German "Leopards 2" and American shells: they are quite good friends

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German "Leopards 2" and American shells: they are quite good friends

The question of whether it is possible to fire from tanks "Leopard 2" with American-made shells has, without a doubt, become bad manners. It is possible, since the caliber is the same, and the guns of the Germans and Americans themselves, except for some structural nuances, are generally identical. But how will overseas ammunition behave when fired from the L55 cannon, which is distinguished by an increased barrel length and is installed on fresh modifications of the “brainchild of the Teutonic genius”?

This is especially interesting in the current situation - Ukraine will soon receive the Abrams, and the unification of their ammunition could theoretically become a help to our enemy. We will tell and show.




From what and with what did they shoot?


Two tanks were present at the test site as test subjects: the Danish Leopard 2A5 with an L44 smoothbore gun (barrel length 5,28 meters) and the Dutch Leopard 2A6, which, respectively, has an L55 gun with a barrel length of 6,6 meters. Such a significant difference in dimensions gives a tangible increase in the initial flight speed not only for German, but also, logically, for American shells, which we will discuss below.


As for the ammunition itself, there are four of them:

M1002 TPMP-T - a practical 120-mm projectile that imitates the ballistics of the M830A1 multifunctional cumulative fragmentation ammunition.

KEW-A2 - a feathered armor-piercing sub-caliber projectile, which is an export tungsten analogue of the uranium М829А2 from the Abrams ammunition load.

M830A1 HEAT-MP-T - multifunctional cumulative-fragmentation sub-caliber ammunition. Designed for use in Abrams tanks to combat enemy armored vehicles, infantry and helicopters.

M1028 Canister - a canister projectile equipped with a thousand small-diameter tungsten balls to destroy manpower, unarmored and some lightly armored vehicles, as well as to make passages in barbed wire obstacles.

Some of the shots were tested with different temperatures of propellant charges, since it directly affects the initial velocity of the projectile: the warmer the gunpowder, the more energy it gives out during combustion and, accordingly, accelerates the projectile more.

With the cooling of gunpowder, the process is diametrically opposed. This circumstance seriously affects the accuracy of fire, especially if it is carried out at long distances exceeding the distance of a direct shot. However, all modern fire control systems take this feature into account, including ours.

Let's look at the result


To begin with, a practical (training projectile) M1002. The shooting distance is one kilometer. On the left is the result of hits from the L44 cannon, and on the right - L55. You can see that the "long-barreled" seated two shells in one hole. At the same time, the aiming points for both tanks were different, so the localization of hits should not be taken into account, but accuracy should be taken into account.
To begin with, a practical (training projectile) M1002. The shooting distance is one kilometer. On the left is the result of hits from the L44 cannon, and on the right - L55. You can see that the "long-barreled" seated two shells in one hole. At the same time, the aiming points for both tanks were different, so the localization of hits should not be taken into account, but accuracy should be taken into account.

Dependence of the muzzle velocity of the feathered armor-piercing piercing projectile KEW-A2 on the temperature of the propellant charge. The marks in the form of pink squares and the corresponding line on the graph are the L55 gun. Her counterpart is marked with blue diamonds.
Dependence of the muzzle velocity of the feathered armor-piercing piercing projectile KEW-A2 on the temperature of the propellant charge. The marks in the form of pink squares and the corresponding line on the graph are the L55 gun. Her counterpart is marked with blue diamonds.

The result of hits from L44 and L55 on a target from a distance of 1700 meters with KEW-A2 projectiles. Holes numbered 1 and 2 were made at a powder charge temperature of -32 degrees Celsius. Under the numbers 3,4 and 5 - at a temperature of +21 degrees Celsius. 6 and 7 - at +50 degrees. Note: after the fourth shot, the gunner of the Leopard 2A6 tank with the L55 cannon shifted the aiming point to the right.
The result of hits from L44 and L55 on a target from a distance of 1 meters with KEW-A700 projectiles. Holes numbered 2 and 1 were made at a powder charge temperature of -2 degrees Celsius. Under numbers 32, 3 and 4 - at a temperature of +5 degrees Celsius. 21 and 6 - at +7 degrees Celsius.
Note: after the fourth shot, the gunner of the Leopard 2A6 tank with the L55 cannon shifted the aiming point to the right.

