|DENEL LAND SYSTEMS, DLS
|Weapons & Weapon Systems
The 120 mm smoothbore tank gun GT 9 has been developed by LIW for installation in MBTs in the 40 to 80 tonne class. The weapon was developed as a technology project to establish this capability in South Africa with development of 120 mm ammunition being carried out in parallel.
The GT 9 has a concentric hydraulic recoil system with separate eccentric hydropneumatic recuperators which are housed in the breech ring. The breech is of the semi-automatic type with a vertical sliding breech block.
The breech block is opened by means of a cam during run-up and the cartridge stub is ejected by means of two extractors. The cam can be set to manual mode which then prevents cartridge ejection during run-up. This facilitates the sealing of the system during BC warfare. A guardrail, incorporating a cartridge deflector, is mounted around the rear of the gun.
The barrel has a bayonet type thread to facilitate fast assembly and is autofrettaged in the high pressure regions to allow for the use of high pressure ammunition.
The 120 mm/52 calibre barrel is also fitted with a bore evacuator and a thermal shield with the latter having an efficiency in excess of 80 per cent. Provision has been made for the possible installation of a muzzle reference system and it is also possible to fit a muzzle brake.
The gun has been designed for use with ammunition using a semi-combustible cartridge case with a metal sealing stub.
By 1999, a total of three prototypes had been built and tested and the gun was currently undergoing a qualification process.
So far there is no known production application for the 120 mm tank gun GT 9. The Centurion (Olifant) MBT's used by South Africa were, due to have been replaced by a new 120 mm armed MBT. Late in 1999 this programme was abandoned. In the future the Olifant could be upgraded with a 120 mm smoothbore gun in a new LIW designed turret.
LIW is now developing a compact lightweight 120 mm smoothbore gun for vehicles in the 20 tonne range.
Prototype. Not yet in production or service.