Three U.S. companies produce large calibre DU tank rounds: Alliant Techsystems (120mm), Day & Zimmermann (120mm) and the former Primex Technologies, now General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (105mm and 120mm). Other companies – located in China, France, India, Serbia, the former Soviet Union, and Pakistan – also produce large calibre tank rounds. Alliant Techsystems, the largest ammunition manufacturers in the US also produce small calibre rounds (25mm, 30mm) for guns on U.S. aircraft and fighting vehicles. The UK-based firm BAE Systems produced 120mm shells for the UK armed forces until 2003, when they ceased production on ‘environmental’ grounds. This list is not exhaustive.
Aerojet is part of GenCorp, a major technology-based manufacturing company headquartered in Sacramento, California. GenCorp’s two businesses, Aerojet and Real Estate, concentrate on two principal market areas: aerospace and defense, and real estate. GenCorp’s businesses work toward the Company's vision to be "one of the most respected companies in the world."
Aerojet says that it is a leader in the development and manufacture of aerospace propulsion systems; precision tactical weapon systems; and armament systems, including warhead and munitions applications. Aerojet is the second leading provider in both the solid and liquid propulsion market areas, as well as the number one provider in the tactical segment area of solid propulsion.
Aerojet Ordnance Tennessee Inc (a subsidiary of Aerojet) manufactures DU penetrators and produces shielding and oxide from DU.
Alliant Techsystems (ATK)
ATK's Ammunition Systems Group is the largest ammunition manufacturing entity in the world, supplying products to the military, hunting, sport shooting, homeland security, and law enforcement markets. The group operates the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Missouri, where it has the capacity to produce 1.5 billion rounds of small-caliber ammunition annually. It also operates the Radford Army Ammunition Plant in Radford, Virginia, where it produces rocket and gun propellants and other energetic materials. The group’s commercial products include some of the most widely known brands in the industry, including Federal, CCI, Speer, Outers, and American Eagle. ATK has sales of approximately $3.3 billion (fiscal year 2006).
Alliant Techsystems makes DU shells for use in U.S. tanks, armoured personnel carriers, aircraft and howitzers.
Alliant has produced over 15 million 30 mm PGU-14 shells (used in the A10’s Gatling Gun) for the U.S. Air Force and over a million 120mm M829 rounds for the U.S. Army. In February 2006, U.S. Army placed an order for $38 million of M829 rounds, bringing the total order from the Alliant Techsystems to $77 million for fiscal year 2006
The M829A1 Kinetic Energy round was designed as a replacement for the M829 KE round. The M829A1 utilizes a redesigned projectile and improved propulsion system to increase on-target performance. The M829A1 is combat proven in Operation Desert Storm where the round became known as “The Silver Bullet.”
The M829A3 is the newest design of the U.S. Army's Kinetic Energy tank cartridge. The round has proven itself to have outstanding accuracy and lethality. The M829A3 utilizes state of-the-art composite sabot, propellant, and penetrator technologies to ensure that the U.S. armoured forces will maintain battlefield supremacy well into the future.
PGU-14 API (30mm)
The PGU-14 API has the kinetic energy needed to defeat armour. Its projectile possesses a high-density penetrator and demonstrates the follow-through fragmentation and pyrophoric effects for maximum effectiveness. The 30mm PGU series is currently in use with the 30mm GAU-8/A Gatling gun on the U.S. Air Force A-10 close-support aircraft.
BAE Systems (UK)
BAE Systems is "a systems company innovating for a safer world and delivering total solutions to customer requirements, from the outermost reaches of space to the depths of the oceans." BAE Systems has annual sales of £12 billion and employs more than 90,000 people world-wide .
BAE Systems designs, manufactures, and supports military aircraft, surface ships, submarines, space systems, radar, avionics, C4ISR, electronic systems, guided weapons and a range of other defence products, many of these with international partners.
