Based on its experience with the armament of battle tanks, which are contained in the ammunition of the Leclerc armored vehicle, the company Nexter, which is part of the KNDS group, has presented a new concept of the main armament for the new families of heavy vehicles. Designed to address future heavily armored threats. This revolutionary weapon pretends to be a contribution of French industry to a cooperative development. a new joint solution for France and Germany.
Looking ahead to the next few decades, which are already on the horizon of 2040-2050, the Allied nations may return to high-intensity confrontations. This means that the armies on the land field must equip themselves with modern means of tactical superiority, with manned or unmanned means; Integration of numerous systems, whereby the highest level of protection for the crew and the ability to neutralize the enemy are achieved.
Faced with numerous tough threats, combat must be fired faster, farther and with greater destructive capacity on the first shot from the start, while reducing ergonomic and logistical constraints. The large-caliber weapons of the next generation are intended to ensure the tactical superiority of the armed forces not only tomorrow (2035), but also for the coming decades. To achieve this ambitious goal, Nexter is developing a concept.
Building on its many years of experience with the 120 mm can of the Leclerc tank, its mastery of telescopic ammunition and the maturity achieved in shooting campaigns with a caliber of 140 mm, Nexter proposes the ASCALON concept (Autoloaded and SCALable Outperforming) . GuN) to assert itself against the latest generation of heavy armaments and at the same time to be one step ahead of the threats of the next half century. Based on technical solutions that will be fully developed by 2025, ASCALON offers an open architecture that is intended to serve as the basis for cooperative development within the framework of the Franco-German MGCS program. This concept lays the foundation for the future European standard for weapons and ammunition for main battle tanks and builds on previous experiences such as the 140 mm weapons program.
ASCALON is characterized by a multitude of end effects. With the larger caliber, thanks to the longer pieces, optimal effects are achieved. This also enables intelligent ammunition to be fired and out of sight (NLOS / BLOS). Provision of new functions while reducing the vulnerability to armament. More compact ammunition with a maximum length of 130 cm; These ASCALON telescopic ammunition can easily be stored in the automatic feed and storage tower, a technology that is already used in the Leclerc tank today. The optimized chamber with higher firepower offers high performance with energy levels close to 10 megajoules for kinetic ammunition that remain under the internal pressure of the current calibers. This potential allows the weapon to grow to yields of 13 megajoules that can handle any threat for the next 50 years. A controlled explosion effect with an innovative muzzle brake, narrow external pressure fields and an optimized ignition pulse would severely limit the explosion effect of the shot. ASCALON thus enables the presence of its own infantrymen near the tank as part of the concept of joint combat, especially in urban areas. Thanks to a controlled impulse, ASCALON has an exceptional integration capacity that has a recoil and acceleration compatible with mobile and projectable platforms of less than 50 tons, maintaining the traceability of the vehicle.
Building on Nexter’s many years of experience in the field of tank cannons and telescopic ammunition, which offers an architecture that is conducive to balanced industrial cooperation. The ASCALON concept has all the advantages to become the standard cannon for future heavy battle tanks: The ammunition intended for it is a technological and tactical superiority for the next decades. It is also a revolutionary weapon designed to implement revolutionary ground combat systems. (Antonio Ros Pau)
Photography (Nexter): Infographic of the ASCALON concept by French Nexter.
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