AMENDMENTS AND ADDITIONAL NOTES TO "RAPID FIRE"
(last revised January 2013)
When I wrote 'Rapid Fire', I tried very hard to ensure that it contained no mistakes whatsoever! I have since realised that such an aspiration was unrealistic; information keeps trickling in which corrects, or adds to, that which I had before. With any such book, there is a choice between getting a reasonably complete one published, and spending the rest of your life trying to ensure it is perfect, but never seeing it in print! I have accordingly posted these pages to correct, expand upon and update 'Rapid Fire'; I hope readers will find them useful.
Corrections are in black, additional information in green, latest changes in red.
Thanks are due to the following for their contributions:
"ABNredleg" from TankNet, Paul Allcock, M. Angelelli, Alec Beanse, Ryan Boerema, Ted Bradstreet, Garry Brookes, Harold Brookshire, Lewis Curtis, Alexander Diehl, Tony DiGiulian, Denis Evstafyev, Vasiliy Fofanov, Björn Forsman, Robert Gerber, Roy Goodman, Antonio Gottardi, Tim Gurney, Emmanuel Gustin, Jason Herring, Frank Iannamico (article on .50 BMG in Sep 2007 Small Arms Review), Andrew Jaremkow, Tarjei Jensen, Christian Koll*, Bob Mackenzie, Harald Mezger, Dirk Paulfeuerborn, Max Popenker, Michael Rausch, Bryden Ritchie, Gert Rossouw, Yuji Sasaki, Tom Schoene, Lothar Tabbert, Simon Tan, Geoffrey Tillotson, Jakub Uchytil, Lee Unterborn, Caspar Vermeulen, Jarkko Vihavainen, Hans-Christian Vortisch, Daniel Watters, Chris Werb, Bill Woodin, Vladimir Yakubov, Timothy Yan and Harry Zertner
* with particular reference
to Chris' excellent book, 'Soviet Cannon'
The following German spelling notes have been provided by Harald Mezger (with additional comments from Hans-Christian Vortisch and Dirk Paulfeuerborn):
In the following 'ue' is used as digraph form of the umlaut-u, (ü) which often does not survive travelling through email channels.
a) The word "Panzerbuesche" is consistently used as the German term for "anti-tank rifle", e.g. appendix one, p. 213. That is great fun for German readers, because it literally means "armored bushes": Panzer / armour; der Busch / the bush, die Buesche / the bushes. Probably not what you had in mind, which would be "Panzerbuechse". "Buechse" is the slightly archaic German term for "rifle", a more modern one would be "Gewehr". It was nevertheless widely used in military designations, e.g. the "Panzerschreck" Bazooka was called a Raketenpanzerbuechse".
b) On page 13, you mention for the first time the APCR or "Hardkernmunition" "Panzergranat 40". A very discerning (or insufferably nagging) reader could point out that this should be "Panzergranate 40", with a trailing "e", which makes a difference because there are hardly any silent letters in German. Well done on page 32, p. 276 etc. To be literal, a "Panzergranat" would be translated as "armoured shrimp". No, I am not kidding: die Granate / the shell, the grenade; der Granat / a species of large, edible North Sea shrimp. Admittedly, it is a word rarely used by anyone but fishermen, seafood wholesalers, and biologists.
c) p. 15: "Pfeil-geschoss" would better be "Pfeilgeschoss". The exact lexical rules for combing words into portmanteau terms are impenetrable even to Germans. "M-Geschoss" is spelled like this because the "M" represents an abbreviation, the full term would be "Minengeschoss" (correctly done throughout 'Rapid Fire'). Rule of thumb: when in doubt, don't separate German component terms if the components are used metaphorically or descriptively, to describe an organic whole. Examples: the "Gurt-Kanone" on p. 71 could be spelled like this, whereas the "Revolver-Kanone" on p.78 probably would be written as one word. The Gurt is not a necessary and indispensable part of the Kanone. If by now you find such fine-grained spelling rules pointless and hair-splitting, you are completely right ...
d) p. 55: "Rheinische Metallwaaren-und-Maschienenfabrik" should be "Rheinische Metallwaren- und Maschinenfabrik".
e) p. 60: "Luftwaffe's Rüstsatze" should be "Luftwaffen Rüstsätze"
f) p. 66 "Seebach Maschienenbau Aktien Gesellschaft": I don't know how the Swiss handle their spelling, but normally "Aktiengesellschaft" is one word. The lack of "-" between the words is not necessarily a mistake, more a matter of choice.
g) p. 94: Leichter Flakpanzer IV 'Kuegelblitz'. Actually, there is no "ue" in 'Kugel', only in its diminutive forms. Leichter Flakpanzer IV 'Kugelblitz' would be correct.
h) p. 106: "Waffenwerke Brunn". That city was called "Bruenn" in German, with an u-umlaut.
i) p. 221: "Patronen 318" is the plural, "Patrone 318" would be the more usual singular.
