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OFL 120 F2 APFSDS-T round

French DU round used by the Leclerc Main Battle Tank. First fielded in 1996, and still in active service

French kinetic energy round. Calibre and material unknown

 

 

 

 

 

The OFL 120 F2 is an Armour Piercing Fin Stabilised Discarding Sabot Tracer (APFSDS-T) round.  It is designed to be fired from the 120 mm smoothbore F1 gun of the Leclerc tank, but is theoretically compatible with other guns that conform to the NATO Stanag 4385 standard, such as the M256 on the US Abrams tank, or the L55 on the German Leopard 2. There is no indication that the F2 has been used in any other vehicle, however.

The F2 is part of a family of 120mm ammunition for the Leclerc, including the OFL F1 and F1-A tungsten APFSDS-T rounds, the OECC 120 F1 High Explosive Anti Tank Multi-Purpose Tracer (HEAT-MP-T) round, and the OE 120 F1 High Explosive (HE) round. The reasons for fielding both a tungsten and uranium armour piercing round are not clear - the choice of ammunition may depend on the armour of the target, or there may be rules about the circumstances where uranium can be used.

The Leclerc tank first arrived with the French Army in 1992, and has since replaced the AMX-30 as the Main Battle Tank. The Leclerc is also in service with the United Arab Emirates, where they field a version adapted for tropical conditions. According to the Janes military publisher, the UAE also possesses all the ammunition for the Leclerc, presumably including the F2 round.

As with the other French DU round, the F2 is manufactured using US DU. Despite having over 250,000 tonnes of DU from their domestic and nuclear military programmes, France imported American DU in several shipments between 1979 and 1993. The manufacturing run probably used a shipment of over 1,000 tonnes of DU which was sent over in 1993, and production of the penetrators began around 1995. In total 60,000 are thought to have been manufactured.

It is not known exactly why France did not use domestic DU, but the most likely explanations are that domestic DU contained impurities, or that France lacked facilities to successfully manufacture the metallic DU-Titanium alloy that is used for penetrators. Certainly the US experimented with DU in armaments on and off for around 25 years before finding an alloy in the mid-1970s that they felt was superior to tungsten APFSDS rounds.

The OFL 120 F2 was manufactured by Giat Industries, now Nexter, at their Salbris plant. As far as ICBUW is aware, there is no ongoing production of the round, but France has a successor 120 mm DU round, the PROCIPAC, under development.

The above image shows a French kinetic energy round, but the calibre and material of the round are not known. The image is a licensed under a creative commons 3.0 license.