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In warfare, high-explosive incendiary (HEI) is a type of ammunition specially designed to impart energy and therefore damage to its target in one or both of two ways: via a high-explosive charge and/or via its incendiary (fire-causing) effects. Each round has both capabilities.
HEI ammunition is fused either mechanically or chemically. The armor-piercing ability can vary widely, allowing for more focused fragmentation or larger scatter.
HEI ammunition was originally developed for use in large-caliber cannon, howitzer and naval artillery. Currently, HEI rounds are most commonly made in medium-caliber sizes of 20, 25, and 30 mm. They are fired from various platforms, including aircraft, anti-aircraft cannons, and anti-missile systems, as well as common battlefield howitzers, though the latter has gone through a recent decline in use.
HEI ammunition has also been used on the battlefield against tanks and other armoured vehicles, but this has become impractical due to the invention of modern armour systems such as Chobham and reactive armour, which can absorb most high-explosive rounds currently used.
Recently, API (armour-piercing incendiary) shells have been used; these penetrate targets using the kinetic properties of the round before the incendiary round goes off, smothering the crew in flames, cooking off ammunition and igniting combustible materials, generally destroying the target.
The shells were first employed in naval batteries, but soon found their way to land-based howitzers as well. They caused fires, which on ships can be difficult to extinguish in the tight spaces. Also, fired at tanks and soft targets, they can cause fires that completely engulf the vehicle, killing anyone inside.
Occasionally, HEIs were used against tanks (heavily armoured) and also lightly armoured vehicles, but, since the invention of modern battle armour, such as Chobham and reactive armour, these shells have become less and less practical for anti-tank work and more useful for destroying "soft" targets such as air bases, trenches, or bunkers, in which they can create fires of over 1000 degrees Celsius. Incendiary shells are no longer in use by many countries due to bans on the use of phosphorus weapons.
Armour-piercing shot and shell penetrate the target using kinetic energy before the incendiary charge ignites, smothering the crew in flames, detonating ammunition, and destroying the target.
A kinetic energy penetrator (KEP), also known as long-rod penetrator (LRP), is a type of ammunition designed to penetrate vehicle armour using a flechette-like, high-sectional density projectile. Like a bullet or kinetic energy weapon, this type of ammunition does not contain explosive payloads and uses purely kinetic energy to penetrate the target. Modern KEP munitions are typically of the armour-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS) type.
Armour-piercing ammunition (AP) is a type of projectile designed to penetrate either body armour or vehicle armour.
Terminal ballistics is a sub-field of ballistics concerned with the behavior and effects of a projectile when it hits and transfers its energy to a target.
High explosive squash head (HESH) in British terminology, or high explosive plastic/plasticized (HEP) in American terminology, is a type of explosive projectile which uses a plastic explosive that conforms to the surface of a target before detonating, to improve the transfer of explosive energy to the target. Squash head projectiles are similar to high explosive projectiles and are well suited to many of the same targets. However, while HESH projectiles are not armour-piercing, they can defeat armored targets by causing spall which can injure or kill a vehicle's occupants, and detonate some types of ammunition.
High-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) is the effect of a shaped charge explosive that uses the Munroe effect to penetrate heavy armor. The warhead functions by having an explosive charge collapse a metal liner inside the warhead into a high-velocity explosively formed penetrator (EFP) jet; this is capable of penetrating armor steel to a depth of seven or more times the diameter of the charge. The EFPs jet effect is purely kinetic in nature; the round has no explosive or incendiary effect on the target.
An autocannon, automatic cannon or machine cannon is a fully automatic gun that is capable of rapid-firing large-caliber armour-piercing, explosive or incendiary shells, as opposed to the smaller-caliber kinetic projectiles (bullets) fired by a machine gun. Autocannons have a longer effective range and greater terminal performance than machine guns, due to the use of larger/heavier munitions, but are usually smaller than tank guns, howitzers, field guns or other artillery. When used on its own, the word "autocannon" typically indicates a non-rotary weapon with a single barrel. When multiple rotating barrels are involved, such a weapon is referred to as a "rotary autocannon" or occasionally "rotary cannon", for short.
The ISU-152 is a Soviet self-propelled gun developed and used during World War II. It was unofficially nicknamed zveroboy in response to several large German tanks and guns coming into service, including Tigers and Panthers. Since the ISU-152's gun was mounted in a casemate, aiming it was awkward, and had to be done by repositioning the entire vehicle using the tracks. Therefore, it was used as mobile artillery to support more mobile infantry and armor attacks. It continued service into the 1970s and was used in several campaigns and countries.
