Revolutionary CTAI Weapon System to start qualification
Category: Defence Industry
Category: Defence Industry
BOURGES, France -- A revolutionary new weapon system for the British and French armies has been given a major boost with the signing on the 8th of February of an £11m contract with the French and UK ministries of defence.
Under the contract, CTA International, an Anglo-French joint venture between BAE Systems and Nexter Systems, will begin qualification in early 2011 of cannon and ammunition for the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme (WCSP), the Scout reconnaissance vehicle for the British Army and the future recce vehicle for the French Army.
Qualification is a rigorous process designed to prove that a weapon system is safe, effective and reliable. Both the gun and ammunition will be subjected to freezing, baking, extremes of humidity and a series of "shake, rattle and roll" trials to demonstrate that they will operate under every foreseeable circumstance. While the system has been passed for manned firing and considerable data has already been collected, these trials will formally pass the system for use by the British and French armies.
While CTAI's 40mm Cased Telescoped Cannon and Ammunition (CTCA) was mandated for WCSP and the Scout vehicle by the UK Ministry of Defence in March 2008, the turrets and Scout chassis will be selected through competition.
The UK and French ministries of defence have already agreed a Government to Government Technical Arrangement for a jointly-funded qualification programme which will require some 15,000 rounds. The final ammunition requirements will be defined once the prime contractors are announced in the next few weeks.
The next step will be the negotiation for the series production of the CT cannon. BAE Systems Global Combat Systems - Munitions (GCSM), under a licence granted by CTAI, recently submitted a proposal to UK MoD for the production of series ammunition through the existing MASS munitions supply contract for the UK MoD. A licence will also be granted to Nexter Munitions for the provision of series ammunition for the French DGA.
The 40mm CTCA system's ease of use, ability to fire accurately on the move, versatility and much-increased punch will give a major firepower boost to the British and French Armies.
The 40mm high explosive round has more than three times the explosive power of the 30mm Rarden currently fitted to Warrior and the Scimitar Vehicle which Scout will replace, while its armour-piercing projectile will penetrate more than 140mm of steel armour.
The weapon system's innovative design takes conventional cannon and ammunition technology but packages it in a novel space-saving way, by putting the projectile inside its case and packing the propellant around it - "cased telescoped".
This halves the length of the round and improves the volumetric efficiency by 30 percent for a given level of performance. The CT cannon occupy the space of a conventional 25mm weapon inside a turret while giving the performance of a 45-50mm system.
Ammunition is introduced to the gun, not by a conventional breach from the rear, but from a static ammunition feeder into a rotating breech via a hollow trunnion. This design allows the breech to be well forward of the crew, giving much better communications and "fightability" for vehicle crews.
The cylindrical ammunition is also much easier to stow and handle by automated systems. Reliability is increased by eliminating more than half a conventional cannon's most unreliable parts.