Bri­tish army gets first tank with side load­ing

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - — Sup­plied.

THE Bri­tish Army has taken de­liv­ery of the first 515 new 40 mm can­nons that will be fit­ted to the Ajax and War­rior ve­hi­cles and which in­cor­po­rate unique tech­nolo­gies that will pro­vide su­pe­rior fire­power.

De­vel­oped by spe­cial­ist en­gi­neers from BAE Sys­tems and Nex­ter Sys­tems, the can­non sys­tem uses an in­no­va­tive de­sign for both the can­non and its am­mu­ni­tion, and is the first com­pletely new can­non sys­tem or­dered by the MOD since the six­ties.

This load­ing sys­tem on the new 40 mm Cased Tele­scoped Can­non Sys­tem, which was handed over to the Bri­tish Min­istry of De­fence ( MoD) in Bourges, France, by CTA In­ter­na­tional ( CTAI), is claimed to pro­vide more fire­power while sav­ing space. The can­non uses a new ro­tat­ing breech sys­tem, with am­mu­ni­tion loaded from the side, but at a 90- de­gree an­gle to the bar­rel be­fore be­ing ro­tated into the fir­ing po­si­tion.

Slot­ting the am­mu­ni­tion in side­ways saves a large amount of space in the ve­hi­cle, al­low­ing this to be used to store more am­mu­ni­tion or other equip­ment. The can­non has been de­vel­oped and is man­u­fac­tured by CTAI, whose fac­tory is now in full pro­duc­tion of the new can­non for the MOD.

More ex­plo­sion per round

The new can­non fires 40 mm Cased Tele­scoped am­mu­ni­tion, man­u­fac­tured for the Bri­tish Army by BAE Sys­tems’ mu­ni­tions fac­to­ries in Wash­ing­ton, Tyne and Wear and Glas­coed in Wales.

The key to the new 40 mm gun is its Cased Tele­scoped am­muni- tion. In­stead of us­ing tra­di­tional bul­let- shaped rounds with the pro­jec­tile up­front and a can­nis­ter of pro­pel­lant be­hind, Cased Tele­scoped am­mu­ni­tion con­sists of a straight tube with the pro­jec­tile inside the tube com­pletely sur­rounded by pro­pel­lant and a plug in front that pro­vides a gas- tight seal to drag the shell along. BAE says that this gives the shell four times the power of the pre­vi­ous 30 mm round.

The new am­mu­ni­tion can de­liver a more ex­plo­sive charge — up to four times the power of the 30 mm rounds it re­places.

The cur­rent types of am­mu­ni­tion de­vel­oped for the can­non in­clude ar­mour pierc­ing and train­ing rounds, while a new air­burst round for en­gag­ing light ve­hi­cles and in­fantry spread over a large area, and a point det­o­nat­ing round which can pen­e­trate thick con­crete, are cur­rently un­der­go­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tion. CTAI is also work­ing on an anti- aerial air­burst round for air­borne targets.

BAE Sys­tems, which is a 50/ 50 part­ner in CTAI along with Nex­ter Sys­tems, said the de­liv­ery is the first of 515 40mm can­nons for the Bri­tish Army’s War­rior and Ajax ar­moured fight­ing ve­hi­cles.

The new sys­tem has been in devel­op­ment since the nineties and has un­der­gone ex­ten­sive test­ing.

Min­is­ter of State for De­fence Pro­cure­ment Philip Dunne said: “This next- gen­er­a­tion can­non has been de­vel­oped through close An­glo- French col­lab­o­ra­tion and adds sig­nif­i­cantly to the ca­pa­bil­ity of the UK and our Nato al­lies. The de­liv­ery of the first can­non on our Ajax ve­hi­cles is an­other ex­am­ple of how our £ 178 bil­lion in­vest­ment in UK De­fence is en­sur­ing our armed forces have the equip­ment they need.”

Manag­ing di­rec­tor of CTAI Craig Fen­nell, said: “This is a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone for CTAI and a proud mo­ment to see our can­non be­ing handed over to the Bri­tish Army.

“We are the only group in the world who can de­sign and man­u­fac­ture this type of can­non and am­mu­ni­tion, giv­ing us a unique prod­uct for ex­port.”

The han­dover of the first can­non fol­lows many years of ex­haus­tive test­ing and qual­i­fi­ca­tion, which have proved the ef­fec­tive­ness and re­li­a­bil­ity of the sys­tem.


The first new tank in the UK in over 50 years, loads its rounds at a 90- de­gree an­gle to the bar­rel to save space.

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