RDM supplying SANDF with new 40 mm medium velocity ammunition


Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) is supplying the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) with new 40 mm medium velocity ammunition as part of Project Kamogelo, the acquisition of new Y4 40 mm grenade launchers from Milkor.

RDM said it officially completed the project in October 2020 on behalf of the South African Department of Defence, Armscor and the South African Army. The handover-ceremony was attended by representatives of Armscor, Department of Defence – Defence Materiel Division, South African Army, Rheinmetall Denel Munition and Milkor, including South African Army Chief, Lieutenant General Lawrence Khulekani Mbatha, and Kamogelo Project Officer Lieutenant Colonel Gladwin Louw.

“What makes Project Kamogelo so special is not only the introduction of a new 40 mm medium-velocity (MV) weapon system: it also marks the first successful Expedited Armament Acquisition Process (EAAP) project in response to an urgent operational requirement of the South African Army,” RDM said.

“The Defence Review of 2015 demands of us that we maintain a very professional defence force that is capable of executing its constitutional mandate, which is to protect the integrity of our country, safeguard its sovereignty, to ensure that we are guarantor to the safety of our people”, said Mbatha.

The South African Army initiated the project in 2016 with the aim of fielding a new grenade launcher and family of 40 mm ammunition. As the procurement agency, Armscor approved the procurement plan in February 2018, subsequently overseeing testing and evaluation of the Milkor Y4 multi-shot weapon. This involved firing Rheinmetall Denel Munition’s less-lethal, low-velocity and medium-velocity ammunition. Particular emphasis was placed on speed and accuracy.

The South African Army procured more than 20 000 rounds of medium-velocity ammunition, including high explosive ammunition, high explosive dual-purpose ammunition, practice ammunition, practice tracer ammunition, red phosphorous smoke rounds and orange target marker ammunition.

Rheinmetall Denel Munition’s medium-velocity ammunition has a maximum range of 800 metres, exceeding conventional extended range low-velocity (LV) variants by up to 375 metres while delivering what it says is unparalleled accuracy. The company’s ammunition suite currently encompasses nine different MV variants, six of which formed part of this procurement package.

“We’re proud to be able to offer our new medium-velocity 40mm family to our home market, the SANDF. With this solution we offer the soldier a unique product solution: a quick-firing multiple grenade launcher with a standoff range in excess of 800 metres”, said Jan-Patrick Helmsen, CEO of Rheinmetall Denel Munition.

Rheinmetall Denel Munition’s Medium Velocity range comprises of the following rounds:
• The MV Practice round is used as a low cost training round with the same ballistic properties as the war shot round.
• The MV Practice Tracer round is used as a training round with the same ballistic properties as the war shot round and enabling the soldier to visually track his trajectory.
• The Target Marker Orange Smoke round is used for signal, communication and target marking purposes. It can also be used to indicate wind direction and speed for parachutists and helicopters.
• Red, Green and White Coloured Smoke Rounds are also available for signal and communication purposes.
• The Smoke Bursting Red Phosphorous Round is a versatile round producing an effective instantaneous infra-red smoke screen which masks the movement of own forces from direct observation and fire. Additionally, the infra-red characteristic of the smoke can be used as target marker in low light conditions.
• The HE Round produces a high level of fragmentation and is effectively used against personnel and light armoured vehicles.
• The HEDP Round is a dual purpose round producing a high level of fragmentation and shrapnel for anti-personnel purposes and combined with a shaped charge enabling a penetration capability in excess of 50mm RHA steel as well as fortified bunkers.

The Self Destruct Fuse function for the Smoke Bursting Red Phosphorous, HE and HEDP rounds is currently nearing development completion. This function will eliminate the danger of unexploded ordnance on the battlefield ensuring safety of own forces, RDM said. An Airburst function is also currently under development enhancing the rounds fragmentation capability.

Rheinmetall Denel Munition’s Low Velocity suite comprises the same variants as the Medium Velocity range. The current Rheinmetall Denel Munition HV suite comprises Practice, Practice Tracer, Target Practice with Flash Bang function, HE and HE Self Destruct, HEDP and HEDP Self Destruct rounds.

The Rheinmetall Group also offers 40×53 mm high velocity (HV) ammunition, which reaches a velocity of 240 m/s and has a maximum effective range of 2 200 metres. The Group supplies a wide assortment of different cartridges, including newly developed HE and HEDP airburst ammunition programmed by an infrared programming unit. The airburst function also makes this type of ammunition suitable for engaging small unmanned aerial systems. Among other things, it is used in the Bundeswehr’s Qualified Air Defence project.