|Weapons & Weapon Systems
This is a joint development between two Belgian companies, Cockerill Mechanical Industries for the weapon and firing platform and MECAR for the ammunition.
The main aim of this joint development programme is, according to the manufacturers, to provide light armoured wheeled vehicles in the 10 tonne weight class with a firepower equivalent to that of 105 mm tank guns normally fitted to MBTs or wheeled vehicles weighing above 20 tonnes.
The first prototype weapon was completed in 1992/ 1993 and installed in the new private venture Cockerill 90 mm LCTS turret system, which is covered in the AFV turrets and cupolas section. First production 90 mm LCTS turrets were completed in 1997.
For trials purposes this turret was installed on one of the prototypes of the Austrian Steyr-Daimler-Puch Pandur (6 x 6) light armoured vehicles and was successfully demonstrated in the Middle East in 1993.
Main characteristics of the Cockerill 90 mm Mk8 gun can be summarised as follows:
(1) calibre length of 48.5
(2) maximum pressure of 310 MPa
(3) very efficient one-stage muzzle brake
(4) very rugged recoil mechanism with nitrogen counter recoil system
(5) bore evacuator for toxic gas evacuation
(6) progressive rifling from 6 to 9°.
The 48.5 calibre barrel has a concentric recoil system with a nominal recoil distance of 350 mm and a maximum recoil distance of 370 mm. The counter recoil mechanism consists of a nitrogen filled recuperator fixed parallel to the barrel. The recoil load is reduced by using a single baffle type muzzle brake. The sliding breech block is semi-automatic and the main firing control system is a solenoid (24 V DC) with a mechanical link for emergency control.
Ammunition for the Cockerill 90 mm Mk 8 gun is made by MECAR of Belgium and main types can be summarised as follows:
(1) a high-performance kinetic energy APFSDS-T round to defeat NATO triple heavy or NATO single heavy targets
(2) a multipurpose HEP round to defeat concrete bunkers, sand bunkers and light armoured targets. This can be used in artillery indirect firing mode up to a range of 7,000 m
(3) a smoke-T round for illumination or incendiary effect
(4) a TP-T round with the same ballistics as the HEP and smoke rounds.
Production. In production for Kuwait National Guard installed in Cockerill LCTS on Pandur (6 x 6) chassis manufactured by AV Technology in the US and Qatar installed in Cockerill LCTS on Piranha (8 x 8) manufactured by the now Alvis Vehicles of the UK. It has also been selected by the Saudi Arabian National Guard installed in Cockerill LCTS turret installed on Piranha (8 x 8) chassis manufactured by Diesel Division, General Motors of Canada.