A shell, in a military context, is a projectile whose payload contains an explosive, incendiary, or other chemical filling. Originally it was called a bombshell, but "shell" has come to be unambiguous in a military context. Modern usage sometimes includes large solid kinetic projectiles that is properly termed shot. Solid shot may contain a pyrotechnic compound if a tracer or spotting charge is used.
An anti-personnel weapon is a weapon primarily used to maim or kill infantry and other personnel not behind armor, as opposed to attacking structures or vehicles, or hunting game. The development of defensive fortification and combat vehicles gave rise to weapons designed specifically to attack them, and thus a need to distinguish between those systems and ones intended to attack people. For instance, an anti-personnel landmine will explode into small and sharp splinters that tear flesh but have little effect on metal surfaces, while anti-tank mines have considerably different design, using much more explosive power to effect damage to armored fighting vehicles, or use explosively formed penetrators to punch through armor plating.
Armour-piercing discarding sabot (APDS) is a type of spin-stabilized kinetic energy projectile for anti-armour warfare. Each projectile consists of a sub-calibre round fitted with a sabot. The combination of a lighter sub-calibre projectile with a full-calibre propellant charge allows for an increase in muzzle velocity compared to full-calibre rounds, giving the round increased armour-penetration performance. To further enhance their armour-penetration capabilities, APDS rounds typically feature a hardened core made from tungsten or another hard, dense material.
A tank gun is the main armament of a tank. Modern tank guns are high-velocity, large-caliber artilleries capable of firing kinetic energy penetrators, high-explosive anti-tank, and cannon-launched guided projectiles. Anti-aircraft guns can also be mounted to tanks.
20 mm caliber is a specific size of popular autocannon ammunition. It is typically used to distinguish smaller-caliber weapons, commonly called "guns", from larger-caliber "cannons". All 20 mm cartridges have an outside projectile (bullet) diameter and barrel bore diameter of 0.787 inches (20.0 mm). These projectiles are typically 75 to 127 mm (3–5 in) long, cartridge cases are typically 75 to 152 mm (3–6 in) long, and most are shells, with an explosive payload and detonating fuze.
The Ordnance QF 75 mm, abbreviated to OQF 75 mm, was a British tank gun of the Second World War. It was obtained by boring out the Ordnance QF 6-pounder 57 mm anti-tank gun to 75 mm, to give better performance against infantry targets in a similar fashion to the 75 mm M3 gun fitted to the American Sherman tank. The QF came from "quick-firing", referring to the use of ammunition where the shell has a fixed cartridge. The gun was also sometimes known as ROQF from Royal Ordnance Quick-Firing.
High-explosive incendiary/armor-piercing ammunition (HEIAP) is a form of shell which combines armor-piercing capability and a high-explosive effect. In this respect it is a modern version of an armor-piercing shell. The ammunition may also be called semi-armor-piercing high-explosive incendiary (SAPHEI)
Armour-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS), long dart penetrator, or simply dart ammunition, is a type of kinetic energy penetrator ammunition used to attack modern vehicle armour. As an armament for main battle tanks, it succeeds Armour-Piercing Discarding Sabot (APDS) ammunition, which is still used in small or medium caliber weapon systems.
List of abbreviations, acronyms and initials related to military subjects such as modern armour, artillery, infantry, and weapons, along with their definitions.
The T-55AGM is a medium tank, a Ukrainian modernization of the T-54/T-55 developed by the Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau. The T-55AGM rebuild package can also be applied to Chinese made Type 59s and the Soviet T-62. As these upgrades are developed for export only, the variants may differ greatly in accord with the customer.
Ammunition is the material fired, scattered, dropped or detonated from any weapon or weapon system. Ammunition is both expendable weapons and the component parts of other weapons that create the effect on a target.
The Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-30-1 is a 30 mm autocannon designed for use on Soviet and later Russian military aircraft, entering service in the early 1980s. Its current manufacturer is the Russian company JSC Izhmash. The name GSH-30-1 is formed from the surnames of the designers Gryazev (Грязев) and Shipunov (Шипунов), the caliber of 30 mm and the single-barrel design of the gun itself.
The Oerlikon KBA is a 25 mm (25×137mm) autocannon, developed as a close range multipurpose weapon in the mid-1970s for the mechanized battlefield, originally made by Oerlikon-Bührle. It is a positively locked breech, gas-operated cannon with a rotating bolt head and a dual-belt selective feed system taking a 25 mm cartridge. The nominal rate of fire in burst mode is 600 rounds per minute but it can be adjusted electronically and reduced to single shot or a selectable range between 100 and 200 rounds per minute.