New Army tank round destroys bunkers, 8-inch concrete walls and much more

M1A2 Abrams Tanks of A Company, 2-116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team (CBCT), Idaho Army National Guard walk by field exercises at the Orchard Combat Training Center
(Thomas Alvarez/Idaho Army National Guard)

A few emerging U.S. Army Abrams tank around and is designed to attack and destroy enemy tanks, bunkers, concrete walls, light armored vehicles, and even small groups of enemy fighters — by enabling crews to immediately adjust its explosive effect within a few seconds.

The Army of the Advanced Multi-Purpose 120 mm ammunition round is being prepared for a far-superior M1A2 SEP v4 Abrams tank variant for 2020 and beyond — designed to be more lethal, faster, lighter, better protected, equipped with new sensors and armed with improved, more effective weapons, service officials said.

The AMP round, according to Northrop Grumman and the Army of developers, will be the place of four tank rounds now in use by the consolidation of several possible explosion effects in a single round, with variable “fuse” adjustments and an advanced Ammunition Data Link.


The first two rounds will be consolidated in the AMPLIFIER are the M830, High Explosive Anti-Tank, or HEAT, round and the M830A1 Multi-Purpose Anti -Tank, or MPAT, round. The last round was introduced in 1993 to engage and defeat enemy helicopters, in particular the Russian Hind helicopter, the Army, the developers explained. The MPAT round has a two-position fuse, ground and air, that has to be set manually.

The M1028 Canister round is the third round tank is replaced. The Canister round was first introduced in 2005 by the Army to engage and defeat dismounted Infantry, specifically to defeat close-in human-wave assaults. Canister rounds to disseminate a wide range of scattering small projectiles to increase anti-personnel lethality and, for example, to destroy groups of individual enemy combatants.

The M908, Obstacle Reduction round, is the fourth that the AMP round will replace; it was designed to assist in destroying large obstacles placed on the roads by the enemy to block the advancing mounted forces, the Army, the states report.

The new Ammunition Data Link helps vessel crew to determine which round is best suited for a certain type of attack. Northrop documents describe the Ammunition Data Link to enable “direct communication of the tank fire control to the cartridge back in the fight.” It makes use of a mechanical-electrical interface, and communication is enabled when the round is back and the tank is armed.”


U.S. Marines with 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division, fire a 120 mm smoothbore tank gun of an M1A1 Abrams tank during exercise Comanche Performed in Fort Hood, Texas, Feb. 20, 2019.

With the help of a variable-fuse, the round is able to adapt his attack effects, in order to meet specific objectives. It makes use of an Air Burst round that can be programmed to explode at a certain point in the air; this works well when there are enemy fighters and vehicles in defilade, as it can explode in the immediate vicinity of a victim, spread projectile, and the fragmentation and the start of a deadly explosion to hit targets otherwise not accessible. For example, if a group of enemy fighters gathered inside a building that can be seen through a window, the tank could fire an airburst round to explode in the middle of the area where the targets are. The burst range is set by the tank fire control, according to Northrop Grumman’s information.

Northrop data also explains a second modification, the so-called “about to Explode,” in which the AMP round is set to detonate on impact. This is especially effective against light and heavy armored vehicles, such as the first explosion can break through the outside to cause the maximum amount of damage.


The “Point of Explode” round you can break through walls in support of dismounted Infantry operations. Information of the developers says that it can penetrate up to 8-inches of what is called a Double Reinforced Concrete Wall. The fuse can also reach a “Point Delay” effect, the setting of the fuse the penetrate after penetration to a certain goal or exterior. Finally, a “Default” setting which aligns the round to fire in “Point of Explode” mode if not otherwise set by the ADL.

AMP also provides two additional capabilities: defeat of enemy dismounts, especially enemy anti-tank guided missile, or ATMG, teams at a distance.

“This ability to shave seconds from the first effective engagement can mean the difference between life and death,” a senior program manager, said in the same Army report.

In a 2016 Army statement on the AMPLIFIER, quoting a senior program manager describes the effect this way…. “Now, our crews face the dilemma as they engage in the struggle to decide what rounds to load in the tower and wear in the gun. If they choose wrong, they can be a mismatch between target and ammunition, which will cost them valuable seconds while in enemy contact.”

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