The following notes on Czech designations have been provided by Jakub Uchytil:
You say "ZB vz/53 and 15 mm ZB vz/60."
This is a common mistake with Czech / Czechoslovak weapons; It should be ZB
53 and ZB 60. "vz" means "vzor" or "model" and is usually used in army designations together with the year when such weapon entered service.
Zbrojovka Brno factory designations
(ZB) did often use the year in the number, but not always; it is true for the
ZB26, ZB30, ZGB33 modifications of the famous LMG, and also for ZB 37 HMG (which
was previously designated ZB 53....).The year was not used on ZB 53, ZB 60, ZB
80 and such weapons. "vz" or "vzor" would not be used in factory designations
To further complicate this, "ZB 26" was taken into army service as "light machinegun vz. 26". Same I believe for ZB 37 which became "heavy machinegun vz. 37". ZB 60 never entered service with our army, and as such was not given "vz" designation; had this happened, it would likely become "heavy machinegun vz.35". Likewise ZB 501 became "LMG vz. 52" etc. etc.
There are exceptions to the rule of course (!!!), take the CZ 47/p submachinegun (factory designation from Ceska Zbrojovka), which was originally designated "SMG vz. 48a and vz. 48b" - correctly by year when it entered service, then, for whatever reason, in 1950 it was redesignated to "vz. 23 and vz. 25" - obviously no connection with years here - and then after conversion to Russian 7.62mm ammo it was designated "7.62 mm submachinegun vz. 24 and vz. 26". Just normal silly army nomenclature mistakes I guess, same as the vz. 58 (again back to year when it entered service) assault rifle being called "submachinegun vz.58" - it's still called that today.
CHAPTER 1: THE CARTRIDGE
The diagram of a cartridge case identifies the "head" as the extreme end, encompassing the primer. This area is now commonly known as the "base" of the case (although the term "headstamp" still remains) with "head" reserved for the portion of the case just forward of the extractor groove, rim or belt.
PAGE 14, 211 and 230:
More information has emerged about APDS ammunition for the Russian 30x165 cartridge used in the 2A42 and 2A72. The first generation was known as "Trezubka"; the entire projectile (including sabot) weighed 390g and was fired at 870 m/s to achieve a penetration of 25mm/1000m/60 degrees, the latest is known as "Kerner", with figures of 304g at 1,120 m/s and 25mm/1,500m/60 degrees.
The following data on Oerlikon ammunition were produced in the late 1990s:
35x228mm APDS-T : weight projectile: 380g mv: 1440m/s: penetration 90mm/0°/1000m
35x228mm APFSDS-T weight penetrator: 388g mv 1417m/s penetration 120mm/0°/1000m
50x330mm APFSDS-T weight penetrator 640g mv 1600m/s penetration 180mm/0°/1000m
(NB the data for the 50x330 on page 213 needs correcting; it should have said "APFSDS" anyway!)
There was one example of an attempt to use an APFSDS shot in aircraft. The 40mm PGU-31/B was developed for the Bofors gun fitted to the AC-130U gunship. The business end was a 230g tungsten alloy penetrator (11mm diameter with a 15:1 L/D ratio) which had a blunt tip covered by an aluminium windshield containing some incendiary compound to produce a bright flash on impact. Muzzle velocity was 1,335 m/s, giving a muzzle energy of 205,000 joules. However the tests, carried out in the late 1980s/early 1990s, were unsuccessful and the round was not accepted.
The 30mm APFSDS suffers from severe rifling-induced yaw in the early part of its trajectory, and doesn't entirely settle down until it has passed 400m. Nammo have accordingly elected to use a slip-ring driving band to minimise the spin imparted to the projectile, although RWM (Rheinmetall Waffen und Munition - which has absorbed Oerlikon, Mauser and NWM) has selected a solid sabot for their 30x173 loading. Both are being offered for the MK44 gun in the USMC's amphibious EFV. The RWM version (developed in conjunction with Mauser) weighs 235g, is fired at 1,385 m/s and penetrates 58mm at 1,000m: it is being offered by ATK for the EFV requirement.
