Varied ammunition gives the Lynx KF41 a battlefield edge

 10. 01. 2021      category: Military vehicles

Armed forces around the world are looking for future-proof heavy armour technology capable of responding to the needs of any fighting environment. With its wide range of highly effective ammunition types, Rheinmetall’s innovative Lynx KF41 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) can be relied upon to perform anytime, anywhere. The Lynx is a leading contender in the Czech Republic’s modernisation programme involving the acquisition of 210 new IFVs for the Czech Army.

Rheinmetall_Lynx_4MJ_4434Picture: LYNX KF41 firing | Rheinmetall

Ammunition Switching and Firing – The medium calibre weapon MK30-2/ABM

Within the last few years, a new medium calibre weapon has captured the market. After its introduction with the PUMA IFV to the German Army in 2012, Australia also decided for this path-breaking weapon in 2018 with the Boxer CRV, equipped with LANCE-turret. In 2020, Hungary also joined the circle of MK30-2/ABM users with the decision to procure the LYNX KF41 vehicle. With more than 750 units of MK30-2/ABM weapons sold and over 1.500 units sold from the MK30 family in total, these weapons are among the best-selling medium calibre weapons on the world market. New developments for air defence application, show even further potential in deployment of this weapon.

Modern materials and manufacturing processes, combined with advanced ammunition technology from Rheinmetall, result in an extremely reliable weapon system with unexcelled accuracy on target - with every shot. The ABM functionality expands the range of applications considerably once again.

Rheinmetalls MK30-2/ABM is a flexible weapon with unrivalled capabilities. With a controlled rate of fire of 200 rounds per minute and a generic maximum rate of fire of approx. 600 rounds per minute the MK30-2/ABM weapon system combines a high firing rate with the most modern ammunition technology, making it a dominating battlefield force. Up to 3.000m the MK30-2/ABM, with its controlled rate of fire obtains the highest hit probability available on the world market.

The Rheinmetall ABM technology itself is highly flexible, modular and in service in several armies, like Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Estonia, Switzerland, and Australia.

The cannon has an open bolt design. This means the ammunition is fed into the chamber just before firing, making it impossible for ammunition to “cook-off” – explode prematurely due to high heat – during the vast majority of operations. Crew survivability is meanwhile enhanced through the compartmentalisation of ammunition: the ammunition magazine is located in a separate compartment away from crew members, with no reduction in ease of use.

Rheinmetall Medium Caliber Ammunition
Picture: Rheinmetall's Medium Caliber Ammunition | Rheinmetall

With the MK30-2/ABM’s double-belt ammunition feed, it is possible for operators to quickly switch between two different ammunition types during operations, enabling operators in each and every situation to fire the right ammunition type with the next shot. This unique capability is possible due to the design of the MK30-2/ABM and its double-belt ammunition feed. As no cartridge from previous firing order is chambered anymore, the undesirable use of wrong types is not possible.

“Our experience with previous weapons systems has guided our refinement of the MK30-2/ABM as a weapons system to fight and win across the spectrum of combat threats,” says Oliver Mittelsdorf, Senior Vice President Sales at Rheinmetall Defence. “Our simultaneous development of 30mm calibre ammunitions has further enhanced the main weapon’s lethality. With its range of possible ammunition types, the Lynx can counter and defeat all enemy forces, be they ground infantry or opposition combat vehicles.”

30mm x 173: A Lethal Ammunition Family

All threats are covered by two major ammunition types, which are Kinetic Energy Time Fuze (KETF) against soft- and semi-hard targets and Armoured Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot with Tracer (APFSDS-T) against hard targets. Rheinmetall is the world’s premier manufacturer of a wide range of 30mm calibre ammunitions, among all other relevant medium calibres such as 20mm (e.g. Frangible Armour Piercing (FAP) in F-16 aircraft), 25mm (e.g. FAP in F-35 aircraft), 27mm (e.g. FAP for JAS Gripen Aircraft), 35mm (e.g. AHEAD® for the Skyshield Air Defence Weapon System), as well as the most innovative Airburst Munition (ABM) technology, represented in its 30mm x 173 KETF. Rheinmetall has proven capabilities in developing new munitions types, including the innovative transfer of Advanced Hit Efficiency and Destruction (AHEAD®) technology from air defence systems to infantry combat vehicles such as the Puma and LYNX. The Rheinmetall 30mm ammunition family is qualified for use in all NATO standard 30mm cannons.

