United Defense announced that it has achieved an industry first integrating and
firing a 120mm Electrothermal Chemical (ETC) gun from a hybrid electric drive
The demonstrator using a 100 KJ (Kilo-Joules) pulse power system and is the
result of close cooperation between United Defense and the US Army's Armament
Research Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC), a dedicated center for
ground armament development. The combat vehicle fired both conventional and ETC
rounds while demonstrating the feasibility of the pulse power system.
The demonstrator autoloader was developed by United Defense and is the
responsible for loading and ejecting rounds and steel propellant cases from the
vehicle. The fully automatic breech power connection was designed such that
electricity reached only the propellant, but not any other part of the cannon or
The ETC technology can significantly enhance accuracy of direct fire combat
vehicles on the move and at high speeds in conjunction with new pulse power
systems and new ammunitions featuring plasma igniter instead of conventional
igniters. Plasma ignition provides critical reductions of projectile exit times
variations. This revolutionary control of ignition makes possible an advanced
fire control capability called 'precision aiming'.
Precision aiming uses gun muzzle position sensors, advanced fire control
algorithms, and plasma ignition to virtually eliminate gun pointing error.
Reduction in pointing error increases accuracy, especially when the vehicle is
moving and the pointing errors dominate. Moreover, survivability is enhanced
because engagements can be at longer ranges and at higher cross country speed.
This capability has a broad range of applications such as the Future Combat
Systems direct fire platforms.
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