Israel Military Industries Ltd. (IMI) has recently received an order by the IDF, totaling more than several dozen million NIS, for M339 tank rounds for its Merkava Mk3 and Merkava Mk4 Main Battle Tanks.
The M339 will join the combat proven M329 Multi-Purpose tank round, (Hebrew name: “Calanit”), which has recently been awarded the prestigious 2011 Israel Defense Award for its meaningful contribution to the security of Israel.
The M339 tank round has been developed primarily for use by western tanks using NATO 120 mm smoothbore guns, such as the M1A1, Ariete, K2 and Leopard 2, etc.
Equipped with an Insensitive Munition (IM) warhead, the round provides an affordable, easy-to-operate solution for fighting in urban scenarios and is therefore very suitable for NATO armies’ operational needs. The round is designed to engage various targets at extended ranges, including bunkers, vehicles and fortifications, as well as Anti-Tank squads and infantry in the open.
M339 uses an electronic fuzing system and has three different modes of operation:
-- PDD (Point Detonation Delay), PD (Point Detonation/ Super Quick) and Air Burst.
-- An inductive setter is used to set the mode of operation.
In Air Burst mode it is also required to set the burst time for the fuze to detonate at the correct distance (The round’s explosion time is derived from the tank’s Laser Range Finder through the Fire Control System - FCS).
In PDD mode the M339 is designed to penetrate targets, such as double reinforced concrete walls or light armored vehicles, and explode inside - releasing thousands of controlled lethal fragments. In PD (Super Quick) mode the tank round breaches a hole in double reinforced concrete walls. Two rounds will create a passageway allowing infantry soldiers to pass through the wall – a very useful feature in urban combat. The Air Burst mode is used for effectively engaging Anti-tank or Infantry squads, operating in the open or hiding behind defilade or walls.
The tank round will be fielded by the IDF within months.
M339 is compatible with NATO 120 mm smoothbore tank guns and meets STANAG 4385 and 4493 requirements. Several leading militaries worldwide have already expressed interest in purchasing the new round.