UK Orders 40mm Cased Telescoped AFV Gun

40mm-cta

The UK has become the first nation to embrace “cased telescoped” ammunition technology*, having announced an order for 515 40mm CTA guns to retrofit the Warrior IFV and arm the new ASCOD-derived Scout SV vehicle, which will replace the long-serving CVR(T) family, including the Scimitar. IHS Janes reports:

The UK Ministry of Defence has placed a GBP150 million (USD236 million) order for CTA International 40 mm Case Telescoped Armament System (CTAS) cannons for its future fleet of tracked armoured fighting vehicles.

The contract, awarded to CTA International (CTAI), includes 515 cannons for the British Army’s new Scout SV reconnaissance vehicle and its upgraded Warrior infantry fighting vehicles.

Speaking on 1 July, UK defence secretary Michael Fallon said: “Today I can announce we have signed a GBP150 million contract to fit the Scout with a new Cased Telescope cannon providing it with unrivalled firepower and a new ‘airburst ammunition’ capability.”

The CTAS features a novel telescoped ammunition that means the cannon and its ammunition takes up a significantly reduced internal volume within a vehicle’s turret. This in turn allows a larger calibre cannon to be fitted to smaller vehicles, and for more ammunition to be carried.

The order for the cannons is evenly divided between the two vehicles, with 245 cannons destined for the turreted versions of the Scout SV and the Warrior CSP vehicles. Speaking to IHS Jane’s , an Ministry of Defence spokesperson stated that the remaining 25 cannons would be used for “ammunition qualification, trials, and training”.

CTAI is a joint venture between BAE Systems and Nexter Systems, with the CTAS also set to be installed on the French Army’s new suit of armoured vehicles, such as the EBRC Jaguar.

The UK has a total of 589 Scout SVs on order from prime contractor General Dynamics UK, with the vehicle based on the ASCOD 2 design. Of these 245 are of the turreted version, in three different variants; with the remaining vehicles being of the Protected Mobility Reconnaissance Support (PMRS) version, divided between six variants. Under the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme (CSP), the British Army is also upgrading 380 vehicles from the Warrior family. Of these, 245 will be of the infantry fighting vehicle variant – fitted with the CT 40 mm cannon in a new Lockheed Martin UK turret – with the remainder being engineering support and artillery support vehicles that will not be armed with the new cannon.

According to BAE Systems, production of the cannons for the British Army will last for “seven years, with the first cannons scheduled for delivery in mid-2016”.

Cased telescoped ammunition is also being eyed by the US for future small arms applications as well as for AFVs, making the UK’s adoption of the 40mm CTA a very significant milestone on the road to fielding practical lightweight, compact cased ammunition.

Like the LSAT rounds discussed in a previous article on cased telescoped ammunition, the 40mm CTA is not totally telescoped, and has all of its propellant behind the projectile’s driving band. It does, however, retain the compact form factor and light weight of the telescoped ammunition concept.

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*The UK adoption is not without precedents, however, as both the 7.62x38R Nagant and 23×260 Rikhter were adopted by Russia previously. The point at which a given cartridge design is considered or not to be telescoped is undefined, but those two rounds are not generally included in the modern group of cased telescoped rounds.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Say Nathaniel, you are a cartridge collector. Can you score me some of these rounds, for reasons?

    • It would be problematic. 🙂

      • USMC03Vet

        I bet Adul down the street is selling them in less than a week in Syria.

    • Secundius

      @ Alex C.

      If your thinking M203, forget it. It’ll never fit, Projectile alone is 6.375-calibers in length. A 40x65mm with a overall length of 320mm (or 12.6-inches)…

  • Giolli Joker

    This is cool.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    This new arms race has a real 80’s retro feel to it.

    • AldanFerrox

      Well, the Brits planned ordering these weapons and the corresponding vehicles for a long time. They started the FRES programm nearly 15 years ago.

    • Jay

      This is not a “new arms race”thing. This 40mm CT gun and it’s amunition, we’re in the works for a long time. I remember reading about it on the awesome site Tony Williams runs, almost a decade ago.
      This is mature technology.

  • Riot

    The scimitar is going?

    Ah well new toys

    • hikerguy

      The new Scout SV (with the said cannon above) will be its replacement in the future.

    • kyphe

      The scimitar is falling apart literally. My brother was a scimitar crew commander and his ride had to be scrapped as the constant need to carry add on armor in Iraq and Afghanistan caused structural failure of the hull which became very common. Many scimitar hulls have replaced by spartan hulls as an interim life extension program as they don’t make scimitars any more. They will no doubt keep the spartan hybrids in service till they fall apart too. If it’s useful it will be used, it’s the British way.

  • Lance

    I think its more of a test buy than replacing all of there 40mm guns for all there
    WarriorIFVs.

    • LCON

      Lance, The Existing Warrior IFV uses a 30mm RARDEN Cannon, They have been talking about this chance of guns since 2008. There Aim is to totally modernize the Warrior Fleet with the CTA 40mm

  • MPWS

    This is joint venture with French. I believe the company is French based.

  • Chi Wai Shum

    You guys do know that no one here will able to buy one of these, right?

    • Giolli Joker

      But if one will ever be, he’s Alex C.

  • Giolli Joker

    I think I found a document somewhere about this system being successfully tested by the US Army as well.

    • Joshua

      Yes. We are starting with developing a 5.56 LMG in CTA. Once that is finished scaleing it up to larger calibers will be a piece of cake.

      The end goal is a full fleet of CTA weapons in every platform.

      The LMG is basically there, a Carbine is in development, as is a 7.62LMG.

      • Giolli Joker

        Maybe the adoption of the 40 CTA by the Brits will help convince the skeptics on the potential of LSAT approaches.
        However, in the 40mm range I think it would be easier to purchase this already developed system than going on an R&D route.
        I guess there is going to be a limit where CTA, dimensionally speaking, is no longer convenient as with big cannon calibers you would end up with very large cylinders as cartridges.

        • Joshua

          Hopefully so. CTA really is the future, and once we get all the kinks worked out in the small arms world of CTA the skys the limit.

          It’s much easier to make CTA work in 40mm and such than it is 5.56 and 7.62.

  • aka_mythos

    This is a smart move. CTA improves the reliability while decreasing the weight and foot print of the cannon.

  • Giolli Joker

    “Like the LSAT rounds discussed in a previous article
    on cased telescoped ammunition, the 40mm CTA is not totally telescoped,
    and has all of its propellant behind the projectile’s driving band.”
    Although it’s just empty definitions, I’d say that your sentence applies only to the APFSDS and TPRR versions, the others seem to have a much lower driving band, including the Anti-Aerial Air Burst, not pictured in the (outdated) photo.

  • buzzman1

    Its about time western armies started mounting a 40mm on armored vehicles. After WW2 we retired the Light Scout Tanks so Mech guys were stuck with .50’s. They then came out with the 25mm for the Bradley’s which was OK until they decided to get rid of tanks and reduce the AF and Artillery (thats if they even deployed Arti). Now every unit is getting to light to fight. The strikers are trying to get a 30mm gun and would be better served with a 40mm. That is if it won’t warp or crack the hull like the 120mm mortars originally did.