Nexter Arrowtech has developed the 120mm SHARD armour-piercing discarding-sabot fin-stabilized (APFSDS) in order to give main battle tanks the means to face the latest generation of armoured threats. This ammunition, presented on the Nexter stand at Eurosatory 2022, can be fired by all armoured vehicles equipped with NATO-standard 120mm smoothbore guns, of all calibres and generations.
SHARD, an acronym for “Solution for Hardenered ARmour Defeat”, is the most powerful tungsten alloy APFSDS currently available. Its penetration capabilities are almost 20% higher than those of commercially available ammunitions. It combines an unmatched level of penetration against metal armour and complex targets with a very good level of dispersion. Its innovative architecture, combining an extended penetrator, an optimised sabot and a low-erosive propellant powder, enables it to generate superior energy while significantly reducing the pressure level, thus lessening significantly the tube wear. SHARD, developed in an agile mode, has been designed to allow incremental upgrades in order to adapt to future threats, including the incorporation of new penetrator technology and higher energy powders. Thus, in a short time, the terminal ballistic performance of the ammunition can be increased by more than 20%.
The development of SHARD was finalised at the end of 2021 and its qualification will be completed by the end of 2022. Several firing campaigns have been successfully conducted since the beginning of the year, on 52-calibre weapons (on Leclerc tanks) and 44-calibre weapons (on Leopard 2 and M1 Abrams). These dynamic tests have confirmed the performance levels achieved during the development tests.
“At the time of the last Eurosatory show held in 2018, SHARD was an embryonic project: we were then aiming for both a rapid market launch and very high performance by relying on our technical mastery of high elongation penetrators. Four years later after numerous shootings, SHARD has become a reality. We are very proud to be able to offer this product to our customers around the world,” explains Dominique Guillet, Director of Nexter Arrowtech.
SHARD is both the latest addition to Nexter Arrowtech’s range of arrow ammunition, which extends from medium (25x137mm, 30x165mm, 30x173mm) to large calibre (90mm, 105mm, 120mm), and a milestone in the development of very high-performance ammunition for future land combat systems, including the MGCS. With the expertise acquired in this field, Nexter is preparing the introduction of the ASCALON weapon system and associated compact ammunition to revolutionise land armament.