Undoubtedly one of the most discussed in the military-analytical sector of the Runet News over the past week has become information about the conclusion of a contract between JSC “NIMI them. V.V. Bakhireva "and the Russian Defense Ministry for the supply of tank Russian Armed Forces troops 125 mm armor-piercing feathered sub-caliber shells ZBM-44 (ZBM-42M) "Lekalo", which in the future should completely replace the obsolete BOPs of the ZBM-42 "Mango" type, replenishing the ammunition of smooth-bore tank guns of the 2A46M (D-81TM) family back in the late distant 80s.
And this is not surprising, because there is a cardinal inconsistency of expert opinions on this event, which is due to far from the best physicochemical and physicomechanical parameters of the Lekala tungsten core in comparison with M829A2 / A3 / E4 American armor-piercing feathered subcaliber shells depleted uranium.
The capabilities of armor-piercing feathered sub-caliber shells ZBM-44 "Lekalo" are limited by the ability to confidently defeat MBT "Leopard-2A4" and M1A1HA modifications of 1988
In particular, despite the fact that the density of tungsten is 1,014 times higher than the density of depleted uranium (19,3 versus 19,03 g / cm), and the melting point is 3387 ° C versus 1130 ° C, the latter boasts a unique physicochemical property - pyrophoricity, which is the spontaneous combustion of uranium dust (pyrophorns) of a decaying core at the moment of collision with the outer surface of the armored barrier, as well as during the further passage of the core and its fragments through the physical dimension of the armor plate.
Being a chemically active f-element of the periodic system, depleted uranium enters an exothermic reaction with the armor of the affected object with the further formation of stable intermetallic compounds. This process is accompanied by the release of much more heat than in the case of a tungsten core. As a result, there is a 10-15% increase in armor penetration of cores made of op-amps compared to conventional tungsten “crowbars” of kinetic action, and this despite the similarity of their kinetic parameters, core elongation coefficients, as well as ballistic characteristics of applied smooth-bore or rifled tank guns .
Conclusion: while the ZBM-44 Lekalo, advertised by military expert Alexei Khlopotov, developed in 1991, has armor penetration of the order of 650-670 mm at a distance of 2000 m and at an angle of 0 degrees to the normal (300-330 mm at a similar distance at an angle of 60 degrees to normal), the US M829A2 and M829A3 armor-piercing shells that have already entered service with the U.S. Army can boast of 740 and 770-800 mm armor-piercing, not to mention the most advanced M829E4 BPSs, capable of piercing up to 850-900 mm of steel equivalent at a distance 2000-2500 m. And here in the question arises: will the aforementioned armor penetration of 650–670 millimeters provide the tank battalions of the coastal forces of the Russian Navy, as well as the tank and motorized rifle units of the Russian NE, parity in hypothetical “tank duels” with mechanized units of the ground forces of the NATO member states that have M1A2 SEP v2 / MBT 3 and Challenger 2? After all, it was precisely this that the expert Alexei Khlopotov tried to convince the audience of numerous domestic military-analytical portals, focusing on the ability of the ZBM-42 “Lekalo” to “crack open the M1A2 MBT armor protection”.
As you know, the physical size of the frontal armor plates of the towers of the main battle tanks M1A1HA + / D and M1A2 of the early versions (beginning of the 90s) is represented by “special fillers” from AD95 corundum ceramics and UO2 100nd generation uranoceramics, which provide equivalent resistance from BOPS of about 880— 900 mm. The upper frontal part (VLD), located at an angle of 83 ° and having a physical dimension of 50 to 80 mm, makes it possible to achieve equivalent resistance from BOPS of the order of 650-760 mm (taking into account the deviation of the trajectory caused by a close to the critical angle of inclination of the VLD of 83 degrees ) Such resistance of the frontal projection can protect the crews of even the early M1A1HA + and M1A2 from armor-piercing armor-piercing projectiles of the ZBM-44 Lekalo at a distance of at least 1200-1500 m and with safe maneuvering angles of ± 35 degrees from the longitudinal axis of the barrel of the M256 gun, because equivalent resistance is 400 —500 mm side sheets of the tower at an angle of 55 degrees can reach 750-900 mm. A similar picture is observed with respect to the British Challenger 2, which has special armor of the Chobham type with an equivalent resistance of up to 850-900 mm.
As for the even more advanced M1A2 SEP v2 / 3, their “special reservation” packages, in addition to the corundum-ceramic size AD95, have a more resistant 100rd generation UO3 ceramic uranium, which differs by graphite sputtering and a titanium “casing” (instead of aluminum UO100 2nd generation filler). Naturally, the equivalent resistance of the tower of these versions of “Abrams” reached 950–970 mm, which does not allow breaking through even newer domestic BOPS ZBM-60 “Lead-2” from a distance of 1000 m. Therefore, at the present stage of formation, tank troops of the Russian North they need to develop a fundamentally new 125-mm armor-piercing feathered sub-caliber shells, the physico-mechanical and kinetic parameters of the cores of which would be close to those of the promising BOPS “Vacuum-1”.