The T40 turret demonstrator installed on the AMX-10RC wheeled reconnaissance vehicle is seen here. (CTA International)
LONDON — Anglo-French gun maker CTA International says it has completed trials of its 40mm cannon and the first two of five ammunition types it is developing. The announcements come as CTAI awaits the completion of paperwork by ministry experts in both countries to formally qualify the revolutionary weapon.
Trials on the cannon and armor-piercing and target-practice rounds are complete and the findings are in “the process of review” David Coughtrie, CTAI’s business director, told reporters during a briefing last Thursday.
The certification effort comes nearly 20 years after BAE Systems and Nexter launched the effort to develop a cased telescoped gun and ammunition system.
The gun, with its unique rotating breech, takes up considerably less room than conventional medium-caliber rivals and uses an ammunition design in which the projectile is telescoped in a cartridge can and surrounded by propellant giving lethality, length and volume-reduction benefits.
The imminent qualification is beginning to spark interest in the gun system outside Britain and France, including in the US, where one unnamed company has inquired about incorporating the cannon on a C-130 gunship.
The British Army has ordered the weapon as part of an upgrade of its Warrior infantry fighting vehicle being undertaken by Lockheed Martin UK and a Scout vehicle being developed by General Dynamics. Meanwhile, its French partner has effectively mandated the gun for its EBRC armored reconnaissance and combat vehicle requirement, set to be competed for by Nexter and others in the coming months.
Coughtrie said the original hope had been to have the weapon formally qualified in time for the upcoming DSEi exhibition in London in September, but workload pressures mean the approval process will not be complete until later.
A PowerPoint presentation during the briefing showed the end of the year for completion of the formal qualification process.
The CTAI executive said an effort to qualify a general purpose point-detonation round is getting underway. That should be completed in 12 to 15 months before entering the approvals process with British and French defense ministry experts.
Trials on an air burst round, which is the same as the general purpose point-detonation round but with a different fuze, are set to follow with completion targeted for the fourth quarter of 2015.
The anti-air round will be followed by a cheap, reduced-range practice round, which saves on barrel wear.
Coughtrie said 10,000 rounds have been used in the qualification phase and overall about 70,000 rounds have been fired in total.
The qualification and demonstration phases of the program have seen the delivery of 14,000 rounds of ammunition, 16 cannon systems and 32 barrels.
The CTAI executive said the company is awaiting an order from the British for 50,000 rounds of ammunition, three cannons and 48 barrels to support the integration programs on Warrior and Scout vehicles.
Nexter, which recently showed the CTAI-equipped turret with which it plans to compete for the EBRC program, plans to undertake its first manned firing trials in the first quarter of next year as it quickly ramps up its effort to secure the deal for the French Army requirement.