Alliant Techsystems (ATK) has been awarded a $27 million contract from the US Army Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Centre (ARDEC), to begin low-rate initial production of the army’s next-generation 120mm armour-piercing tank ammunition round.
Two additional production options could bring the total contract value to more than $133 million over the next three to four years.
According to a statement, the contract culminates a highly successful four-year engineering and manufacturing development program for the M829E3 kinetic energy round.
The ordnance is said to use an advanced composite sabot and penetrator design and high-performance propellant to substantially increase the lethality and accuracy of the US army’s Abrams main battle tank at extended ranges.
The US army plans to procure approximately 65,000 M829E3 rounds. Additional US Marine Corps requirements of more than 15,500 rounds will bring total rounds produced to over 80,000.
The M829E3 will eventually replace the M829A1 and M829A2 rounds. Co-developed by ATK and the army in the late 1980s, the M829A1 projectile is widely regarded as the most effective tank-fired anti-armour weapon in the world.