Propulsion systems and propellants for artillery applications

Propulsion systems for artillery applications in 105 mm, 122 mm and 155 mm systems are part of the core business of Nitrochemie. In addition to propellants and ignition powders as well as combustible cartridge cases for various applications, Nitrochemie offers bag charges for 105 mm and 155 mm systems. Nitrochemie is also one of the leading manufacturers of 155 mm modular charge systems. All formulations are REACH compliant and stand out due to special properties such as high chemical and ballistic stability.

105 mm Artillery Charge System ACS67

Replacement for the M67 charge with the improved charge system ACS67, fully useable in climatic zone A1.

The bag charge system M67, which is still widely used, shows enormous stability problems under humid and hot climatic conditions.

Nitrochemie has developed the ACS67 charge system using the nitroglycerine free ECL® propellant, which provides a long operational lifetime of the charge, even under hot and humid conditions.

The ECL® propellant contains no toxic components which are harmful to health according to the latest European legislation. The Artillery Charge System ACS67 can be used with the gun systems M101, M102, L119 and LG 1 and the corresponding types of projectiles.


The charge increments in form of “donut bags” provide an easier handling for the soldier, a more structured placement of the bags and a better loading of the charge in the cartridge case.

With its flat temperature/velocity profile the ACS67 is meeting the range table of the M67 charge with improved accuracy. No changes of existing range tables are necessary.

ECL® Technology for ACS 67 Charges

  • The ECL® propellant is already qualified and in serial production in other calibres.
  • The ECL® propellant provides a very good pressure/velocity ratio.
  • The ECL® propellant offers excellent ballistic stability due to the fact that nitroglycerine is not used (no migration of blasting oil) and a lower temperature coefficient due to the use of surface coating at zone 3 to 7.
  • The donut bag design allows an easy handling for the troops.
  • The ECL® propellant recipe consists of non-toxic ingredients and even the health critical nitroglycerine is not used.
  • Low barrel erosion due to relatively low flame temperature.

122 mm Artillery Propellants

The 122 mm calibre has been used for artillery since the early 20th century. The gun remains a deployed asset of artillery forces in several countries.
For 122 mm artillery ammunition four different types of propellant are commonly used:
Propellant Technology Geometry For Projectile Type
12/1 Single base, Akardite stabilized, REACH compliant Stick, 1-hole Full charge ZH-9
4/1 Single base, Akardite stabilized, REACH compliant Stick, 1-hole Reduced charge ZH-10
12/7 Single base, Akardite stabilized, REACH compliant Granular, 7-hole Full charge ZH-9
9/7 Single base, Akardite stabilized, REACH compliant Granular, 7-hole Reduced charge ZH-10

For this particular application, the strengths of our products are:

  • No pressure waves due to high ballistic stability and equal ballistic performance
  • Modern REACH compliant stabilizers
  • At least ten years of shelf life due to high chemical stability
  • Low standard deviation for velocity and pressure
  • Low lot to lot variation due to high process stability in the manufacturing process
  • Graphitized propellant surface to minimize risk of electrostatic charging

155 mm Artillery Modular Charge System


Interoperability with all NATO Standard 39 and 52 cal. Weapons and Ammunition configurations

The 155 mm Artillery Modular Charge System has been developed for use in all NATO standard 39 and 52 calibre gun configurations with associated projectiles complying with the Joint Ballistic Memorandum of Understanding (JBMOU).

DM82A1 low zone and the DM72/DM92 high zone modules are in service with more than 10 user countries (NATO and others) and in qualification with other customers. More than 1.5 million modules have been produced and fielded to date including operational deployment.

General Product Information

  • Fully qualified with requirements of JBMOU
  • Increased range to >40 km with ER projectiles
  • Bi-modular charge design low zone DM82A1 and high zone DM72/92 (high stow capacity, improved logistics)
  • Unique ignition booster design enables safe ignition and prevents pressure waves and negative differential pressures in all loading conditions and temperatures
  • Excellent IM characteristics
  • Low barrel wear, low toxicity of ingredients
  • Combustion without residue
155 mm Artillery Modular Charge System

Environmental robustness under extreme conditions

Besides the proven interoperability in serval gun systems, the Nitrochemie Modular Charge System stands out for its environmental robustness and durability under extreme environmental conditions.

The extremely demanding logistic and tactical rough handling testing has been extended to include A1 hot (+ 35 to + 71 °C), C2 cold (-37 to – 46 °C) climatic cycle and thermal shock at - 51 °C and + 71 °C in metal or plastic containers (CT-NC-series).

These tests were conducted by several independent governmental authorities of NATO and non NATO users.

Insensitive Munitions Compliance

The modular charge system has been tested in accordance with the STANAG requirements for IM munitions including shaped charge attack from M777 bomblet sub-munitions and the 87mm RPG7 shaped charge. In all tests, type IV to V reactions have been demonstrated.

Ballistic Requirements for 39 cal. Gun
Range and Range Overlap for 39 cal. Gun (FH70, M109, M777)
Ballistic Requirements for 52 cal. Gun (PzH 2000)
Range and Range Overlap for 52 cal. Gun (PzH 2000)

155 mm Artillery Bag Charges

For many years, Nitrochemie has been offering a bag charge system for 155 mm artillery. It has originally been designed for the M109 with barrel L39 (M185 / M284) or L47.

The charge system offers zones 3 to 7 in one system. The propellant is a REACH compliant single-base type. The charge includes a de-coppering additive and ingredients to reduce muzzle flash.

Zones 3 to 7 offer different zone configurations for ideal range overlap.

Zone 3 has an integrated ignition pad and a cross-shaped propellant, which supports the ignition.

Zones 4 to 7 contain stick propellant.

Performance (M109; L39, LV 18.8 dm3 / L47, LV 20.7 dm3)

Charge Velocity (m/s) Approx. Pressure (bar)
3 284 520
4 326 610
5 386 750
6 469 1.060
7 564 1.680

Additional to fully assembled charges, Nitrochemie can offer charge components and propellants for bag charges such as M3A1 (Green Bag) or M119A2 (Red Bag).

Further information

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