Nexter raises a corner of the veil covering the T40 gun mount

 

After a little more than two years in gestation, the T40 gun mount housing the 40 cannon with telescopic munition was presented by Nexter to some officials gathered at Satory. As a reminder, the cannon is a Franco-British development within the CTAI co-enterprise that unites Nexter and BAE. While this 40 mm cannon is designed to equip the FRES and the modernized Warrior across the Channel, the T40 gun mount is most especially meant for the future EBRC. It’s a subject that FOB will come back to soon.

At this time, Nexter only possesses a single completed gun mount which is now installed atop an AMX10RC frame. But the manufacturer willingly compares this gun mount to the visible part of an iceberg, where the part underwater is composed of a number of technological components tested within the group’s facilities. The role of the T40 is to validate the integration of the cannon, the vetronics, and finally to assist operational staff in specifying the missions and the characteristics of the future EBRC with the functions they want or don’t want to see loaded onto the gun mount. The T40 set atop the AMX10RC frame appears surprisingly spacious. About a dozen cameras set atop its flanks allow the two soldiers inside the mount to have a 360° panoramic view displayed on wide color screens. An advanced ergonomic study should specify the limits not to be exceeded with respect to the presentation of the information. While the T40 provides exceptional views of the outside environment, watch out for the opposite effect, where operators are buried with information to the degree that it creates the effect opposite of what was intended.

The increase in width of the future EBRC from 2m25 at the beginning of the program to 2m80 today is one of the reasons explaining this generous interior volume. The result is the sense of space reinforced by the far forward position of the main gun (made possible by the chamber rotation) which does not crowd the interior space. The choice of a rotating chamber also adds a lot to the simplicity of the 40mm weapon, whose operations remain completely mechanical. For the gunner, in degraded mode an added feature is the possibility to feed the weapon manually and to « pull the cord » and fire shot by shot without needing to expend any energy. The rotating chamber rejects the munitions casing to the side and keeps gas from being released into the mount. Nexter relies a great deal on the efficiency of the 40mm weapon whose very specific architecture, with a munitions introductory axis identical to that of the weapon rotation, also facilitates loading no matter the location of the weapon. The result, aim possible at +75° which makes it a formidable weapon in urban combat or against helicopters and other drones. To its credit, the T40 already has a target drone downed at a distance of 1100m with exercise munition. The telescopic munition brings another essential advantage: the absence of links between the shells, since links on other weapons are responsible for 50% of firing incidents.

The gun mounted on the AMX10RC has up to now fired shot to shot. Now it’s going to be fitted with a 60-shot charger and will be involved in cascade shot construction tests. In mid-December, fitted with its full firing drive, the T40 will be put back on the DGA to use it for qualifying 40mm munitions, and in particular, the Airburst version, which is still the most complicated. On the agenda now is the Airburst qualification in 2015 and the explosive munition qualification in 2014. The training munition and the arrow munition will have to be qualified in the upcoming days.

our illustration: the T40 gun mount on an AMX10RC frame (photo Frédéric Lert)