Tests of new programmable ammunition for Abrams tanks continue

WASHINGTON, US — DOT&E’s 2022 report reports progress on the new NATO-standard 120x570mm multipurpose tank ammunition. The report of the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation informs that the tests of the new ammunition, including firing, have been completed, but some tests need to be repeated as some problems have been found, unfortunately, it is not known at this time what the cause of the failure was.

Tests of new programmable ammunition for Abrams tanks continue
Photo credit: US Army

However, it should be remembered that the report refers to tests carried out in 2022, so by now the detected defect may have already been identified and fixed. However, this may lead to delays associated with the start of serial production of the new ammunition.

Interestingly, it was also reported that the new ammunition was tested against explosive jet armor. This is interesting because the M1147 AMP is a high-explosive cartridge with a programmable fuze.

The M1147 has a fuse that is programmed via a data link located in the lock and metal base of the shell containing the fuze. The projectile is programmed after the projectile is loaded into the gun by the shooter using the fire control system.

The fuse can be programmed in three modes, standard in which detonation occurs immediately after hitting the target. It is delayed where the projectile first penetrates the outer shield and explodes inside, for example, a light armored vehicle or a bunker. Interestingly, this projectile can penetrate the side turret of the T-55 tank, which is about 150 mm thick, and detonate inside it.

The last mode is to detonate in front of or above the target and hit it with shrapnel. With this mode, you can hit infantry hiding in trenches, helicopters, and low-flying aircraft, as well as other vehicles, destroying for example their electro-optics.

DOT&E recommends that by the end of the first quarter of 2023, a detailed description of the new munitions in a classified initial test and operational evaluation report and a report on test firings and their evaluation using live ammunition, likely to influence a final decision on serial production.


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