ATK [ATK] yesterday said it was selected over General Dynamics [GD] and awarded a $77 million, three-year contract to move on to another phase and develop and qualify the M829E4 120mm Advanced Kinetic Energy (AKE) tactical tank round for the Army.

At the completion of this contract, ATK will have completed the second phase of the Engineering Manufacture Development (EMD) work required to qualify the new round for use with the Army’s M1A2 System Enhancement Package (SEP) Abrams Main Battle Tank. Upon qualification, the round will enter full-rate production, the company said in a statement. 

“During our 30 years of program experience partnering with the Army, we have type classified 10 of the 12 120mm tactical and training rounds for the Abrams tank,” said  Bruce DeWitt, vice president and general manager for ATK Advanced Weapons Division. “This experience makes ATK uniquely qualified to develop this next generation capability for the Army. ATK provided the 120mm ammunition that helped ‘upgun’ the Abrams from a 105mm to a 120mm main gun and we look forward to working with the Army to maintain the Abrams’ standing as the world’s dominant tank.” 

The M829E4 is the Army’s fifth generation, 120mm kinetic energy cartridge. The round is being developed to provide the Abrams M1A2 SEP with heavy armor defeat capabilities that allow the tank crew to engage and destroy hostile main battle tanks protected with advanced, explosive reactive armor at extended ranges as well as in Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT), mountain, and nontraditional battlefields. 

The round will allow for the use of fewer rounds and allow for faster enemy engagements, factors that will ultimately increase crew and platform survivability. 

Having successfully completed the first EMD phase, ATK was selected to advance to the second EMD phase based on an industry competition that included the results of a ballistic demonstration test and shoot-off and final proposal used to provide the best value decision for the Army. 

Since 1980, ATK has delivered more than four million rounds of 120mm tactical and training tank ammunition to the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and allied militaries. Through its proven, system-level contracting approach that reduces the risk to the customer, ATK has delivered a constant supply of 120mm ammunition that is consistently reliable and affordable.