PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. -- After awarding two development contracts in July 2015, Picatinny Arsenal’s Program Executive of Ammunition Office starts its new year by preparing to improve the Advanced Multi-Purpose (AMP) 120mm round.


The AMP is a single tank round that has different capabilities. It can:  
• Serve as a ground and air fuze. 
• Defeat dismounted infantry.
• Reduce obstacles. 
• Defeat anti-tank guided missile teams at extended ranges.
• Breach reinforced walls.


It replaces and combines four stockpile tank munitions (the M830 High Explosive Anti-Tank round, M830A1 Multi-purpose Anti-Tank round, M1028 Canister round, and the M908 Obstacle Reduction round).


These former rounds are fired from the Abrams tank, one of heaviest battle tanks in the field.


“Having one round for multiple targets saves critical time for Soldiers in combat since they will always have an effective round for whatever target they identify,” said Lt. Col. Kyle McFarland, Product Manager of Large Caliber Ammunition. That organization is part of Project Manager Maneuver Ammunition Systems (PM-MAS).  


“Our current inventory does not allow that,” McFarland continued. “Plus, the AMP addresses requirements that emerged from recent conflicts with increased use of tanks in urban environments, and extended range of dismounted anti-tank weapons, which necessitate the tank engaging dismounted troops at greater ranges in addition to attacking enemy vehicles.”


The AMP project includes technical support from Picatinny’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center.  


However, the Picatinny team also works closely with the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command, and the Department of Defense Director for Operational Test and Evaluation to provide the product to its customer, the Maneuver Center of Excellence in Fort Benning, Georgia. 


AMP entered the engineering and manufacturing development, or EMD, in 2015. PM MAS separated EMD for the AMP into two phases. During Phase One, two contractors (Orbital ATK and General Dynamics – Ordnance and Tactical Systems) will work to develop, build and demonstrate their proposed designs.


Based on the results of that demonstration, PM MAS will then select a single contractor. In Phase Two, the selected contractor will complete its design effort and qualify a single design for production. 


<span style="font-weight: bold;">REDUCING RISKS AND COSTS</span>


By taking two competing designs into the EMD stage, PM MAS reduces technical risks and overall lifecycle costs. 


“If you were to compare the cost of a single AMP round to one of the single rounds it replaces, the AMP is going to cost more,” explained McFarland. “However, by placing all these different capabilities into one round, we replace four rounds in the current inventory. 


“Right now our crews face the dilemma as they go into combat of deciding what rounds to load in the turret and carry in the gun. If they choose wrong, they could have a mismatch between target and ammunition, which will cost them valuable seconds while in enemy contact. 


“The AMP not only eliminates that dilemma, it provides two new capabilities that none of our current ammunition provides,” McFarland continued.


“So AMP offers great value to our Soldiers that a per round cost comparison can’t cover all that well.” 


Upon completion of Phase Two, the AMP will enter into Limited Rate Initial Production followed by full-rate production, and ideally be fielded to Soldiers in 2021.


“AMP provides tank crews with confidence that they will have the right ammunition loaded as they move to contact regardless of the type of target presented,” said McFarland. 


“This ability to shave seconds off the first effective engagement can mean the difference between life and death,” McFarland added.


“AMP also expands the tanks capabilities to align with the modern battlefield where tanks are expected to do much more than simply fight other tanks and this helps keep the Abrams tank relevant through its expected life cycle of 2050.”