KETF und APFSDS_30mm
Picture: APFSDS-T and KETF | Rheinmetall

Armour piercing Fin Stabilised Discarding Sabot with Tracer (APFSDS-T)

The LYNX’s Armour piercing Fin Stabilised Discarding Sabot with Tracer is intended for use on heavily armoured opponents. Pure armour piercing ammunition, it boasts outstanding penetrating power, even at very shallow impact angles. With decades of experience in developing tungsten penetrators in several calibres, Rheinmetall was able to optimize the penetrator to defeat the most modern plate array targets.

Airburst Ammunition (KETF)

Rheinmetall is the market leader in Airburst Munition (ABM) Technology.

The Lynx uses the world’s only qualified ABM type. The technology for this ammunition is based on the AHEAD® technology used in air defence. 

The programming unit at the weapon muzzle is able to program each projectile individually. Each “Kinetic Energy Time Fuze (KETF)” round is programmed while leaving the barrel, taking the exact measured velocity of each round into consideration to calculate the time of flight, which is based on the measured distance to the target. This principle enables the operator to ensure an exact expulsion of the payload in front of the target, causing most efficient fragmentation damage to the opponent. The powerful payload of the KETF-Projectiles, consisting of 200g of tungsten cylinders, gives the LYNX KF41 a distinct advantage in the engagement of soft and semi-hard targets. This makes Rheinmetall’s ABM system the most sophisticated and devastating on the market.

Firing 30mm KETF
Picture: Firing 30mm KETF | Rheinmetall

Rheinmetalls KETF ammunition can also be used in un-programmed mode, allowing the cartridge to function as a frangible armour-piercing ammunition type for destroying armoured targets or targets in urban settings.

The design of the payload can be adapted to the target scenario for the perfect balance between cylinder weight and number of cylinders: the greater the mass of the individual cylinder, the higher the level of penetration. The higher the number of cylinders the higher the hit probability.  

“By combining armour-piercing and ABM ammunition types, the Lynx can match and overcome any battlefield threat,” says Oliver Mittelsdorf, Senior Vice President Sales at Rheinmetall Defence. “Our adaptation of AHEAD® technology for use in ground-level combat environments is part of our mission to meet and exceed the requirements of today while anticipating the demands of soldiers, military leaders and defence experts in the decades to come.”

Unique effect on the target by 30mm KETF
Picture: Unique effect on the target by 30mm KETF | Rheinmetall

High Explosive Ammunition (HEI-T)

For fighting and suppressing dismounted ground troops, meanwhile, the High Explosive Incendiary with Tracer ammunition offers powerful blast performance as a fragmentation-forming ammunition type. With the newly developed round Rheinmetall can also offer a STANAG4187 conform nose fuze with self-destruct function.

Semi Armour Piercing Ammunition (SAPPIE-T®)

Semi Armour Piercing with Pyrotechnical Incendiary Effect (SAPPIE®) ammunition combines the   armour-piercing effect with additional fragmentation, while not using a fuze and High Explosive to perform. This special technology leads to a low DG-Class of 1.2C comparable to Training ammunition, reducing the requirements in logistics such as storage while enabling even more simple transport by own troops.

Training Ammunition (TP-T, TPFDS-T)

Meanwhile, full-calibre and sub-calibre practice ammunition represent a cost-effective option for preparing operators for the battlefield while encouraging a “train as you fight” ethos.

 Author: Martin Šiška