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Encyclopedia > Kinetic energy penetrator
French anti-tank round with its sabot
French anti-tank round with its sabot
APFSDS at point of separation of sabot.

A kinetic energy penetrator (also known as a KE weapon) is a type of ammunition which, like a bullet, does not contain explosives and uses kinetic energy to penetrate the target. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1333x405, 193 KB) Copyright © 2005 David Monniaux File links The following pages link to this file: Kinetic energy penetrator Shell (projectile) Sabot ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1333x405, 193 KB) Copyright © 2005 David Monniaux File links The following pages link to this file: Kinetic energy penetrator Shell (projectile) Sabot ... Image File history File links Sabot_separating. ... Image File history File links Sabot_separating. ... Ammunition, often referred to as ammo, is a generic term meaning (the assembly of) a projectile and its propellant. ... This article is about firearms projectiles. ... This article is concerned solely with chemical explosives. ... The cars of a roller coaster reach their maximum kinetic energy when at the bottom of their path. ...


The term can apply to any type of armour-piercing shot but typically refers to a modern type of armour piercing weapon, the armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot (APFSDS), a type of long-rod penetrator (LRP), and not to small arms bullets. Military vehicles are commonly armoured to withstand the impact of shrapnel, bullets or shells, protecting the soldiers inside from enemy fire. ... Armour piercing shell of the APBC 1 Light weight ballistic cap 2 Steel alloy piercing shell 3 Desensitised bursting charge (TNT, Trinitrophenol, RDX...) 4 Fuze (set with delay to explode inside the target) 5 Bourrelet (front) and driving band (rear) An armour piercing shell is a type of ammunition designed... An APFSDS separating from its spindle sabot Anti-tank flechette round with its sabot A sabot refers to a device named for a shoe used in a firearm or cannon to fire a projectile or bullet that is smaller than the bore diameter. ... Small arms captured in Fallujah, Iraq by the US Marine Corps in 2004 The term small arms generally describes any number of smaller infantry weapons, such as firearms that an individual soldier can carry. ...


The opposite "technique" to KE-penetrators are chemical energy penetrators. There are two of these shells in use: high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) and high explosive squash head (HESH). They have been widely used against armour in the past and still have a role but are less effective against modern composite armour such as Chobham as used on main battle tanks today. A shell is a payload-carrying projectile, which, as opposed to a bullet, contains an explosive or other filling, though modern usage includes large solid projectiles previously termed shot (AP, APCR, APCNR, APDS, APFSDS and Proof shot). ... A HEAT round. ... High explosive squash head (HESH) is a type of explosive ammunition designed to defeat tank armour. ... Chobham armour is a composite armour developed in the 1960s at the British tank research centre on Chobham Common. ... The US M1A1 Abrams tank is a typical modern main battle tank. ...


The principle of the kinetic energy penetrator is that it uses its kinetic energy, which is a function of mass and velocity, to force its way through armour. The modern KE weapon maximises KE and minimises the area over which it is delivered by: For other uses, see Mass (disambiguation). ...

  • being fired with a very high muzzle velocity
  • concentrating the force in a small impact area while still retaining a relatively large mass
  • maximizing the mass of whatever (albeit small) volume is occupied by the projectile—that is, using the densest metals practical, which is one of the reasons depleted uranium is often used.

This has led to the current designs which resemble a long metal arrow. A guns muzzle velocity is the speed at which the projectile leaves the muzzle of the gun. ... For other uses, see Density (disambiguation). ... Depleted uranium storage yard. ... This article is about the weapon. ...

Contents

History

The first cannons fired kinetic energy ammunition. First these were round balls of worked stone, then round balls of metal. From the beginning, combining high muzzle energy with projectile density and hardness have been the foremost factors in the design of such weapons. Similarly the foremost purpose of such weapons has generally been to defeat armour or other defensive structures, whether stone castle walls, ship timbers, or modern tank armour. Chemical energy ammunition in its various forms has consistently been the choice for those weapons which due to various factors of their design could not generate the high muzzle energy needed by a kinetic energy weapon.