Just, as they say, a picture for the sake of interest. Hits on the turret and hull of the Leopard 1 tank from its younger brother Leopard 2A5 from 1000 meters with American KEW-A2 shells.
Just, as they say, a picture for the sake of interest. Hits on the turret and hull of the Leopard 1 tank from its younger brother Leopard 2A5 with 1 meters of American KEW-A000 shells.

Dependence of the initial velocity of the M830A1 multifunctional projectile on the temperature of propellant charges. The designations are the same: the L44 gun is shown in blue, and the L55 gun in pink.
Dependence of the initial velocity of the M830A1 multifunctional projectile on the temperature of propellant charges. The designations are the same: the L44 gun is shown in blue, and the L55 gun in pink.

The result of hits from L44 and L55 from a distance of 1700 meters with M830A1 shells. As usual, holes numbered 1 and 2 were made at a powder charge temperature of -32 degrees Celsius. 3,4 and 5 - at +21 degrees, and 6 and 7 - at +50 degrees. Such a large spread of the first two shots from the L55 cannon is not explained in any way, but, apparently, something was too clever with the aiming point, since the gunner put the rest of the shells into the target normally.
The result of hits from L44 and L55 from a distance of 1 meters with M700A830 shells. As usual, holes numbered 1 and 1 were made at a powder charge temperature of -2 degrees Celsius. 32, 3 and 4 - at +5 degrees Celsius, and 21 and 6 - at +7 degrees Celsius. Such a large spread of the first two shots from the L50 cannon is not explained in any way, but, apparently, something was too clever with the aiming point, since the gunner put the rest of the shells into the target normally.

In these pictures, everything is basically clear. The projectile is a multifunctional M830A1, and the target is a helicopter simulator at a distance of 1000 meters. From above, the target is before the shelling, and from below, of course, after it. There is no difference in the guns, except that the L55 sends a projectile with a higher muzzle velocity in all temperature ranges, so its accuracy is somewhat higher.
In these pictures, everything is basically clear. The projectile is a multifunctional M830A1, and the target is a helicopter simulator at a distance of 1 meters. From above, the target is before the shelling, and from below, of course, after it. There is no difference in the guns, except that the L000 sends a projectile with a higher muzzle velocity in all temperature ranges, so its accuracy is somewhat higher.

These images show targets for the M1028 Canister projectile. These are wooden shields, barbed wire and a civilian car. For the first two, the firing distance is not specified, but for the car - in the region of 100 meters.
These images show targets for the M1028 Canister projectile. These are wooden shields, barbed wire and a civilian car. For the first two, the firing distance is not specified, but for the car - in the region of 100 meters.

This is what happened to the barbed wire and wooden shields after the M1028 Canister was fired from the "leopard" cannon.
This is what happened to the barbed wire and wooden shields after the M1028 Canister was fired from the "leopard" cannon. Both were tested here, and the results are positive, but only the general consequences are shown.

The same M1028 Canister projectile, but against a civilian vehicle from a distance of about 100 meters. It seems that the result does not need a detailed description - everything is already perfectly visible.
The same M1028 Canister projectile, but against a civilian vehicle from a distance of about 100 meters. It seems that the result does not need a detailed description - everything is already perfectly visible

What should be noted as a conclusion?

Tests have shown that the German guns L44 and L55 really quite well "digest" sub-caliber armor-piercing, universal and grapeshot shells intended for Abrams tanks. With accuracy there, too, as we see, everything is fine, therefore, unification in the ammunition load, some kind, but present.

So our opponents, who will soon receive American tanks, were even lucky to some extent - hypothetically, in a situation where the situation with ammunition for the Leopard 2 turns out to be unenviable, you can not pay attention to the "clan and tribe" of the shots at hand turn.

