Germany and the United Kingdom will work together on the next phase of development for advanced armour-piercing tank ammunition, it has been announced today.

Andy Start standing next to Vice Admiral Carsten Stawitzki holding a prototype EKE ammunition.
  • British and German armies to work together on next steps for advanced armour-piercing tank ammunition development
  • Enhancing NATO interoperability through standardised Main Battle Tank ammunition
  • Improving lethality on UK’s future Challenger 3 Main Battle Tanks and German Leopard 2 tanks

Germany and the United Kingdom will work together on the next phase of development for advanced armour-piercing tank ammunition, it has been announced today.

UK National Armaments Director, Andy Start, met his German counterpart, Vice Admiral Carsten Stawitzki, at the Honourable Artillery Company in London, where they signed a Statement of Intent to work together on the Enhanced Kinetic Energy (EKE) round – an advanced armour-piercing ammunition providing a step change in the Army’s ability to defeat evolving enemy threats.

Demonstrating that the new munition passes all legal and regulatory standards, this next phase of “qualification” marks a significant milestone in the ammunition’s programme. Ongoing discussions will seek a joint programme to be stood up this year, with the aim for the EKE ammunition to be used on the Challenger 3 Main Battle Tank and German Leopard 2 tank.

As the programme develops, the sharing of work between the countries will be key to ensuring a sustainable industrial capacity for both nations’ industries, sustaining jobs across the UK and supporting the UK Prime Minister’s priority to grow the economy.

UK Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, said:

We’re very pleased to work with Germany on this programme, helping equip our respective Armed Forces with a crucial battle-winning capability.

The standardised ammunition will not only benefit battlefield collaboration with many of our NATO allies, but has important export potential for UK and German defence industry partners.

The EKE rounds would be fired from the L55A1 turret on Challenger 3 and Leopard 2 Main Battle Tanks, supporting interoperability with NATO allies. The agreement follows both countries announcing the gifting of a squadron of their respective Main Battle Tanks to support Ukraine in its fight to counter Russia’s illegal invasion.

DEU State Secretary for FMOD Benedict Zimmer said:

The programme for 120mm EKE tank ammunition once again proves that the United Kingdom and Germany remain to co-operate as very close partners and friends.

Under the terms of the new agreement, Germany and the UK will also remain open for additional nations to join the cooperation or be export recipients, as well as continuing discussions on potential collaboration for other types of 120mm tank ammunition.

UK National Armament Director & Chief Executive of Defence Equipment & Support, Andy Start, said:

The UK will continue to drive stronger collaboration between partner nations to address current and future procurement needs. This approach maximises our collective strength to drive standardisation across NATO, and provides the opportunity for nations to improve availability and realise efficiencies.

The UK and Germany are close Allies, working together on several key defence initiatives including joint air policing missions in Estonia, as well as through land forces with the Joint Amphibious Battalion.

German National Armament Director, Vice Admiral Carsten Stawitzki, said:

With the Statement of Intent being signed, the United Kingdom and Germany will consider the request to allow for additional partners to join the programme as soon as possible.

Published 27 April 2023