The British and French governments signed a deal to fund the qualification of a unique cased telescoped 40mm cannon and ammunition system earmarked for use on Armored Vehicle programs being pursued by both countries.
CTA International (CTAI), the BAE System/Nexter Systems joint venture that has developed the weapon system, said in a statement the two governments had signed an 11 million pound ($17 million) deal to fund qualification of the cannon and ammunition.
The qualification work, designed to prove the weapon system is safe, effective and reliable, is scheduled for completion by early 2012. Britain and France adopted a common process to qualify the cannon and ammunition in early 2009 but have been haggling over the funding. The deal, which involves firing some 15,000 rounds, was finally signed Feb. 8.
The Anglo-French CT40 weapon is a major break from conventional technology. CTAI officials have previously described it as the biggest advance in gun technology since the advent of rifling.
The projectile is placed inside its case with the propellant packed around it, giving the round the appearance of a large can of beer. CTAI said the design halves the length of the round and improves the volumetric efficiency by 30 percent for a given level of performance.
The 40mm cannon itself is said to occupy the space of a conventional 25mm weapon inside the turret.
The CTAI design means ammunition is introduced to the gun from a static ammunition feeder into a rotating breech via a hollow trunnion, rather than from the rear in a conventional breech.
CTAI and Lockheed Martin are offering separate ammunition feeder designs.
Qualification of the new weapon system's ammunition will initially cover armor-piercing, training and general-purpose rounds. A BAE spokesman said a round with an airburst fuse will be qualified between six and nine months after the other ammunition types.