PELE (Penetrator with Enhanced Lateral Effectiveness) rounds are a new type of ordnance developed by Rheinmetall in the late nineties and early two thousands.
As the patent shows, they are similar in outward appearance to traditional long-rod penetrators, but are different in cross section:
The basic principle of a PELE is that the outer walls of the penetrator are made of a denser material than the core. At the extremely high velocities that the penetrator strikes the target, density (rather than material strength) is one of the most important factors in determining penetration. So the outer walls are able to penetrate the target, but the inner core is not. The outer walls of the penetrator continue moving forward, which compresses the inner core. This presentation from ATK has a helpful diagram:
As this Rheinmetall presentation shows, this gives much greater behind armor effect than a traditional long rod penetrator:
This new ammunition is available both in large-caliber and autocannon calibers.
Compared to traditional high explosive rounds, PELE rounds have the advantage that there is no explosive material in the penetrator. This means that there is no UXO risk at training ranges. Additionally, a tank with APFSDS and PELE ammunition types would be able to tackle most target types. If the ammunition were two-piece, then the inert APFSDS and PELE penetrators could be stored in the turret while the propellant charges could be stored separately in isolation. Britain's chieftain MBT used an ammunition stowage scheme like this, keeping inert APDS projectiles in the turret and propellant bags underneath the turret ring in wet ammunition containers. An ammunition stowage scheme like this would have the advantages of isolated ammunition stowage, but would require a less bulky isolated section of the tank, which often adds to the silhouette of the vehicle (e.g. abrams' enormous turret bustle).
The biggest disadvantage of PELE compared to traditional high explosive rounds is that the rounds do not fragment unless they hit something hard. As the presentations above show, the 120mm rounds will produce considerable fragmentation patterns after hitting something as light as 10mm of sheet metal, but they still need to hit something. So airburst or proximity fused options are out.
I am not sure if you folks noticed:
We got two images of the new gun and it shell. It's a 130mm L51 tank gun.
From the looks of it, the new shell is roughly 1200mm high.
What concerned me is the size of the shell. It rules out the carousel autoloader in any future western tank with this gun and a unmanned turret, unless you want a tank that makes the T-14 look short. I also wonder if they have the extend the ammunition rack for the old vehicles to make it fit.
If this is already posted or something like that, feel free to notify me and delete the post.