hm, british ammo also had i think similar problems with german powders during L64 development
There is an embarrassment in that the muzzle velocity which was quoted at the Bourges trials which demonstrated the superiority of L64 over the US M735 round, and which was subsequently requited in documents, is not now likely to be met. Although we remain confident of the superior performance of L64 the extent to which this point will of itself incline potential buyers, such as Belgians and possibly even the Dutch, to other solutions remains to be seen.
2. Shatter. Further trials of the basic WNC propellant had confirmed evidence of shatter at low temperatures. This was unacceptable to the UK. MGO asked whether we were being stupid as the propellant was used in the FRG 120mm KE round.S/GR2 RADHE said that the OB would not accept the situation. DGW(A) said that we knew that the Germans were having more accuracy problems and shatter could have something to do with that. In some batches the pressure at -40C was higher than it should have been. S/GR2 RARDE said that this propensity to shatter could not be «blended» out. Tests with reduced diameter granules had not improved the situation.
3. MV. Each batch of basic WNC propellant had shown a different temperature coefficient(the original was about 4 but the latest had reached 5.8). As a result RARDE had been forced to specify an MV of 1472m/sec. Competitive rounds were set at about 1465 m/sec whereas we had predicted 1505m/sec from the UK propellant at the IEPG competitive trials. It might be possible to blend out the temperature coefficient variation but that would not solve the shatter problem.
13. It is unlikely that, even if a successful development programme could be carried out in the time stated above, the MV will exceed 1470 m/s. This will give little edge over the Israeli M111 round, the only advantage of L64 being its greater shot development potential (W/Ni/Fe core, reduced drag). However, the ROFs have as yet given no indication that they are seeking to pursue the potential offer by W/Ni/Fe cores.
15. The L64 programme has run into serious trouble in the final stages of its development. A difficult decision must be made within a month as to whether it is wise, or indeed possible, to inject further effort to save the project in view of the scarce resources available at RARDE, PERME and DPEE.
THE ROF/SALES DILEMA
8. L64 development is already late. Performance has fallen below that demonstrated at Bourges in 1978 when 1505 m/s mv was announced. (Difficulties with temperature correction for chamber pressure have led to the 1471 m/s figure). Competition from the Israeli M111 round now being manufactured by Diehl in Germany is intense, this round being available in production quantities at very competitive price.