Nexter prepares the future of battle tank armament

Nexter prepares the future of battle tank armament

Sun, 04/18/2021 - 11:55
Posted in:

New Delhi, April 14

Leaning on its expertise in battle tank armament, illustrated by the Leclerc's self-loading gun, and on  the excellence of its ammunition activity, Nexter (KNDS group) is presenting a new main armament  concept for main battle tanks, designed to deal with future heavily armoured threats. This  breakthrough weapon represents a major contribution by the French industry to achieve at the end  of a cooperative development: a new common solution for France and Germany enhancing the value  of distributed activity and balanced skill contributions within the European DTIB.  

By 2040-2050, allied nations will potentially face the return of high-intensity confrontations. In the  land domain, armies will have to equip themselves with modern means fortactical superiority, manned or unmanned, integrating numerous systems, reaching the highest levels of protection for the crew  and the capacity to neutralize the adversary. Faced with numerous and hardened threats, winning the  battle from the outset will require shooting faster, farther and with a higher destructive capacity on  the first shot, while reducing logistical and ergonomic constraints.  

Next generation large-calibre weapons will have to be able to guarantee the armed forces tactical  superiority not only tomorrow (2035), but also for the following decades. In order to meet this  ambitious objective, Nexter is developing an innovative concept that has the potential to evolve and  deliver performance that current technologies no longer offer. Taking advantage of its long experience  with the 120mm smoothbore gun of the Leclerc tank, its mastery of telescoped ammunition as well as  the maturity achieved during firing campaigns with a 140mm calibre, Nexter is proposing the ASCALON concept ("Autoloaded and SCALable Outperforming guN") designed to cope with the latest generation  of heavy armour while staying ahead of the threats of the next half-century.  

Based on technical solutions that will be fully mature by 2025, ASCALON offers an open architecture  designed to serve as the basis for cooperative development under the Franco-German MGCS  programme. This concept lays the foundations for the future European battle tank gun and  ammunition standard, drawing on previous experiences with allies, such as in the 140mm FTMA gun programme. 

Thanks to its breakthrough features, ASCALON is characterised by: 

• A wide choice of terminal effects: the enlarged calibre enriches the range of ammunition for  an optimal effect on the target thanks to rods of unparalleld length. It also makes it possible  to foresee intelligent ammunition for firing beyond direct sight (BLOS/NLOS), which will  provide new capacities while reducing the vulnerability of the tank.  

• Compact ammunition: with a maximum length of 130 cm, ASCALON telescoped ammunition  will be more compact than an equivalent calibre ammunition. It can be stored and integrated  in a self-loading turret, a technology mastered by Nexter and proven over many years on the  Leclerc tank.

• Increased firepower: the optimised chamber offers exceptional operational performance with  an energy level close to 10 megajoules for kinetic ammunition, while remaining below the  internal pressure level of current calibres. This untapped potential will enable the weapon to  evolve to a performance class of 13 megajoules capable of adressing any threat over the next  50 years. 

• A controlled blast effect: an innovative muzzle brake, adjusted external pressure fields and an  optimised firing impulse will strongly limit the blast effect of the shot. ASCALON will thus allow  the presence of infantrymen in the vicinity of the tank for joint combat, particularly in urban  areas.  

• Exceptional integration capacity: thanks to a controlled impulse, ASCALON will have a recoil  and acceleration effort compatible with mobile and projectable platforms weighing less than  50 tonnes, while preserving the vehicle's layout capabilities. 

Relying on Nexter's long experience in the field of tank guns and telescoped ammunition, offering an  architecture conducive to balanced industrial cooperation, the ASCALON concept has all the assets to  become the standard gun for future heavy battle tanks. Its dedicated ammunition is the only one  technological and tactical superiority for the coming decades. ASCALON is a breakthrough weapon  for breakthrough land combat systems.