The 25mm frangible armour piercing (FAP) ammunition "possesses superior lethality against enemy vehicles in air-to-ground engagement and enemy aircraft in air-to-air engagements" and is already in service with the United States Air Force.
“The 25mm FAP is a true all-purpose munition for the 21st century,” said Rheinmetall Defence Australia managing director Gary Stewart.
“Importantly, the FAP technology contains no explosives, ensuring maximum safety in the aircraft or in storage and transportation, as well as enabling it to be used in training.”
The FAP round was developed by Rheinmetall to "provide the F-35 a non-DU and non-HE cartridge with superior lethality against modern infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) at extreme slant ranges while still remaining deadly against enemy aircraft in air-to-air engagements", with each round fitted with a heavy metal alloy penetrator that disintegrates into multiple fragments.
As those fragments move deeper within the target, the number of fragments increase, which turns "into a cascade of heavy metal".
This means it is "highly effective" at neutralising armoured targets on the ground and in the air, according to Rheinmetall.
This design also never ricochets, due to the projectile core disintegrating upon impact, which is unlike conventional aircraft ammunition.
The round was developed for and in conjunction with NATO air forces.
Rheinmetall is the largest supplier of military vehicles to the Australian Defence Force, and recently announced the establishment of a $60 million 155mm artillery shell forging facility in Maryborough, Queensland, alongside munitions partner NIOA.