Armor: May 25, 2000


Oerlikon-Contraves of Switzerland is developing a 30mm version of its 35mm AHEAD round. This cannon shell (which can be fired from the Bushmaster-II or the 30mm Mauser cannon) contains 135 small tungsten projectiles. A fuze set on firing bursts the shell about 6m from the target, showering it with a lethal cone of projectiles. Such a round is lethal against infantry (it is heralded as the ultimate answer to the anti-tank missile team) but can also be devastating against armored vehicles and even tanks. While the tiny projectiles cannot penetrate armor of any real thickness, they will wreck just about everything else they hit (periscopes, vision blocks, searchlights, weapon sighting optics, missile launch tubes, missile guidance systems, smoke grenade launchers, etc.). In tests, no tank hit by two or three AHEAD rounds has remained functional due to the damage to these systems. One analyst has declared the AHEAD round "non-lethal ammunition for tanks". --Stephen V Cole 


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