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Russia, India to produce Mango rounds against Chobham armor

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BULGARIAN MILITARY

India and Russia have agreed to co-produce the 125mm 3VBM17 Mango projectile. The Russian state company Rostec announced that “our company Rosoboronexport is organizing the production of 3VBM17 Mango cartridges in India.” 

Russia, India to produce Mango rounds against Chobham armor
Photo credit: Telegram

This 125mm ammunition includes the 3BM42 ribbed armor-piercing projectile, capable of striking modern tanks with composite armor. These Mango projectiles are designed for the T-72 and T-90 tanks, both of which are widely used in India. To further enhance local production, there are plans to start manufacturing gunpowder in India as well.

While it remains unclear whether India will export part of this production back to Russia, it’s worth noting that this tank ammunition, developed in the mid-1980s, was specifically designed to penetrate Chobham armor used on tanks like the American M1 Abrams and the British Challenger 1.

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The 3VBM17/3BM42, commonly referred to as the 3BM42 ‘Mango,’ is a type of armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot [APFSDS] tank ammunition used by Russian main battle tanks. This ammunition is designed to penetrate heavily armored targets, making it a critical component in modern armored warfare.

The 3BM42 ‘Mango’ round has a length of approximately 570 mm and a diameter of 30 mm. The projectile itself is composed of a tungsten carbide core encased in a steel jacket, designed to maximize penetration capabilities while maintaining structural integrity upon impact.

In terms of technical characteristics, the 3BM42 ‘Mango’ features a two-part sabot that discards upon leaving the barrel, allowing the tungsten core to continue its trajectory toward the target. The round is capable of achieving high muzzle velocities, typically around 1,700 meters per second, which is crucial for its armor-piercing capabilities.

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The type of charge used in the 3BM42 ‘Mango’ is a propellant charge that ignites upon firing, generating the necessary force to propel the projectile out of the tank’s barrel. This charge is carefully calibrated to ensure optimal performance and safety during operation.

The operational range for the 3BM42 ‘Mango’ varies depending on the specific tank and firing conditions, but it is generally effective at ranges up to 2,000 meters. At this distance, the round is capable of penetrating most modern tank armor, making it a formidable weapon on the battlefield.

According to the Russian manufacturer, the projectile has the following penetration characteristics: 230 mm armor penetration at 2,000 m and 60° and 520 mm armor penetration at 2,000 m and 0° against a standard 260 BHN steel target.

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According to Russian experts, this ammunition can cope with Western armor. The 3VBM17 Mango projectile is a type of armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot [APFSDS] round. It utilizes a high-density penetrator made from depleted uranium or tungsten, materials known for their hardness and ability to concentrate kinetic energy on a small impact area. This allows the projectile to achieve extremely high penetration capabilities.

Chobham armor consists of multiple layers of ceramic tiles, metal plates, and other materials designed to absorb and dissipate the energy of incoming projectiles. While highly effective, the armor’s performance can be compromised by the sheer kinetic energy delivered by modern APFSDS rounds like the 3VBM17 Mango.

The 3VBM17 Mango’s design includes a long-rod penetrator that maintains its integrity and velocity upon impact, allowing it to penetrate the composite layers of Chobham armor. The high velocity and concentrated force of the penetrator can overcome the armor’s ability to spread and absorb the impact energy.

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