M903 Caliber .50 Saboted Light Armor Penetrator (SLAP)
Light Armor Penetrator Tracer (SLAPT)
MISSION: To maximize the effectiveness of the M2 machine gun in engagement and defeat of lightly armored targets. The M903 SLAP has demonstrated capability to provide greatly increased penetration (2 to 3 times the armor thickness at any given range) over that of ammunition currently fielded. The M962 SLAPT assures the precision of delivery necessary to take full advantage of this capability.
Velocity: 3985 feet per second
Maximum effective range: 4921.5 feet (1500 meters) against 3/4" High Hard Armor (HHA)
Unit Replacement Cost: $7.50 per round
Features: .50 caliber SLAP ammunition was developed by the Marine Corps during the mid/late 1980s and was approved for service use in 1990 during Operation Desert Storm. It uses a reduced caliber, heavy metal (tungsten) .30 inch diameter penetrator wrapped in a "plastic" sabot or "shoe" of .50 inch diameter.
Since the mass of the saboted penetrator is much lighter in weight than normal ball .50 caliber ammunition, SLAP's velocity can be significantly and safely increased in an unmodified M2 Machine Gun. This produces a very fast round with a very flat trajectory which enhances hit probability. SLAP ammuntion is completely interoperable with M2 machine guns with stellite liner.
Background: During the 1980s, the Marine Corps invested in both .50 caliber and 7.62 x 51 SLAP concepts. The .50 caliber effort was very successful and extends the light armor capability of the M2 Heavy Machine Gun significantly. The 7.62mm effort was not successful in the M60 and caused catastrophic barrel failures due to in-bore break-up of the sabot and the penetrator puncturing the side of the barrel. Also, its increase in penetration was not on the same order of magnitude as the .50 caliber SLAP's.
A fixed price contract for initial production of 3.5 million rounds of 4/1 linked M903/M962 for the U.S. Marine Corps use was awarded 1QFY94. Contractor for this activity is Olin Corporation. Cartridges are being loaded, assembled and packed by the Winchester Division, East Alton, IL. M962 tracer projectiles are charged at Lake City Army Ammunition Plant (LCAAP). Production of 0.6 million rounds for Army use began 2QFY96.
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