High-explosive anti-tank warhead

HEAThigh explosive anti-tankhigh-explosive anti-tankhigh explosive anti-tank warheadHEAT warheadHEAT-FSHEDPHigh Explosive Anti Tankhigh-explosive antitankanti-tank
A high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead is a type of shaped charge explosive that uses the Munroe effect to penetrate thick tank armor.wikipedia
397 Related Articles

Shaped charge

hollow chargeMunroe effectshaped-charge
A high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead is a type of shaped charge explosive that uses the Munroe effect to penetrate thick tank armor.
Contrary to a widespread misconception (possibly resulting from the acronym HEAT, short for high-explosive anti-tank warhead) the shaped charge does not depend in any way on heating or melting for its effectiveness; that is, the jet from a shaped charge does not melt its way through armor, as its effect is purely kinetic in nature – however the process does create significant heat and often has a significant secondary incendiary effect after penetration.

Composite armour

composite armorcompositecomposite ceramic and metal matrices
The HEAT warhead has become less effective against tanks and other armored vehicles due to the use of composite armor, explosive-reactive armor, and active protection systems which destroy the HEAT warhead before it hits the tank.
Its primary purpose is to help defeat high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) projectiles.

Panzerfaust

Panzerfaust 30FaustpatronePanzerfaust 100
In mid-1941, Germany started the production of HEAT rifle-grenades, first issued to paratroopers and, by 1942, to the regular army units (Gewehr-Panzergranate 40, 46 and 61), but, just as did the British, soon turned to integrated warhead-delivery systems: In 1943 the Püppchen, Panzerschreck and Panzerfaust were introduced. Classic examples of this include the German Panzerfaust and Soviet RPG-7.
It consisted of a small, disposable pre-loaded launch tube firing a high-explosive anti-tank warhead, and was intended to be operated by a single soldier.

Armor-piercing shell

armor-piercingarmour-piercingAP
Due to the way they work, they do not have to be fired as fast as an armor piercing shell, allowing less recoil.
HEAT shells are a type of shaped charge used to defeat armoured vehicles.

Bazooka

M20 Super Bazookabazookas3.5-inch bazooka
During the war, the French communicated Henry Mohaupt's technology to the U.S. Ordnance Department, and he was invited to the US, where he worked as a consultant on the Bazooka project.
Featuring a solid-propellant rocket for propulsion, it allowed for high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warheads to be delivered against armored vehicles, machine gun nests, and fortified bunkers at ranges beyond that of a standard thrown grenade or mine.

Rifle grenade

grenade musketrifle grenadesrifle-grenade
The first British HEAT weapon to be developed and issued was a rifle grenade using a 63.5 mm cup launcher on the end of the rifle barrel; the Grenade, Rifle No. 68 /AT which was first issued to the British Armed Forces in the year 1940. Variants of varying effectiveness were produced for almost all weapons from infantry weapons like rifle grenades and the M203 grenade launcher, to larger dedicated anti-tank systems like the Carl Gustav recoilless rifle.
After World War II, many countries adopted 22mm spigot-type launchers and anti-tank rifle grenades with shaped-charge or HEAT warheads.

PIAT

Projector, Infantry, Anti TankBritish PIATPIAT guns
The Panzerfaust and Panzerschreck (tank terror) gave the German infantryman the ability to destroy any tank on the battlefield from 50–150 meters with relative ease of use and training (unlike the British PIAT).
Jefferis then had a small number of prototype armour-piercing HEAT rounds made, and took the weapon to be tested at the Small Arms School at Bisley.

No. 68 AT grenade

No 68 AT GrenadeNo. 68 AT Rifle GrenadeBritish No. 68 AT grenade
The first British HEAT weapon to be developed and issued was a rifle grenade using a 63.5 mm cup launcher on the end of the rifle barrel; the Grenade, Rifle No. 68 /AT which was first issued to the British Armed Forces in the year 1940.
68 was an early form of shaped charge grenade, and has some claim to have been the first high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) device in use.

7.5 cm Pak 97/38

75/397.5 cm guns Pak 97/38(f)7.5 cm Sprgr.231/1(f)
The Germans made use of large quantities of HEAT ammunition in converted 7.5 cm Pak 97/38 guns from 1942, also fabricating HEAT warheads for the Mistel weapon.
The gun was primarily intended to use HEAT shells as the armor penetration of this type of ammunition does not depend on velocity.

Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle

Carl Gustav recoilless rifleCarl GustavM3 Carl Gustav
Variants of varying effectiveness were produced for almost all weapons from infantry weapons like rifle grenades and the M203 grenade launcher, to larger dedicated anti-tank systems like the Carl Gustav recoilless rifle.
While the older HEAT rounds are not particularly effective against modern tank armor, the weapon has found new life as a bunker-buster with an HEDP round.

