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Sabot like rounds in small arms (like a rifle) possible?

This is a discussion on Sabot like rounds in small arms (like a rifle) possible? within the Space & Defense Technology forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; I was looking at the standard technology for kinetic energy projectors used by tanks to penetrate armor I was wondering ...


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Old August 3rd, 2016   #1
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Sabot like rounds in small arms (like a rifle) possible?

I was looking at the standard technology for kinetic energy projectors used by tanks to penetrate armor

I was wondering if the same logic can be applied for small arms to penetrate lighter armor . Would it provide any distinct advantage?
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Old August 3rd, 2016   #2
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Unfortunately the relatively light weight of the dart vs the sabot in small arms rounds tends to mean that there's a tip-off effect which is more pronounced in small arms size rounds than say, a cannon projectile. That really takes the edge off the accuracy.

Plus, the barrel length and breech pressures acceptable in a small arm don't approach the maximums you see in a tank weapon - you can just get good armour penetration with a longer, smaller bullet, like the MP7's for example.

Fifty cal BMG did get a sabot round, not sure how effective it was but as it's not in use right now, I'm guessing the tradeoffs weren't worth it.
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Old August 4th, 2016   #3
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Originally Posted by StobieWan View Post
Unfortunately the relatively light weight of the dart vs the sabot in small arms rounds tends to mean that there's a tip-off effect which is more pronounced in small arms size rounds than say, a cannon projectile. That really takes the edge off the accuracy.

Plus, the barrel length and breech pressures acceptable in a small arm don't approach the maximums you see in a tank weapon - you can just get good armour penetration with a longer, smaller bullet, like the MP7's for example.

Fifty cal BMG did get a sabot round, not sure how effective it was but as it's not in use right now, I'm guessing the tradeoffs weren't worth it.
Thank you for your reply

I figured that the dart would be too small to have the impact desired. The 50 calibre story is fascinating.
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Old August 4th, 2016   #4
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SLAP still seems to be around actually, have a google - seems like a pretty hot round.
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Old August 4th, 2016   #5
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There are sabots for pistol-caliber projectiles available for reloaders. These are typically not discarding though.

There's a few experimental rounds from the 60s, mostly for making intermediate-sized (carbine) ammunition armour-piercing, such as FN Herstal 9x36 XPL with 3.5 or 4mm discarding sabot penetrators.

As for SLAP, the lineup technically also includes a version in 7.62x51 NATO (M948). It was produced for a few years in the 80s, then discontinued and superseded in military use by equally-performing M993 regular AP.
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Old August 5th, 2016   #6
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SLAP still seems to be around actually, have a google - seems like a pretty hot round.
Yeah their penetrating power is pretty ridiculous. Unfortunately their use was heavily limited by RoEs precisely because they have so much penetrating power. using .50s in general in any urban area was a potential issue.
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Old August 5th, 2016   #7
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I was looking at the standard technology for kinetic energy projectors used by tanks to penetrate armor

I was wondering if the same logic can be applied for small arms to penetrate lighter armor . Would it provide any distinct advantage?
I actually worked on a ballistics project where we were developing small calibre sabots.

the rounds were made by a swiss company and they also did some of their own development work

at the engineering level it was an interesting project - at the practical analysis level it didn't last long and it had no advantages over other options to attack "thins" etc...

the greater advantage was in developing existing calibres with different capabilities. eg we did try explosive 7.62's which were far more useful than a 7.62 sabot but inevitably just as useless.

a lot of the anti-hijacker ballistics developments evolved from projects such as ours
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Old August 12th, 2016
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Old September 12th, 2016   #8
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AP rnds

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Originally Posted by Randomengineer View Post
I was looking at the standard technology for kinetic energy projectors used by tanks to penetrate armor

I was wondering if the same logic can be applied for small arms to penetrate lighter armor . Would it provide any distinct advantage?
I've been thinking about EFP rnds mainly for .50 cal against apc's with a lightweight but strong outer casing to maintain ballistic integrity which detonate on contact. This may also be an option for smaller caliber .
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Old September 12th, 2016   #9
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Everything that cannot be penetrated by 12.7mm AP warrants real AT weapon instead of some fancy ammunition with neglible after armor effects.

