Electrothermal Chemical Gun Fired from Combat Vehicle


Released on Monday, September 13, 2004
United States of America
FCS MCS
ARDEC - Army's Armament Research Development and Engineering Center
ETC - Electrothermal Chemical
United Defense announced that it has achieved an industry first integrating and firing a 120mm Electrothermal Chemical (ETC) gun from a hybrid electric drive combat vehicle.

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 vehicle.

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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