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In-bore Detonation of Non-standard Ammunition, Testing a Russian T-55 Tank

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Conference paper

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On 21 May 2009 the U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center ATC was performing an accuracy and fire control test on a Russian T-55 tank at the H-Field Firing Range, Aberdeen Proving Ground APG. The three man crew, commander also loading, gunner and driver were firing Russian designed 100-mm UBK-4M cartridge with the BK5M High Explosive Anti Tank HEAT warhead. Upon firing the second round of the day, a catastrophic incident occurred. The warhead exploded in the tank cannon rupturing the tube, killing the commander, fatally injuring the gunner and seriously injuring the driver. The U.S. Army Combat ReadinessSafety Center CRC team arrived on 23 May and initiated their investigation. The authors need to acknowledge the efforts of the CRC team in their thorough and professional investigation. Much of the factual information presented herein was obtained through the combined efforts of the CRC team and individuals in the unit. This paper provides general details surrounding the incident and address contributing factors. The conclusions and recommendations presented herein are those of the authors and not the findings, conclusions or recommendations of the Central Accident Investigation Board. Throughout the paper unless specifically designated otherwise the term unit refers to that team within ATC that was responsible for executing the test and reporting the results. The unit is comprised of engineers and technicians with personnel ranging from less than 1 to 20 plus years of experience in the test, operation and maintenance of Russian designed equipment. The authors of this paper are members of the unit.

Subject Categories:

  • Safety Engineering
  • Ammunition and Explosives
  • Combat Vehicles

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