But there is one caveat that applies to all tanks in general, including the Leopard 2: the shells have different and often unique ballistic characteristics. They are "sewn" into the ballistic computer of the fire control system. Therefore, when a shot “non-native” for the system is thrown into the breech of a gun, then one cannot expect high accuracy of hits at long combat distances - the calculator will not issue the necessary corrections. So not all ammunition of suitable caliber is equally useful - sometimes it can fail.

The source of information:
"Firing US 120mm Tank Ammunition in the Leopard 2 Main Battle Tank"
NDIA Guns and Missiles Conference
Harlan Huls
22 April 2008
22 comments
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  1. -4
    7 July 2023 04: 20
    Surprisingly, such information should be at least for official use, therefore it is doubly interesting!
    1. +7
      7 July 2023 04: 31
      Quote: andrewkor
      Surprisingly, such information should be at least for official use, therefore it is doubly interesting!


      You are accustomed to our approach to secret clerical work.
      In terms of secrecy in the West, everything is much simpler. By and large, it makes no sense to secret data that a large number of people have access to and that are relevant for a long time.
      The publication of this kind of technical information in open sources makes life easier not only for a potential adversary, but also for private developers and contractors.
      1. 0
        8 November 2023 09: 58
        You are accustomed to our approach to secret clerical work.

        At one time there was a saying: “In the USSR almost everything is secret, but almost everything is not a secret.”
    2. +4
      7 July 2023 05: 34
      Quote: andrewkor
      Surprisingly, such information should be at least for official use, therefore it is doubly interesting!

      A strange approach - the information that the enemy openly owns should be inaccessible to his own? I don't understand this approach.
      By article. I do not see anything surprising in the replacement. The barrel is not rifled, and the feathered projectile, if it rotates, then with non-critical revolutions interacts little with speed. But with rifled shells, a higher initial speed interacts much more strongly with the rotation speed. From the disruption of the belts to the restabilization of the projectile ...
      1. +3
        7 July 2023 06: 16
        For rifling, the depth of rifling can also be different for the same caliber. Just a different barrel length implies the possibility of using different charges. Actually, just lengthening the barrel without changing the charge gives a little.
        Nothing seems to have changed with Rh120 and its clones.
        Sorry, I don’t remember where I read it, but there it seems to be boiling over from Norway. They began to shoot in the cold and oppa! The initial speed floats. In a short barrel, frozen charges do not have time to burn out.
        1. 0
          7 July 2023 06: 26
          Quote: Grossvater
          For rifling, the depth of rifling can also be different for the same caliber.

          And the steepness of the rifling and the length of the barrel and the projectile in general. In general, the same caliber does not mean the same weapon.

          Quote: Grossvater
          Sorry, I don’t remember where I read it, but there it seems to be boiling over from Norway. They began to shoot in the cold and oppa! The initial speed floats. In a short barrel, frozen charges do not have time to burn out.
          I haven’t read it, but I won’t be very surprised if this is true ... Although the incomplete combustion of gunpowder does not mean a strong decrease in projectile speed.
          1. 0
            23 November 2023 01: 55
            The main thing is not that the initial speed decreases, the main thing is that it floats, which means that the accuracy, especially vertically, will be very poor.
      2. +3
        7 July 2023 11: 02
        Quote: Vladimir_2U
        A strange approach - the information that the enemy openly owns should be inaccessible to his own? I don't understand this approach.

        Heh heh heh ... you do not understand the twists and turns of secrets.
        Remember how in the USSR they hung a stamp on Jane's reference books - only because they contained western data about our technology, which was considered secret in the USSR? smile
        1. -1
          7 July 2023 11: 16
          Quote: Alexey RA
          Remember how in the USSR they hung a stamp on Jane's reference books - just because they contained Western data about our technology, which was considered secret in the USSR?

          I got my hands on Jane only at the beginning of the 86s, but I wrote out "Aviation Week & Space Technology" either in 87 or in XNUMX. I received a year and did not renew the subscription, because I spit because of the filthy quality of the reprint! I thought that gloss with beautiful pictures would come! What to take from a teenager ... laughing
          So not everything was clear with chipboard.
          1. 0
            7 July 2023 14: 44
            Quote: Vladimir_2U
            I got my hands on Jane only at the beginning of the 86s, but I wrote out "Aviation Week & Space Technology" either in 87 or in XNUMX.

