Armor: M-1s Finally Get Their Shotgun Shell

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December 11, 2005: The M-1 tank has finally, oficially, gotten its M1028 "shotgun shell" for its 120mm gun. This is for use against hostile infantry. The XM1028 shell [VIDEO] holds 1100 10mm tungsten balls that are propelled out of the gun barrel and begin to disperse. The tungsten projectiles are lethal at up to 700 meters. The official requirement of the XM1028 is to kill or disable more than  50 percent of a 10 man squad with 1 shot and do the same to a 30 man platoon with 2 shots. 

 

Production of the shell began in 2002, with plans for up to 30,000 shells (costing over $3,000 each) being produced. After initial production of some 2,000 shells, another 3,000 were to be built in 2004 and 5,000 in the year after that. But numerous delays over effectiveness, safety and reliability issues, delayed official introduction until now. Only small numbers of M1028 shells were shipped to Iraq since the round first became available in 2003. In the meantime, army and marine tank crews were getting more and more vocal in their displeasure at the leisurely pace of M1028 development. In terms of technology, there?s nothing particularly special about it. Similar shells have been in service for decades. In Iraq, M-1 tank crews want a ?shotgun? type shell to deal with groups of hostile Iraqis, especially at night when the Iraqis still don't realize that the thermal sight on the M-1 makes people clearly visible at night to the gunner, especially if they are carrying AK-47s or RPG launchers. The Iraqis still tend to bunch up, which allows one XM1028 round to wipe out entire teams of hostile fighters. The M-1 using the XM1028 shell is the world's largest shotgun, and makes tanks much more effective in urban combat. The 10mm projectiles are also effective against vehicles and lightly built structures. Israel has been using a similar round for years, making American tank crews even more impatient about when they would get an American made version.