Northrop Grumman Ceases Depleted Uranium Munitions Production

Discontinued ammunition will be replaced by a new generation projectile.
  • bureau
  • 12:54 PM, January 23, 2024
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Northrop Grumman Ceases Depleted Uranium Munitions Production
Tank armor-piercing 120-mm ammunition M829A4

Northrop Grumman has officially announced the discontinuation of production for tank ammunition featuring depleted uranium cores.

The decision was revealed on the company's official website recently, signifying the fulfillment of the contract for the production of 120-mm tank armor-piercing ammunition M829A4, and thereby marking the end of the era of shells incorporating depleted uranium.

The M829A4, recognized as one of the most advanced 120 mm armor-piercing rounds globally, has been a staple in the armory.

Jarrod Krull, Northrop Grumman's media relations manager, commented on the move, stating, "Ending the production of depleted uranium munitions is consistent with our forward-looking approach. We are adapting to the changing landscape of warfare by focusing on advanced munitions that will improve accuracy and meet new challenges."

Northrop Grumman's representatives emphasized that the discontinued ammunition would be replaced by a new generation projectile. They highlighted the development of the promising M1147 multi-purpose projectile, which is expected to replace multiple existing models.

Despite this shift, the company clarified that they would continue manufacturing practical ammunition from the series, specifically for training purposes.

The M829A4 ammunition, designed for American Abrams tanks, has been a mainstay in the arsenal. The core of depleted uranium alloys is renowned for its high penetration capacity against tank armor, accompanied by a pyrophoric effect that can cause additional damage to the tank and its crew upon impact. These projectiles have been utilized for decades, not only in the U.S. army but also by military forces worldwide.

The core of the M829A4 projectile measures 800 mm in total length, with the front part being 10 cm of steel and the remaining 70 cm consisting of depleted uranium. The projectile boasts a diameter of 25 mm and weighs up to 10 kg. With an initial speed of 1550 m/s, it is capable of penetrating a minimum of 700 mm of tank armor at a distance of 2 km.

The latest iteration, M829A4, currently in serial production, has undergone improvements enabling it to penetrate the dynamic defense of "Kontakt-5" without activation.

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