Armscor, the Department of Defence’s arms acquisition agency, has issued a Request for Quotation (RFQ) to two international companies for the supply of a new type of ammunition to equip the seventeen single-seat Gripen C fighters the South African Air Force has on order.
The Unofficial Website on the SAAF reports the RFQ for 27x145mm PELE ammunition was issued to Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH of Switzerland and Diehl BGT Defence GmbH & Co. KG of Germany on 18 November. Quotations are to be submitted by 5 January.
PELE (Penetrator with Enhanced Lateral Effect) is a new type of non-explosive ammunition technology.
The ammunition consists of a high-density casing containing a core made of low-density, low-compressibility material. Upon impact with the target, the low-density material inside the shell is compressed to such an extent that the casing bursts, generating numerous fragments that are propelled in the direction of fire.
Thus, the combination of two materials of different density enables the projectile to be fragmented in the target even without using an explosive or a fuze.
In this way, the round’s lethal impact is restricted to a defined space or limited area, reducing the likelihood of collateral damage.
According to the Diehl BGT Defence website, the penetration, response and fragmentation performance achieved is higher than that of conventional ammunition. PELE ammunition is also more cost-effective and safer when compared to conventional ammunition.
The ammunition is already qualified in the 27mm x 145mm calibre as used by the Mauser BK27 cannon fitted to the Gripen C. (The two-seat Gripen D lacks an internal cannon).