The development of the modern KE penetrator combines two facets of artillery design; high muzzle velocity and concentrated force. High muzzle velocity is achieved by using a projectile with a low mass and large base area in the gun barrel. Firing a small size projectile wrapped in a lightweight outer shell, called a sabot, raises the muzzle velocity. Once the shell clears the barrel, the sabot is no longer needed and falls off in pieces. This leaves the shell traveling at high velocity with a smaller cross-sectional area and reduced aerodynamic drag during the flight to the target (see external ballistics and terminal ballistics). Germany developed modern sabots under the name "Treibspiegel" ("Propulsion mirror") to give extra altitude to their anti-aircraft guns during the Second World War. Before this, primitive wooden sabots had been used for centuries in the form of a wooden plug attached to or breech loaded before cannon balls in the barrel, sitting between the propellant charge and the projectile. The name "sabot" is the French word for clog (a wooden shoe traditionally worn in some European countries). External ballistics is the part of the science of ballistics that deals with the behaviour of a non-powered projectile in flight. ... Terminal ballistics, a sub-field of ballistics, is the study of the behavior of a projectile when it hits its target. ... “Flak” redirects here. ... Mushroom cloud from the nuclear explosion over Nagasaki rising 18 km into the air. ...


Concentration of force into a smaller area was attained by replacing the single metal (usually steel) shot with a composite shot using two metals, a heavy core (based on tungsten) inside a lighter metal outer shell. These designs were known as armour Piercing Composite Rigid (APCR). On impact, the core had a much more concentrated effect than plain metal shot of the same weight and size. However, the air resistance and other effects were the same as for the shell of identical size. For other uses, see Steel (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Tungsten (disambiguation). ... A shell is a payload-carrying projectile, which, as opposed to a bullet, contains an explosive or other filling, though modern usage includes large solid projectiles previously termed shot (AP, APCR, APCNR, APDS, APFSDS and Proof shot). ...


Between 1941 and 1943, the British combined the two techniques in the Armour-piercing discarding sabot (APDS) round. The sabot replaced the outer metal shell of the APCR. While in the gun the shot had a large base area to get maximum acceleration from the propelling charge but once outside, the sabot fell away to reveal a heavy shot with a small cross-sectional area. A Phalanx Mk149 APDS discarding its sabot and petals Armor-piercing, discarding sabot (APDS) is a type of kinetic energy projectile fired from a gun to attack heavy armor. ...


Modern design

The APDS was initially the main design of KE penetrator. The logical progression was to make the shot longer and thinner to concentrate the kinetic energy in a smaller area. However a long, thin rod is aerodynamically unstable; it tends to tumble in flight and is less accurate. Traditionally, shells were given stability in flight from the rifling of the gun barrel, which imparts a spin to the round. Up to a certain limit this is effective, but once the projectile's length is more than 6 or 7 times its diameter, rifling becomes less effective. Adding fins like those of an arrow to the base gives the round stability, hence armour-Piercing Fin-Stabilised Discarding Sabot (APFSDS). The spin from rifling decreases the effective penetration of these rounds (rifling diverts some of the linear kinetic energy to rotational kinetic energy, thus decreasing the round's velocity and impact energy) and so they are generally fired from smoothbore guns; a practice that has been taken up by China, France, Germany, Soviet Union/Russia and the United States in their tanks. APFSDS can still be fired from rifled guns but the sabot is of a modified design incorporating bearings to isolate the spin of the sabot in the barrel from the round itself, so far as practicable. Rifled guns have been kept in use by some nations (the UK and India, for example) because they are able to fire other ammunition such as HESH rounds with greater accuracy. However, the rifling wears down under regular APFSDS use and requires more maintenance. For these reasons the rifled cannon on the British Challenger 2 is being replaced by a Rheinmetall 120 mm Gun smoothbore gun. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... An arrow is a pointed projectile that is shot with a bow. ... Smoothbore refers to a firearm which does not have a rifled barrel. ... This article or section is missing references or citation of sources. ... The Challenger 2 is the most recent main battle tank in service with the United Kingdom and Oman. ... The British FV4034 Challenger 2 is an advanced new generation main battle tank (MBT) currently in service with the armies of the United Kingdom and Oman. ... An M1 Abrams tank firing the Rheinmetall L44 fitted with a hoffman device. ...


