XM35 (105 mm)
The 105 mm Gun XM35, originally designated as the 105 mm Gun EX35 and later type-classified as the 105 mm Gun M35, was a rifled low recoil tank gun developed in the 1980’s by the Watervliet Arsenal’s Benet Laboratory for the US Army. It was a low recoil variant of the tried and true M68 series, used on American tanks since its first testing by the US in 1958 and production in 1959. It was designed to be used on light armored vehicles rather than full size tanks.
Vehicles equipped with this weapon
Tell us about the tactical and technical characteristics of the cannon or machine gun.
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Comparison with analogues
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Usage in battles
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Pros and cons
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The EX35 began development at the Watervliet Arsenal’s Benet Laboratories in 1983 to meet a United States Army requirement for a low recoil 105 mm rifled gun. The requirements were for a gun that had a lower weight and lower recoil, allow for compatibility with an automatic loading system and all current 105 mm ammunition, and finally it had to maintain the accuracy of the M68.
The first prototype of the new gun, based on the 105 mm Gun M68, was completed and test fired after only eleven months of development. The new gun type, designated first as the 105 mm Gun EX35 and later the 105 mm Gun XM35, was fitted in both the General Motors and Cadillac Gage LAV-105 fire support vehicle as well as the Food Machinery Corporation (FMC) 105 mm Armored Gun System XM8 light tank. The gun was type-classified as the 105 mm Gun M35 but neither the LAV-105 nor XM8 AGS entered production and neither did the M35. The M35 though has been used in more modern variants of the XM8 such as that delivered to the US Army in 2020 for testing as part of the Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) competition.
Though based on the 105 mm M68 gun, the XM35 was significantly different. It retained a barrel length of 5.46 meters (L/52) as on the M68 but featured a newly designed and reinforced breech which allowed it to fire modern APFSDS rounds like the M68A1 could (see ammunition section below). The breech was a multi lug type which supposedly allowed for weight reduction. It used recoil and recuperator cylinders of a small diameter, each recuperator cylinder with a bayonet fitting to allow for easy replacement in the field. An integrated muzzle break with thirty-five percent efficiency was included.
During testing of the first prototype XM35, it was proven that it reduced recoil impulse by twenty-two percent compared to the M68. It weighed only 1,270 kilograms.
The XM35 guns mounted in the LAV-105 all featured a downward opening breech mechanism for use with an automatic loading system designed by the UK-based Fairey Hydraulics Limited (FHL). This automatic loading system had a nominal loading time of 7.5 seconds. When fitted in the LAV-105 the gun had a 559 mm recoil length.
When mounted in the XM8 AGS the XM35 had a horizontal opening breech mechanism and also featured an automatic loading system but it was one developed by the American company United Defense, Armament Systems Division. This automatic loading system could maintain a nominal 5-second reloading time. When fitted in the XM8 the gun had a 762 mm recoil length.
The 105 mm XM35 was designed to have the capability to fire all the then available 105 mm ammunition types, including those limited to the M68A1 and not capable of being fired out of the original M68. Nine types of ammunition were evaluated on the XM8 AGS. These included two training munitions, M490A1 TP-T and M724A1 TPDS-T. Special purpose rounds included M393A1 HEP-T, M393A2 HEP-T, M416 WP-T, and M456A2 APERS-T. Primary anti-tank ammunition included M456A2 HEAT-T, M833 APFSDS-T, and M900 APFSDS-T. It was stated that the gun was compatible with all NATO standard 105 mm ammunition but the above list is all the ammunition stated to have been tested on the XM8 AGS platform.
One thing worthy of note is that the M900 APFSDS-T round was incapable of being fired out of the M68 and could only be fired from the M68A1 which had a reinforced breech. Despite being based on the M68 the XM35 did have a reinforced breech and could and did fire the M900 round as listed above.
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- other literature.
- Sheridan: A History of the American Light Tank, Volume 2 - R.P. Hunnicutt
- Armor, January-February 1996 Edition
|USA tank cannons|
|25 mm||LW25 · M242|
|37 mm||M3 · M5 · M6|
|75 mm||M2 · M2 Howitzer · M3 · M6 · M1897A4 · XM274|
|76 mm||M1 · M7 · M32 · T185E1|
|90 mm||M3 · M3A1 · M36 · M41 · M54 · T15E1 · T15E2 · T54 · T208E9|
|105 mm||M4 · M68 · M68A1 · M68A1E8 · Sharir · T5E1 · T5E2 · T140E2|
|120 mm||IMI MG251 · M58 · M256 · T53|
|152 mm||M81 · M162 · XM150E5|
|57 mm||6pdr OQF Mk.III · ZIS-2|