat tanks, and also form stockpiles. The first batch of shells in the amount of 2 thousand pieces will go to the troops before the beginning of autumn. Contractor - NIMI them. Bahireva.
Models of shots for the gun 2A46. The third product on the right is a charge 4ZH63, the second on the right is the 3BM32 Lekalo projectile
According to known data, the Lekalo projectile has a mass of approx. 5 kg and a length of 740 mm. The core is made of a new alloy based on tungsten carbide, providing increased armor penetration. Charge 4ZH63 accelerates the projectile to 1750 m / s. At a distance of 2 km with a direct hit, at least 650 mm of homogeneous armor breaks through. High penetration qualities are maintained in a wide range of contact angles, including with the defeat of combined obstacles.
The 3BM44 projectile differs from older products in increased length, which does not allow its use with AZ / MZ of older types. The upgraded MBT T-72B3 and later modifications of the T-80 or T-90 receive an updated machine with increased styling, after which they can use longer shells.
At the moment, of the entire range of domestic BOPS, adopted for service, the most effective is the product "Lekalo". The launch of mass production and the delivery of thousands of such shells over the course of several years will make it possible to more fully realize the potential for modernizing domestic MBTs. Tanks receive improved fire control, and the new BOPS will successfully complement them.
Prospects for the Lead
The prospects for two shells with the common name Lead remain unclear. A 3VBM22 shot with a 3BM59 Lead-1 shell and a 3VBM23 shot with a 3BM60 Lead-2 BPS was developed. These products are as unified as possible and actually differ only in the type and design of the shells. Two types of shells are based on the older Lead product.
Shot 3VBM19 with the "Pattern"
BOPS 3BM59 / 60 differ from older products in longer lengths, which is why they are not compatible with all automatic loading machines. The composition of both shots uses a new throwing charge 4Zh96. Initial speed - not less than 1700 m / s. The main difference between the two shells is the core material. Lead-2 is equipped with a tungsten-based carbide core, while depleted uranium is used on Lead-1. BOPS 3BM59 from 2 km to 0 ° penetrates at least 600 mm of homogeneous armor. At an angle of 60 ° - 300 mm BOPS 3BM60 indicators are unknown; according to various estimates, no less than 700-750 mm is punched with a direct hit.
Due to the increased length, two BPSs of the Lead family can only be used by tanks that have undergone the modernization of AZ / MZ. For some time, there was no clarity on the issue of modernizing MBT, and as a result, the future of new ammunition remained uncertain. To date, some of the tanks have received the necessary equipment, but the prospects for 3BM59 / 60 shells remain unknown. At the same time, instead of Lead-2, the Lekalo with similar characteristics comes into service.
The future of shells
In our country, new BOPS with enhanced characteristics have already been created. Promising products with the codes “Vacuum” and “Slate” are capable of piercing at least 900-1000 mm of homogeneous armor, but the known limitations are at the cost of this. New shells are even longer than existing ones, and therefore incompatible even with modernized AZ / MZ of old types. Such ammunition is no longer being developed for 2A46 guns, but for the promising 2A82 gun, for the T-14 tank.
In general, the emphasis in the field of armored vehicles and weapons is gradually shifting from the development of existing models to the creation of completely new ones. Such trends may affect the fate of some samples, including already developed armor-piercing feathered sub-caliber shells.
Recently, an order appeared for the supply of Beks of the Lekalo type, designed to increase the combat characteristics of cash MBT. In addition, the industry is working on BOPS for the new 2A82 gun. As a result of this, new questions arise about the prospects of the Lead family, which now risks not being left to the lot. Also, the real export future of the Mango-M shell has not yet been determined.
Obviously, the BOPS of domestic production has a different future. Some products will remain in the army, while others will begin to arrive at warehouses. The third will never be able to get into the troops for one reason or another. However, in general, the situation is optimistic. Domestic tanks of all models will continue to receive new ammunition, each of which will be more effective than the previous ones.