Armor: January 10, 2001


Rheinmetall is developing a new 105mm smoothbore tank cannon for use by lighter and smaller armored vehicles. (Smoothbore cannon can develop higher muzzle velocities, needed to penetrate modern tanks, but are less accurate. The spinning imparted by a rifled barrel "evens out" any imperfections in the projectile; the projectiles of smoothbore weapons must be machined to incredibly close tolerances.) The two prototype cannon are each 51 calibers long. They are fitted with different types of powerful muzzle brakes to reduce the recoil. The company used its experience with the 120mm smoothbore cannon and its ammunition used in the Leopard-2 and US M1A1 to design the new weapon. Two types of ammunition have been developed. One of these is a discarding-sabot round with a tungsten dart. The other is a high explosive round to deal with bunkers and other types of targets.--Stephen V Cole

January 9, 2001 ; France has asked for bids for 500-1,000 new 4x4 light armored vehicles. These are to be larger than the existing P4 vehicle (essentially an armored jeep) and the 4x4 VBL Scout Car. The armored version of the US Humvee would seem to fit the requirements.--Stephen V Cole


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