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Shock and Vibration
Volume 8, Issue 3-4, Pages 157-166

Measurements of Gun Tube Motion and Muzzle Pointing Error of Main Battle Tanks

Peter L. McCall

US Army Aberdeen Test Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 21005-5059, USA

Received 15 October 2001; Revised 15 October 2001

Copyright © 2001 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Beginning in 1990, the US Army Aberdeen Test Center (ATC) began testing a prototype cannon mounted in a non-armored turret fitted to an M1A1 Abrams tank chassis. The cannon design incorporated a longer gun tube as a means to increase projectile velocity. A significant increase in projectile impact dispersion was measured early in the test program. Through investigative efforts, the cause of the error was linked to the increased dynamic bending or flexure of the longer tube observed while the vehicle was moving. Research and investigative work was conducted through a collaborative effort with the US Army Research Laboratory, Benet Laboratory, Project Manager – Tank Main Armament Systems, US Army Research and Engineering Center, and Cadillac Gage Textron Inc. New test methods, instrumentation, data analysis procedures, and stabilization control design resulted through this series of investigations into the dynamic tube flexure error source. Through this joint research, improvements in tank fire control design have been developed to improve delivery accuracy. This paper discusses the instrumentation implemented, methods applied, and analysis procedures used to characterize the tube flexure during dynamic tests of a main battle tank and the relationship between gun pointing error and muzzle pointing error.