China and others still produce Sagger versions. Should be quite cheap to procure in large numbers and much more usefull.
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Old September 12th, 2016   #10
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Everything that cannot be penetrated by 12.7mm AP warrants real AT weapon instead of some fancy ammunition with neglible after armor effects.

China and others still produce Sagger versions. Should be quite cheap to procure in large numbers and much more usefull.
How about destroying ERA with 50. AP so a lighter anti-armor weapons can penitrate MBT armor. It could be set up in an APC turret in a mini gun plus missile combo which could also be slaved to an anti-air SAR plus missile on a dedicated AA Vechials . I'm sure in the near future if not already a combo A-Air A-Armor weapon will be fielded allowing all APC,s to cover both jobs. Plus the new isralie merk mk 4 has an anti-air capability against helo's which is a nice option. I think we need to look forward with weapon systems. Sagger is redundant Israel all ready fields anti-warhead systems and it won't take long before it is standard on most vechials this will spread across all countries military's sooner rather than later then the only option will be more specialised ammo. Proximity fused ERA ammo may be an answer to this thru research we can learn what cal rnds would be effective .
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Old September 12th, 2016   #11
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How about destroying ERA with 50. AP so a lighter anti-armor weapons can penitrate MBT armor. It could be set up in an APC turret in a mini gun plus missile combo which could also be slaved to an anti-air SAR plus missile on a dedicated AA Vechials . I'm sure in the near future if not already a combo A-Air A-Armor weapon will be fielded allowing all APC,s to cover both jobs. Plus the new isralie merk mk 4 has an anti-air capability against helo's which is a nice option. I think we need to look forward with weapon systems. Sagger is redundant Israel all ready fields anti-warhead systems and it won't take long before it is standard on most vechials this will spread across all countries military's sooner rather than later then the only option will be more specialised ammo. Proximity fused ERA ammo may be an answer to this thru research we can learn what cal rnds would be effective .
ERA is already exhaustively tested. shooting a block doesn't necessarily kill it either, apart from the fact that there are 2 dozen plus blocks on a turret depending on which RA system is installed.

the most vulnerable part of a tank is still in the main, the top,

protecting armour as part of an overall force is still the best way to deal with the threat. the obvious lessons are still lessons learnt from the israelis in their confllicts - armour that moves out of the protective umbrella of companion forces runs a higher risk of getting killed.
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Old September 12th, 2016   #12
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ERA isn't set of by autocannon fire let alone anything that can be fired out of a 12.7mm barrel.

Active protection systems are expensive and not every enemy vehicle will have them. Leaving lots of potential Sagger targets to exploit. I am not advocating making Sagger your primary ATGM but if your aim is to have something to harass the enemy with, probably in a guerilla scenario, then boatloads of simple and cheap ATGMs will help you alot. More than any fancy 12.7mm round. And a more conventional force doesn't really need it as they have a plethora of real AT weapons available to do the job properly.

The countries which are able to procure APS also procure modern AFVs which base armor is already difficult to defeat.

Merkavas (not only 4s) have a round (APAM) which is well suited for anti helicopter use but so are other rounds like US MPAT or German DM11 HE.
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Old September 12th, 2016   #13
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Era

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ERA is already exhaustively tested. shooting a block doesn't necessarily kill it either, apart from the fact that there are 2 dozen plus blocks on a turret depending on which RA system is installed.

the most vulnerable part of a tank is still in the main, the top,

protecting armour as part of an overall force is still the best way to deal with the threat. the obvious lessons are still lessons learnt from the israelis in their confllicts - armour that moves out of the protective umbrella of companion forces runs a higher risk of getting killed.
This is exactly why I think projectiles and weapons need to be more advanced . You mention top attack as the primary way to defeat tanks. Im sure your know about SFW which should or could be developed in a 40mm grenade with both anti-armor and a thermal activated anti-personnel system. In the US they are developing a stand alone A-Armor + A-Personal system to replace mines which fire's theise types of munitions I think the same tech could be developed for a 40mm or if the 40mm is to small a larger grenade could be introduced. Imagin an infantry weapon small and light enough for every man in a fire team has the ability to take on armor and infantry in cover without exposing yourself to the enemy.
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Old September 12th, 2016   #14
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Advanced munitions

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ERA isn't set of by autocannon fire let alone anything that can be fired out of a 12.7mm barrel.