KE penetrators for modern tanks are commonly just 2-3 cm in diameter, and 50-60 cm long; as more modern penetrators are developed, their length tends to increase and the diameter to decrease. However the development of heavy forms of reactive armour designed to shear long rod penetrators has prompted the reversal of this trend in the newest US rounds. To maximise the amount of kinetic energy released on the target, the penetrator must be made of a dense material, such as tungsten or depleted uranium (DU) alloy (Staballoy). The hardness of the penetrator is of less importance, but is still a factor as abrasion is a major component of the penetrator defeat mechanism. As DU is itself not particularly hard, it is alloyed with nickel and/or zinc. A useful feature of DU is that it is pyrophoric; the heated fragments of the penetrator ignite after impact on contact with air, setting fire to fuel and/or ammunition in the target vehicle, thereby compensating for the lack of an explosive warhead in the penetrator. Additionally, DU penetrators exhibit significant adiabatic shear band formation. During impact, fractures along these bands cause the tip of the penetrator to continuously shed material. This erosion maintains the tip's conical shape and increases the amount of pyrophoric fragments released behind the target armour. Other materials such as unjacketed tungsten tend to deform into a less effective rounded profile, an effect called "mushrooming". For other uses, see Density (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Tungsten (disambiguation). ... Depleted uranium storage yard. ... Staballoys are metal alloys of a high proportion of depleted uranium with other metals, usually titanium or molybdenum, designed for use in kinetic energy penetrator armor-piercing munitions. ... For other uses, see Nickel (disambiguation). ... General Name, symbol, number zinc, Zn, 30 Chemical series transition metals Group, period, block 12, 4, d Appearance bluish pale gray Standard atomic weight 65. ... A pyrophoric substance is a substance that ignites spontaneously, that is, its autoignition temperature is below room temperature. ... Adiabatic shear band is a term used in physics, mechanics and engineering when discussing objects stressed beyond their capacity. ...


Few countries use DU ammunition despite its lower cost compared to tungsten, because of adverse environmental and health effects, and because it is difficult for nations without an active uranium enrichment program to acquire the necessary quantities of DU. Battle sites where DU rounds have been used typically have residual uranium dust in and around battle-damaged vehicles. This dust is only slightly radioactive, but it is toxic, and many are concerned by its lingering effects on public health.


Typical velocities of APFSDS rounds vary between manufacturers and muzzle length/types. As a typical example, the American General Dynamics KEW-A1 has a muzzle velocity of 1,740 m/s.[1] APFSDS rounds generally operate in the range of 1,400 to 1,850 m/s. The sabots also travel at such a high velocity that upon separation, they may continue for many hundreds of metres at speeds that can be lethal to troops and damage light vehicles. This article is about velocity in physics. ... General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE: GD) is a defense conglomerate formed by mergers and divestitures, and as of 2006 it is the sixth largest defense contractor in the world[2]. The company has changed markedly in the post-Cold War era of defense consolidation. ... A guns muzzle velocity is the speed at which the projectile leaves the muzzle of the gun. ...


The counterpart of APFSDS in rifle ammunition is the saboted flechette. A rifle firing flechettes, the Special Purpose Individual Weapon, was under development for the US Army, but the project was abandoned. The word flechette is French and means dart (literally, little arrow). It is a projectile having the form of a small metal dart, usually steel, with a sharp-pointed tip and a tail with several vanes to stabilize it during flight. ... Early Springfield Armory SPIW prototype (Circa 1964) Final Springfield Armory SPIW prototype (Circa 1966) The Special Purpose Individual Weapon (SPIW) was a long-running US Army program to develop, in part, a workable flechette-based rifle, though other concepts were also involved. ...


See also

The physicist Sir Isaac Newton first developed this idea to get rough approximations for the impact depth for projectiles travelling at high velocities. ...

References

DARM-2 [1]

  1. ^ 120mm Tank Gun KE Ammunition. Defense Update (2006-11-22). Retrieved on 2007-09-03.
  • Cai W. D., Li Y., Dowding R. J., Mohamed F. A., Lavernia E. J. (1995). "A review of tungsten-based alloys as kinetic energy penetrator materials". Rev. Particulate Mater. 3: 71 - 131. 

  Results from FactBites:
 
Plug nozzle kinetic energy penetrator rocket - Patent 4573412 (968 words)
A kinetic energy penetrator having a penetrator rod which is placed inside rocket propelled motor casing to become the major load carrying member of the airframe structure.
Historically kinetic energy penetrators have been fired from tank guns where the launch accelerations are in the magnitude of 50,000 g's.
A penetrator diameter of approximately one inch is required to withstand these high launch accelerations; however, the diameter does not contribute to armor penetration as penetration is primarily dependent upon penetrator length.
Kinetic energy penetrator - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1103 words)
A kinetic energy penetrator (also known as a KE weapon) is a type of ammunition which, like a bullet, does not contain explosives, and uses kinetic energy to penetrate the target.
The principle of the kinetic energy penetrator is that it uses its kinetic energy, which is a function of mass and velocity, to force its way through armour.
To maximize the amount of kinetic energy released on the target, the penetrator must be made of a dense material, such as tungsten or depleted uranium (DU) alloy.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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