Armor: December 7, 2000


The US Army Armor Center is determined to field a canister round for the 120mm smoothbore cannon on the M1A1 tank. Such a round is needed to engage large numbers of infantry at distances too great for the tank's machineguns. Previous US tanks had canister rounds, which were used extensively in Vietnam, but no such round was provided for the M1A1. The Army considered the Israeli anti-personnel tank round, but found it too hard to load and too tricky to fuze. The Germans are working on a multi-purpose high-explosive round, but this will not be ready before 2005 and the US Army doesn't want to wait that long. The Army is now pressuring Congress to provide funding to develop, test, and produce a round mounting a thousand or more balls, fragments, and flechettes in a plastic container.--Stephen V Cole


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