New SHARD 120mm APFSDS Tank Ammunition Qualification

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Nexter, company of KNDS has achieved qualification of its new generation 120mm armour-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS) ammunition SHARD.

“SHARD is the solution for all NATO 120mm tanks to defeat modern main battle tanks (MBT) and future threats thanks to an increased firepower (+15% penetration),” the company said. 

This unprecedented performance is the result of an innovative design that offers excellent accuracy and reduces barrel wear by 25% at the same time. The qualification was achieved late 2023.

SHARD was designed by KNDS to bring 120mm APFSDS tungsten alloy ammunition to the next level of performance against all modern MBT and armoured threats in the present and future battlefields. Its capacities are unprecedented for this kind of ammunition:

  • • Penetration is increased by 15% while ensuring a low level of dispersion. 
  • • Barrel wear is reduced by 25%, thus reducing maintenance cycles and costs.
  • • A muzzle velocity of 1720 m/s with the Leclerc L52 gun and 1734 m/s with the Leopard 2 L55 gun.

An Ammunition Already Available for all NATO Tanks 

“Our historical know-how in the design of state-of-the-art tank ammunition was gathered to make SHARD with a numerically optimized design and a lighter aluminum sabot, an elongated penetrator in a new high-performance tungsten alloythathas been designed with Plansee to defeat protection of latest generation MBTs, and, a proven and REACH compliant propulsion system that ensures the excellent velocity of the ammunition.”

SHARD is a fully ITAR-free solution compatible with all NATO smoothbore 120mm tanks including Leclerc, Leopard 2, M1 Abrams, Ariete and Centauro 2. It has been designed according to the Stanag 4583 and Interface Control Document 120 (ICD120) standards. Thus, it offers significant operational, logistic and economic advantages to users: only one APFSDS ammunition for all gun systems.

“A demonstration for Leclerc and Leopard 2 users was organized late 2023 in Alcochete, Portugal. Its 15% performance increase was demonstrated with successful firing tests performed on semi-infinite RHA targets. Demonstrations and contract negotiations for various countries in Europe, Middle-East and Asia are ongoing,” a Nexter statement said, adding that  SHARD is now ready for mass production. –adj/shp/mgm (Image: Nexter)