Active protection systems are expensive and not every enemy vehicle will have them. Leaving lots of potential Sagger targets to exploit. I am not advocating making Sagger your primary ATGM but if your aim is to have something to harass the enemy with, probably in a guerilla scenario, then boatloads of simple and cheap ATGMs will help you alot. More than any fancy 12.7mm round. And a more conventional force doesn't really need it as they have a plethora of real AT weapons available to do the job properly.

The countries which are able to procure APS also procure modern AFVs which base armor is already difficult to defeat.

Merkavas (not only 4s) have a round (APAM) which is well suited for anti helicopter use but so are other rounds like US MPAT or German DM11 HE.
Yes you are write 12.7 is to small to be effective in an AT role but what I neglected to mention was that I would use the GAU 8 from the A-10 as the IFV's weapon along with a AT missile with modern aiming systems the GAU would only have to defeat say 4 blocks of ERA to open up a spot for the AT missile. This would be a single function so you aim at the target get a solution and fire the weapon which fires the GAU and missile in one action. And if the DU rnd or what ever they use now cannot defeat the ERA we should be asking our selves why not and develop one that can. This also means that MBT AP ammo also needs to defeat the combined ERA and main armor on a MBT and I'm not sure this is possible with what we have so new more advanced tank ammo needs to be developed maby a duel projectile rnd first part takes out the ERA then the second penitrates the vech. But if we don't have theise types of munitions they need to be developed. Being an ex grunt(para) there are many times that you don't have armor or air support and you have to carry everything you need for up to 5 days and with loads a grunt carries increaseing all the time it is impossible to carry an effective number of AT weapons(you would also need AA weapons as well) so it is essential to develop smaller lighter weapons so inf without support can defend themselves . If you look at countries like Australia who don't have all the support systems to give 24hrs a day coverage to inf operations the inf needs to be able to support and defend themselves and this means lighter more powerfull and more advanced weapons and munitions. I don't know the answers I'm just a dumb grunt who reads a lot but I feel the questions need to be asked. As for new tech reaserch I think it needs to be a cycle we develop new equipment then we learn how to defeat it then the cycle starts again. Every opponent we will face will be doing everything they can to develop technology to defeat our systems so if we know how to defeat our systems we know what to watch for and how to defend ourselves and the cycle begins again.
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Old September 13th, 2016   #15
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You don't get any meaningfull AT capability out of a 40mm HEAT arrangement either. Not even against serious modern top armor which incidantly is primarily designed to protect against AT-Bomblets which are quite similar to your proposed 40mm grenade.

You are aware of the size (incl. ammo) of a GAU-8? Add to that a missile system and you are easily within MBT size territory in which case you can just use a MBT. Which ironically fires modern long rod APFSDS ammunition which is designed with heavy ERA in mind.

Apart from that, every tank hunting system which relies on degrading the enemy protection instead of going for a first shot/first kill solution just begs for getting obliterated by return fire. An attacking echelon is not going to be idle while you nibble away on their ERA with the mother of all firing signatures.

Autocannons don't ignite heavy ERA due to it's thick outer plate in combination with insensitive explosives used. You don't just develop new AC ammo. You accept it's limitations and use other AT weapons for the desired effect.

As for airborn infantry not having enough AT weapons. That's the fun of being light infantry away from ones own logistic lines. If the ones you are carrying are not enough add weapons carriers like the Wiesel or even airborn AFVs like the BMD/Sprut to your TO&E. That adds considerable AT capabilities and in the case of the Wiesels was done exactly because the main mission of German paratroopers during the cold war was to be inserted into the path of broken through enemy armor units in order to act as a stop gap to buy time for heavy reinforcements to counterattack and close the hole in the frontline.

But even though if your light airborn infantry has to hold a position against heavy forces for too long it is not a question of the wrong AT equipment but of an operation gone wrong. That is true since Market Garden...

Light infantry is just not meant to duke it out with heavy forces outside of very favorable terrain with lots of fire- and logistical support.
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