The German Bundeswehr has awarded Rheinmetall a contract to supply it with new practice ammunition for main battle tanks. This is the German Army’s first-ever order of the new full-calibre 120mm practice ammunition, which it refers to as the DM98.
In September 2017 Rheinmetall booked a first order to manufacture and deliver 10,000 rounds of DM98 ammunition, which will reach the Bundeswehr before the end of the year. In light of current German training requirements, Rheinmetall expects to receive an order for a further 3,200 cartridges at the beginning of 2018, with shipment due to take place in the first quarter of the year. The entire order value for the initial requirement totals €24.7 million, including value added tax. Of this amount, €18.5 million (without VAT) was already booked in the third quarter of 2017 as an incoming order.
Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH developed the 120mm full-calibre round as a successor to the earlier DM18. Essential characteristics of the new cartridge include a geometry and length comparable to its DM18 predecessor and above average accuracy even at ranges exceeding 2,000 metres. It also features a tracer function that assures good, steady visibility in all light conditions.
In response to an urgent operational requirement, the new round – initially known as the RH88 – was qualified in 2015 for all variants of Leopard 2 main armament, with Denmark serving as the pilot customer. In 2016 it was successfully qualified with a second packaging system by the Bundeswehr, and introduced as the DM98. The official designation in English is “Cartridge 120mm x 570, DM98 TP-T”, with the final initials standing for target practice tracer.
These two German orders mean that by the end of 2017, Rheinmetall will have supplied over 20,000 rounds of RH88/DM98 ammunition to four different Leopard 2 user nations in the space of three years. Following the first product optimization, starting in mid 2018 the design status of the ammunition will be in full compliance with the requirements contained in the EU’s REACH regulation for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals.