Armor: October 2, 2000


Royal Ordnance has developed a new 120mm discarding sabot tungsten kinetic penetrator round for Challenger-2 tanks. This new round, soon to be designated L28, uses the tungsten penetrator developed for the L27 (a tungsten version of the depleted uranium L27A1 round) and the L16 charge. (It is the L28 round, not the current L23, which was offered to Greece.) The need for new ammunition has been driven by recent firing tests (such as the one in Greece) in which the L23 round showed seriously substandard accuracy. The L23 uses the L14A2 propellant charge, and this is thought to be the cause of the problem. Tests have shown that the L14A2 charge leaves soot and other debris in the cannon barrel, affecting the accuracy of subsequent shots. Even after the humiliating failure of L23 rounds with L14A2 charges in Greece, the British said they would keep the L23 stockpile for use in areas that do not allow the depleted uranium L27A1 round to be used. If the British Army can find the money, it wants to dump the L23 stockpile and replace them with new rounds.--Stephen V Cole 


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