What armament concept does Nexter offer for next-gen tanks?

PARIS, (BM) – What caliber will be the gun that will arm the battle tank of the future, which France and Germany intend to jointly develop within the framework of the MGCS [Main Ground Combat System] program?

What armament concept does Nexter offer for the tank of the future?
Photo credit: Army recognition

Engaged in this project, the German group Rheinmetall proposed response in July 2020, presenting a tank with a new turret, armed with a 130 mm / L51 gun combined with a “state-of-the-art autoloader”. According to the manufacturer, such a solution would “significantly increase lethality at a time of increasing threats.”

Previously, Nexter, which is part of the Franco-German group KNDS [KMW + Nexter Defense Systems], had pushed the idea of ​​a 140 mm gun from the FTMA [Future Tank Main Armament] program via a test campaign with encouraging results. Nexter said that the combination of such a gun with a 50-ton tank allowed a 70% increase in firepower over a standard 120mm gun.

Since then, Nexter has continued its reflection and unveiled, on April 14, the concept “ASCALON” [for Autoloaded and SCALable Outperforming gun], which has “from the outset a potential for development and performance than current technologies no longer offer,”, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing opex360.

“Taking advantage of its long experience with the 120mm smooth barrel of the Leclerc tank, its mastery of telescoped ammunition as well as the maturity achieved during firing with a 140mm caliber, Nexter offers the ASCALON concept […] intended to deal with heavy threats latest generation while making it possible to anticipate the threats of the next half-century”, announced the French manufacturer.

Nexter offers open architecture

This “innovative” concept, based on technical solutions expected to reach full maturity by 2025, offers an “open architecture designed to serve as a basis, within the framework of the Franco-German MGCS program, for cooperative development, thus providing the foundations of the future standard for European tank guns and ammunition, in the same way as the work previously carried out on the 140mm FTMA gun in cooperation between allied nations,” says Nexter.

Thus, this “ASCALON” gun will allow a “wide choice of terminal effects” and also consider the use of “intelligent ammunition for fire beyond direct sight”, which will potentially reduce the vulnerability of the tank.

But this gun will mainly use telescoped ammunition, which will be stored and integrated into a self-loading turret. The tank will increase its firepower. “The optimized chamber reconciles exceptional operational performance with an energy level close to 10 megajoules for kinetic ammunition while remaining below the level of internal pressure of current calibers”, explains Nexter, who believes that this weapon is evolving. up to a performance class of 13 megajoules, which will allow it “to handle all targets for the next 50 years.”

Also, the cannon will limit the blast effect thanks to an “innovative” muzzle brake, adjusted external pressure fields, and optimized fire pulse. Finally, ASCALON promises a “recoil and acceleration effort compatible with mobile and projectable platforms weighing less than 50 tonnes, while preserving the vehicle’s layout capabilities.”

In any case, for Nexter, this weaponry should have all the qualities required to face current and future threats.

“Winning confrontations from the outset will require firing quickly, far away, with a strong destructive capacity on the first shot, while reducing logistical and ergonomic constraints” and the “new generation of large-caliber weapons will have to be able to guarantee armed forces tactical superiority not only tomorrow but also for the following decades”, argues Nexter, for whom ASCALON represents “a significant contribution of French industry” to the MGCS program. It remains to be seen what Germany, which is leading this project, will say.

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