T-62

T-62 tankT-62 tanks62
To illustrate this: a stationary Soviet T-62 tank, firing a (smoothbore) cannon at a range of 1000 meters against a target moving 19 km/h was rated to have a first-round hit probability of 70% when firing a kinetic projectile.
While 100 mm HEAT ammo could have accomplished the task, they were much less accurate than APDS shells, and the relatively low flight velocity resulted in poorer accuracy if used on moving targets.

Superplasticity

superplasticsuper plastic behaviorsuperplastic deformation
The warhead functions by having the explosive charge collapse a metal liner inside the warhead into a high-velocity superplastic jet.

RPG-7

RPGRPG 7RPG7
Classic examples of this include the German Panzerfaust and Soviet RPG-7.
The current model produced by the Russian Federation is the RPG-7V2, capable of firing standard and dual high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) rounds, high explosive/fragmentation, and thermobaric warheads (see below), with a UP-7V sighting device fitted (used in tandem with the standard 2.7× PGO-7 optical sight) to allow the use of extended range ammunition.

M1 Abrams

M1A1 AbramsM1A2 AbramsM1A1
This reduces the total number of rounds that need to be carried for different roles, which is particularly important for modern tanks like the M1 Abrams, due to the size of their 120 mm rounds.
The overall goal was to have a single new design with improved firepower to handle new Soviet tanks like the T-62, while providing improved protection against the T-62's new 115 mm smoothbore gun and especially high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) rounds.

Armour-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot

APFSDSarmour-piercing fin-stabilized discarding-sabotAPFSDS-T
To illustrate this: a stationary Soviet T-62 tank, firing a (smoothbore) cannon at a range of 1000 meters against a target moving 19 km/h was rated to have a first-round hit probability of 70% when firing a kinetic projectile.
Another reason for the use of smoothbore, and very low twist rate guns is that the most effective precision shaped charge designs, HEAT munitions, lose armor penetrating performance when rotating too fast.

Driving band

rotating band
The Germans were again the ones to produce the most capable gun-fired HEAT rounds, using a driving band on bearings to allow it to fly unspun from their existing rifled tank guns.
Freely rotating bands can be used to reduce the spin imparted to the round as is preferable for HEAT warheads or fin-stabilised projectiles fired from general-purpose rifled barrels.

Stielgranate 41

Stielgranate
Germany worked around this with the Stielgranate 41, introducing a round that was placed over the end on the outside of otherwise obsolete 37 mm anti-tank guns to produce a medium-range low-velocity weapon.
The large calibre of the HEAT warhead and shaped charge of 2.42 kg HE, enabled it to penetrate armour 180 mm thick, enough to defeat any World War II tank.

Kinetic energy penetrator

APFSDSkinetic energypenetrators
Paradoxically, this leads to situations when a kinetic armor-piercing projectile is more usable at long ranges than a HEAT projectile, despite the latter having a higher armor penetration.
There are two types of these shells in use: high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) and high-explosive squash head (HESH).

Missile

guided missilemissilesguided missiles
In non-gun applications, when HEAT warheads are delivered with missiles, rockets, bombs, grenades, or spigot mortars, the warhead size is no longer a limiting factor.
By the end of WWII, all forces had widely introduced unguided rockets using High-explosive anti-tank warheads as their major anti-tank weapon (see Panzerfaust, Bazooka).

Spaced armour

spaced armorSchürzenapplique
Spaced armor and slat armor are also designed to defend against HEAT rounds, protecting vehicles by causing premature detonation of the explosive at a relatively safe distance away from the main armor of the vehicle.
HEAT-type warheads use a focused jet of super heated copper or steel to penetrate armour.

T-54/T-55

T-55T-54T-54/55
The helicopters destroyed three T-54 tanks that were about to overrun a U.S. command post.
Advances in armour-piercing and HEAT ammunition would improve the gun's antitank capabilities in the 1960s and 1980s.

Reactive armour

explosive reactive armourexplosive reactive armorreactive armor
The HEAT warhead has become less effective against tanks and other armored vehicles due to the use of composite armor, explosive-reactive armor, and active protection systems which destroy the HEAT warhead before it hits the tank.
A further complication to the use of ERA is the inherent danger to anyone near the tank when a plate detonates, disregarding that a high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead explosion would already cause great danger to anyone near the tank.

High-explosive squash head

HESHhigh explosive squash headHEP
Unlike high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) rounds, which are shaped charge ammunition, HESH shells are not specifically designed to perforate the armour of main battle tanks.

Main battle tank

MBTmain battle tankstank
Improvements to the armor of main battle tanks have reduced the usefulness of HEAT warheads by making effective man portable HEAT missiles heavier, although many of the world's armies continue to carry man-portable HEAT rocket launchers for use against vehicles and bunkers.
One of the first new developments was the use of explosive reactive armour (ERA), developed by Israel in the early 1980s to defend against the shaped-charge warheads of modern anti-tank guided missiles and other such high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) projectiles.

M60 Patton

M60M60A1M60A3
The M1A1/M1A2 tank can carry only 40 rounds for its 120 mm M256 gun—the M60A3 Patton tank (the Abrams' predecessor), carried 63 rounds for its 105 mm M68 gun.