152 mm XM150E5 Gun/Launcher
The 152 mm XM150E5 Gun/Launcher is an American tank gun developed on the basis of the 152 mm Gun/Launcher M81. It, like the M81 Gun/Launcher preceding it, can fire both ATGMs and conventional tank shells, and is currently only featured on the MBT-70 and KPz-70.
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History of creation and combat usage
The XM150 152 mm gun/launcher was developed specifically for the MBT-70, and in essence was a longer-barreled and improved variant of the M81 gun/launcher used in the M551 Sheridan and M60A2 "Starship". It had the distinction of being able to fire both conventional anti-tank rounds (i.e. APFSDS, HEAT & high explosive), but also the MGM-51 Shillelagh guided missile, which had nearly double the maximum range of the current western tank gun at the time, the Royal Ordnance L7 (1.8 km for the L7 vs. 3 km on the XM150 with the Shillelagh missile). The ammunition featured combustible cases, and was complimented with both a laser rangefinder and an auto-loader.
Despite being a supposed 'improvement' over the M81 gun/launcher on the Sheridan, the same problems persisted throughout it's development. The combustible-case ammunition, when exposed to water, could either expand and not fit into the gun barrel or leave nasty residues behind in the gun barrel. On top of this, during the process of the auto-loader loading a new round into the chamber, there was a chance the combustible cases could deform. Premature firing of shells due to heat build-up in the cannon barrel was also present.
Many of these issues failed to be remedied, and by 1969, West Germany backed out of the development to pursue the development of their own indigenous MBT (which would become the Leopard 2). US efforts to continue development of the project went on until 1970, a hopeless effort to continue development of an already doomed concept, when the project was terminated by the US government.