The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) signed contracts for the acquisition of new 125mm armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot (APFSDS) rounds, called the 3BM44M “Lekalo”, the Lenta.ru newspaper reported on 17 January.
The 3BM44M Lekalo is one of the most modern Russian tank ammunition, developed to use with 125mm smoothbore gun family.
According to open sources, the new rounds utilizing an improved penetrator and a new sabot. The new rounds are expected to be capable of penetrating currently available modern armored vehicles at a distance of several meters to three or five kilometers, in particular, American-made M1A2 Abrams tanks, according to Izvestiya.
According to military expert Alexei Khlopotov, the 3BM44 Lekalo is suitable for any 125mm gun of all the Russian Army tanks currently in service. In particular, the round is capable of piercing 650 millimeters of solid armor from a distance of two kilometers.
“This is enough to defeat the American M1A2 Abrams of modern modifications,” Khlopotov said.
The Russian 3BM44M Lekalo, designed to replace the Soviet 3BM42 Mango, will be able to use the modernized T-90, T-80, T-72, and T-14 tanks.
However, The National Interest reported that the Abrams, Leopard 2 and Challenger 2 are believed to possess frontal armor roughly equivalent to eight hundred millimeters of Rolled Homogenous Armor.
Russia’s best armor-piercing shells compatible with the 125mm smoothbore gun series used in the T-64, T-72, T-80, M-84, T-90, PT-91, T-14 Armata, is the 3BM59 Svinets-1 and 3BM60 Svinets-2, made of tungsten and depleted uranium respectively. These are estimated to penetrate 650 to 750 millimeters of 60-degree sloped armor at a medium combat distance of 2 kilometers (1.24 miles).