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File Video Above: Next-Gen Army 50mm Cannon Destroys Targets in Live-Fire Demo

By Kris Osborn - President & Editor-In-Chief, Warrior Maven

The Advanced Multi-Purpose round is a single tailorable tank munition which can be adjusted or programmed by tank gunners to achieve specific attack effects as needed by the mission. 

With the AMP, High-Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) rounds as well as Multi-Purpose Anti-Tank (MPAT) round, Canister round for increased anti-personnel fragmentation and Obstacle Reduction round are all consolidated into a single munition using new technology and an advanced ammunition data link.

Brig. Gen. Glenn Dean, Program Executive Officer, Ground Combat Vehicles, told The National Interest that the new round is performing well and getting close to entering operational service.

Dean said the round “just went through its initial operational test and came out of it, as far as I understand, with flying colors. So that capability is going into the force now.”

The Advanced Multi-Purpose Round

The M830 HEAT round and the M830A1 MPAT round are the first two to be consolidated. The M1028 Canister round, which is used to engage and defeat dismounted infantry, is the third one being replaced. The Canister round can be specifically used to destroy “human-wave assaults” as it uses a wide-range of scattering small projectiles to increase anti-personnel lethality. The fourth round to be integrated is the M908 Obstacle Reduction round which is designed to destroy large obstacles.

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Tank crews are able to choose which round effect to use through an ammunition data link, according to documents from the round’s maker Northrop Grumman. The data link enables “direct communication from the tank fire control to the cartridge chambered in the breach,” Northrop Grumman data states. It uses a mechanical-electrical interface, and “communication is enabled when the round is chambered and the tank is armed.”Northrop data also explains a second adjustment, called “Point Detonate,” wherein the AMP round is set to explode upon impact.

In a 2016 Army statement on AMP, a senior program manager, describes its impact this way…. "Right now our crews face the dilemma as they go into combat of deciding what rounds to load in the turret and carry in the gun. If they choose wrong, they could have a mismatch between target and ammunition, which will cost them valuable seconds while in enemy contact.”

The round uses airburst technology, meaning it can be pre-programmed to explode at a particular predetermined point in space, something which can be particularly effective should enemy soldiers or vehicles be hidden “in defilade” behind a rock, tree or building. 

Using a laser rangefinder the specific distance can be determined and the round is set with a variable fuse to explode after a specific number of rotations. An advanced algorithm determines the exact distance, because the speed of light is a known entity and the length of time it travels can also be measured. Using this data, a computer can then determine the exact distance of where a target is.

The “Point Detonate” round can breach walls and penetrate up to 8-inches of concrete, Northrop data explains. Also, the fuse can create a “point delay” effect, setting the fuse to explode after an initial penetration of a target’s exterior. in support of dismounted Infantry operations. Information from developers say the round can penetrate a certain amount of concrete. A “Default” setting which aligns the round to fire in “Point Detonate” mode if not otherwise set by the ADL.

Video Above: Army Maps Future Abrams Tank

Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Master’s Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven President

Kris Osborn, President, Warrior Maven - Center for Military Modernization