RDM qualifies extended range ammunition


Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) has successfully qualified its range extending M2005 Velocity Enhanced Artillery Projectile (VLAP) for an international client.

Range table and qualification test firings were split between the Denel test facility at the Overberg Test Range (OTR) and Armscor’s Alkantpan facility in Northern Cape. The firings took place during the second half of 2016 with environmental testing done at RDM test facilities.

The maximum range achieved at OTR was 57 km and adjusted for ICAO conditions at sea level it resulted in a range of 54 km.

The qualification was concluded using a PzH2000 52 calibre gun system and again entrenched RDM’s position as world leader in the field of artillery, the company said.
“The 155 mm Assegai series has global significance in the artillery ammunition field. It has different projectile variants covering the requirements of most users in training and combat today,” Norbert Schulze, Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) chief executive, said.

Like RDM’s M1 and M9 series of 155 mm ammunition, the enhanced 155 mm Assegai also includes a base bleed on all projectile types for additional range enhancement.

Commenting on the new Assegai M2005 VLAP, he said it is fitted with a natural fragmenting high explosive (HE) warhead. Distinguishing features include a rocket motor and fixed base bleed unit. Both are designed to function outside the barrel. External ballistics are influenced by an additional impulse from the rocket motor and separate range tables are provided for the VLAP, RDM said. Schulze added the M2005 HE VLAP holds the same aero ballistic profile and characteristics of all other projectiles in the Assegai series.

Comparable to other ammunition in the Assegai series, the M2005 VLAP is compatible with 39, 45 and 52 calibre artillery guns of NATO and non-NATO origin. The latest qualification for the VLAP demonstrates optimisation of inter-operability between base bleed and the rocket motor and enhances the sea level range which can be obtained from various compatible gun systems.

Full scale production of the M2005 VLAP is underway and first delivery to client has been completed, RDM said. The next series of improvements include enhancements on the insensitive munition HE fill, further carrier projectiles and improved lethality IHE PFF projectiles, all of which will be available in the near future.

The 155 mm Assegai HE PFF shell contains 18 000 tungsten pellets that are lethal out to 50 metres. The Assegai shell features insensitive explosives that will not easily detonate when struck by bullets, for example.

Standard Assegai rounds feature a conventional boat tail assembly. To boost their range, the customer can replace this assembly with a base bleed module. With a 39 calibre barrel, an Assegai base bleed projectile attains a range of over 30 kilometres. Fired from a 52-calibre barrel, the range can exceed 40 kilometres.

Assegai rounds include red phosphorous smoke (M2004), screening smoke (M2002), high explosive (M2000), insensitive high explosive (M0121), practice (M2000 Prac), insensitive high explosive pre-formed fragmentation (M0603), illuminating infrared (M0263), illuminating (M2003) and IHE PFF for VLAP (M0256).