|Product type:||Weapons & Weapon Systems|
Under contract to the BWB, Rheinmetall has built six prototypes of a 140 mm smoothbore gun and its associated APFSDS-T ammunition for trials purposes. This development contributes to the international Future Tank Main Armament (FTMA) programme, as defined in the quadrilateral MoU between France, Germany, UK and the USA.
The new 140 mm smoothbore gun is called the NPzK-140 and is fitted with a vertical sliding breech mechanism, thermal sleeve and a fume extractor.
If the threat changed in the future, the German Army would have the option for a firepower improvement programme for the Leopard 2.
The installation of a 140 mm gun would probably require the installation of a new turret fitted with an automatic loader to handle the separate loading 140 mm ammunition.
Early in 1997, Giat Industries of France, Rheinmetall W & M of Germany and Royal Ordnance, UK, formed a joint venture company called RGR Armament GmbH based in Ratingen, Germany.
RGR Armament GmbH is responsible for the development, marketing and eventual production of the 140 mm smoothbore gun and its associated ammunition (kinetic energy projectile and charge system) for the Future Tank Main Armament (FTMA).
At present there is no production application for the 140 mm FTMA and it is expected that Germany will replace the current 120 mm smoothbore gun with a new longer barrel 120 mm smoothbore gun which will be capable of firing ammunition with a higher muzzle velocity and therefore greater armour penetration characteristics.
RGR Armament GmbH is an industrial teaming arrangement for the 140 mm FTMA in Europe as for some years France, Germany, UK and the USA have been working on the 140 mm FTMA through the Quadripartite Future Tank Main Armament Agreement.
France, Germany, and the USA at a government level are funding a 24 month risk reduction programme but the UK is now an observer. The three companies forming RGR Armament GmbH are investing some private venture money in the programme as well, for example Royal Ordnance is working on some aspects of the charge system.
The 140 mm smoothbore gun and its separate loading ammunition could be fitted to a future European MBT although today the German Army is the only one in Europe with a stated requirement for a new MBT.
Although the 140 mm FTMA is the programme that RGR Armament GmbH has been formed to develop and market, the new company forms the basis for extended co-operation in furture technologies for tank guns and ammunition. This could include more advanced weapons such as an electrothermal main armament.
Testbed. Not yet in production or service.