            So it's time perestroyka and glasnost. In those days, a lot of things were decoded.
            And in times of stagnation, even "Military Foreigner" / "ZVO" - a domestic magazine with data on Western technology and tactics from open sources - was a closed subscription. Formally, it was opened for citizens in 1973, but in fact, even in the early 80s, the subscription was only for officers.
            1. +1
              7 July 2023 17: 00
              As a kid, I subscribed to the call in the village without any problems since 1976, and for about 15 other very popular magazines ...
        2. 0
          7 July 2023 17: 35
          Quote: Alexey RA
          Remember how in the USSR they hung a stamp on Jane's reference books - just because they contained Western data about our technology, which was considered secret in the USSR?

          My classmate collected articles, clippings and materials on the branches of forces, weapons from Jane, Foreign Military Review, Naval Collection and many other magazines and open sources. He brought all this into tables, diagrams, etc. It turned out 4 weighty volumes the size of the TSB and 3 times in thickness each. When they discovered this, they seized it and classified it. It's one thing if these are disparate open sources, it's another thing when an analysis is made and systematization is carried out. The work was credited to the comrade as a diploma. Graduated with honors. It was already in the distant 80s.
          1. Alf
            0
            7 July 2023 18: 34
            Quote: Andrey NM
            When it was discovered from him, it was seized and classified.

            Well, at least they didn’t sew the case. laughing
      3. Alf
        0
        7 July 2023 18: 33
        Quote: Vladimir_2U
        A strange approach - the information that the enemy openly owns should be inaccessible to his own? I don't understand this approach.

        Do you remember Soviet photos of aircraft with the inscriptions "supersonic fighter", "missile carrier" ...
  2. +1
    7 July 2023 06: 10
    Hm! And why shouldn’t guns that are basically identical be friends with each other. The Americans have not made a single decent tank gun in their entire history. Everything is licensed, first English L7, now German Rh120.
    Has the barrel been lengthened? So this would be at low temperatures the initial speed was stable. The ballistics are the same. In addition, NATO is watching, and doing the right thing by the way, so that the ammunition is mutually applicable.
    1. -1
      7 July 2023 06: 15
      Quote: Grossvater
      In addition, NATO is watching, and doing the right thing by the way, so that the ammunition is mutually applicable.

      This is especially evident in the Challenger! wink
    2. MSN
      0
      9 July 2023 16: 59
      Why didn't they? Done. M1 76 mm, M3 90 mm. Pretty decent guns.
  3. +5
    7 July 2023 11: 35
    The armament of NATO initially implied this concept.
    A single cartridge for firearms, a single shell for artillery 155, a single shell for tank guns (only the British stand out with their Challenger 3).
    This was done to avoid problems with logistics in the event of full-scale conflicts.
  4. SNA
    0
    7 July 2023 17: 51
    Quote: Alexey RA
    Quote: Vladimir_2U
    A strange approach - the information that the enemy openly owns should be inaccessible to his own? I don't understand this approach.

    Heh heh heh ... you do not understand the twists and turns of secrets.
    Remember how in the USSR they hung a stamp on Jane's reference books - only because they contained western data about our technology, which was considered secret in the USSR? smile

    In 86, after the institute, he freely looked in the OKBM library.
  5. +1
    8 July 2023 15: 46
    But don’t they put a licensed Rheinmetal gun on the Abrams from some modifications, like the leopard-2 ... they seem to put
  6. 0
    9 July 2023 20: 59
    Quote: Grossvater
    For rifling, the depth of rifling can also be different for the same caliber.

    What kind of "rifling" are we talking about if the gun is smoothbore?
  7. 0
    12 August 2023 17: 59
    Yes, what the hell is chipboard and stuff? NATO from the very beginning began with unification. All discord was eliminated. It’s even strange, why on earth should different shells not be suitable for different modifications of the same gun? You may not even think about it. It makes sense to talk only about the effectiveness of shells.