2A46M Ammunition

4Zh63 propellant case
The ammunition for the mainguns of the 2A46 line is of a separately-loaded type comprising 4Zh40, 4Zh52 or 4Zh63 semicombustible propellant case and various battle parts that include APFSDS, HEAT, HEF, HE-Incendiary, Illuminating and other types of ammunition. Most of the ammo types are developed by the Research Machine-Building Institute (NIMI). The propellant parts, utilizing pyroxyline-based powders, are produced by the Kotovsk Plastics Plant.

One of the latest additions is a new 3BM42M armor-piercing, fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS) round. Its penetrator's extended body, made of a tungsten alloy, and high-energy powder propellant increase the piercing effect by 20 percent, compared with a 3BM42 APFSDS currently in service with the army. It features an unusual spool-shaped sabot with 'fins'. The existance of a similar Ukrainian round, 3BM42U1, suggests a close connection or cooperation.

Also, NIMI is working on the 3VBK25 high-efficiency round with the 3BK29M hollow-charge projectile which is intended to destroy heavily armored vehicles protected by composite and explosion-reactive armor, as well as other armored vehicles, targets hidden by engineer constructions, and personnel.

The company plans to start supplying both types of rounds in 1998-1999.

Ammunition types currently fielded with the military

All armor penetrations except 3BM32 are stated ratings (i.e. "will penetrate over ...")
All angles are vs. the normal to the armor.


HEAT Muzzle velocity 905 m/s

800mm pen. route


Older 2A46 ammunition cutaways
(courtesy V.Mourakhovsky)
T-90 MBT ammo loadout
(L-R: 6x3UBK20 ATGM, 10x3VBK25 HEAT,
8x3VBM17 APFSDS, 19x3VOF36 HEF)

This page is © 1998-2000, Sauron's Creations.
With contributions by Viktor Mourakhovsky, Trent J. Terenko, John Waters, and Steven Zaloga.