France’s Nexter announced on 29 February 2024 that in late 2023 it qualified its SHARD new-generation 120 mm armoured-piercing, fin-stabilised, discarding sabot (APFSDS) tank ammunition, adding that it is now ready for mass production.

SHARD was developed to give increased firepower to the 120 mm main armaments of NATO main battle tanks (MBTs). KNDS, Nexter’s parent company, said in a company press release that it was designed “to bring 120 mm APFSDS tungsten alloy ammunition to the next level of performance against all modern MBT and armoured threats in the present and future battlefields.

The key performance characteristics of SHARD, according to KNDS, are that it achieves 15% greater penetration than current-generation ammunition while ensuring a low level of dispersion; that it reduces barrel wear by 25% to reduce maintenance cycles and costs; and that it achieves a muzzle velocity of 1,720 m/s with the L52 gun of the French Leclerc MBTs and 1,734 m/s with the L55 gun of the German Leopard 2 MBT.

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