BAE subsidiary Royal Ordnance (RO Systems) has now ceased production of the CHARM L27 120mm DU round citing environmental reasons - the real reasons revolve around a limited market for a specialised product that can only be fired from the UK-made Challenger tank.
In 2006 BAE decided to move into 'environmentally friendly' munitions - as part of their attempt to move towards 'corporate social responsibility':
120mm CHARM 3 APFSDS L27
It is the only depleted uranium ammunition currently in use with the British Army. It was fired by the British Challenger II tank in both Gulf Wars. Produced by Royal Ordnance Defence, a part of BAE Systems. UK stocks of this round are now passed their safe usage date.
General Dynamics (NYSE: GD) is a defence conglomerate formed by mergers and divestitures, and as of 2005 it is the sixth largest defence contractor in the world. The company has changed markedly in the post-Cold War era of defence consolidation. The company has three main business segments, Marine, Combat Systems, and Information Systems and Technology.
General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems
Is used in the Bradley Fighting Vehicle. It went into production in 2003, and is currently produced by General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems. The Bradley Fighting vehicle fired DU ammunition during the war against Iraq in 2003.
Is in use by the US Marines in Harrier jets. The equivalent of 10 tons of depleted uranium was used in the form of this ammunition during the first Gulf War.
The M900A1 APFSDS-T is the primary anti-armour 105 mm tank ammunition in service with the United State's Army and Marine Corps. This fourth generation KE projectile is capable of penetrating the frontal slope of fielded armour systems. In addition, the high technology penetrator and sabot design provides excellent accuracy at all combat ranges. This state-of-the-art 105 mm KE cartridge is compatible with the U.S. M-1, M-60 and M-48 series tanks employing the 105 mm M-68 cannon.
Called the "Silver Bullet" of the Gulf War, the M829A1 was last produced for the U.S. Army in December 1993. Prior to that, GD-OTS produced more than 250,000 M829A1 cartridges. As with all 120mm tank ammunition produced by GD-OTS, this cartridge is compatible with all standard NATO smoothbore 120mm tank cannons.
M8292A2 APFSDS-T (120mm)
The M829A2 Armour-Piercing, Fin-Stabilized, Discarding Sabot - Tracer (APFSDS-T) is the primary kinetic energy, anti-armour 120mm tank ammunition in service with the United States Army's main battle tank. This fourth generation KE projectile is capable of penetrating the frontal slope of all fielded armour systems.
Nexter (Giat Industries)
Nexter (formerly known as GIAT Industries or Groupement des Industries de l'Armée de Terre, Army's Industries Group) is a French Government-owned corporation weapon manufacturer.
The group was founded in 1973 by combining the industrial assets of the technical direction of Army weapons of the French Ministry of Defense. In 1991, it was turned into a national company.
Ever since it was founded, GIAT's management has been difficult. The company was operated at a loss, and a 2001 report by the Cour des Comptes described the situation as critical. Not until April of 2004 did the board of directors present the public with a financial statement showing a turn over of several hundred million Euros. This was mostly thanks to increased export sales, the modernization of the Leclerc main battle tank and several other armoured platforms.
In 1995, 60,000 penetrators for the 120 mm munition APFSDS-T OFL 120 F2, used by the Leclerc tank were made by Giat Industries of Salbris. The 105 mm munition APFSDS-T OFL 105 E2, used by the F1 canon of the AMX-30 tank of Giat Industries also contains DU.
Current data on Nexter's DU program is unavailable.
Pakistan Ordnance Factories
Pakistan Ordnance Factories is the biggest defence industrial complex in Pakistan meeting almost one hundred percent of the ordnance needs of its armed forces, mainly the army.
In 2001 Pakistan's NCD developed a 125mm armour-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS) projectile with a depleted uranium (DU) long-rod penetrator. It was made for use with Chinese-made T-80UD tanks. The Pakistani defence industry works closely with China, sharing research and development - this is largely done as a strategic counter-balance to Russia's close links with India's arms industry.