Nammo and RWM APFSDS projectiles were both tested in the 30x170 case of the Rarden gun, which resulted in 2007 in the selection and qualification of the RWM as the L21A1, which RWM offers in kit form for Rarden users to assemble; it is now known whether any orders have been placed. RWM were working on an APFSDS round for the Russian 30x165 but that has since been cancelled.
One unusual application of APFSDS shot is the 30x173 MK258 RAMICS round (Rapid Airborne Mine Clearance Programme), intended for firing vertically downwards from a helicopter to detonate or sink sea mines. It has a blunt nose to achieve a supercavitating effect, and can sink mines detected by a blue-green LIDAR at depths of up to 60m. Sadly this interesting project was stopped in May 2011.
The 20x102 PGU-28/B "Multipurpose" ammunition used in the US M61 aircraft guns went through a period of suffering an unacceptable degree of premature detonations so the M50 series remained in service, with the PGU-28/B for emergency use only. In 2007 it was reported that modifications to the projectile had resolved the problem. It should be noted, however, that the M50 series may be more appropriate for the ground-attack missions for which the guns are currently employed, as it uses instant-action fuzes rather than the delayed-action which is inherent in the Multipurpose design; the latter may result in the shell being buried underground before it explodes. Modern aircraft gun ammunition has therefore been developed by GD-OTS with mechanical "super-quick" fuzes, specifically for ground attack.
A 27mm Multipurpose round has been developed by Nammo under contract to the UK and has been qualified as the M90, initially for use in Tornado planes.
Nammo has developed a different form of multipurpose ammunition known as APEX (Armour Piercing EXplosive). This has a tungsten carbide penetrator for enhanced penetration, combined with HEI elements and with a delayed-action fuze. It is intended for aircraft use and is being developed in 25mm calibre for the F-35 fighter, in cooperation with Thales Australia. It is also offered in 20x102 calibre.
FAPDS ammunition is now available for the 23x152B ZU AA guns (PMA 276 from RWM; 150 g at 1,180 m/s), for the 30x173 (FAPIDS from RWM - 235 g at 1,405 m/s) and for the 35x228 Oerlikon from RWM: the PMD 055 plus the DM33 now in service for the German Gepard (both 396/298g (total/penetrator) at 1,400 m/s). Poland has tested a 35mm FAPDS in the Loara-A SPAAG. Canada has bought the RWM 25mm PMB 098 FAPDS for anti-helicopter use by LAVs. A 27mm FAPDS has been developed as the standard round for the MLG 27, the naval version of the Mauser BK 27 now in German Navy service. RWM was developing the PMC 304 FAPDS in the Russian 30x165 calibre for the 2A42/2A72 guns in BMPs, but this has been cancelled.
The frangible projectile design has now been adapted for aircraft use by RWM, in its new 20mm FAP (Frangible Armour Piercing) PEA 280 ammunition, which may be fired from M39 and M61 cannon. This is a full-calibre shot ballistically matched to the PGU-28/B HEI round, and is intended for use against both unarmoured and lightly-armoured targets such as aircraft and ground vehicles. As with FAPDS, the tungsten alloy projectile breaks up on impact, sending a shower of fragments through the target. There are incendiary effects as each fragment strikes a surface, and the cloud of fragments travelling at supersonic velocity generates a powerful shock wave, adding to the general mayhem. As the projectile contains no explosive, it is subject to less restrictive transport and storage regulations than HE rounds. A 25mm FAP is being developed jointly by Rheinmetall and TNO for the planned Dutch buy of F-35 fighters, and the USMC is also proposing to adopt FAP to replace its DU-cored PGU-20/U in the F-35.
Diehl has produced a rival to the FAP concept with the PELE (Penetrator with Enhanced Lateral Efficiency). This consists of a hard steel shell body with a lightweight (alloy or plastic) core and a light nose-cap, designed in such a way that the stresses of penetrating the target cause it to disintegrate in much the same way as FAP. In most versions a layer of small metal balls surrounds the core to provide additional fragmentation. The following rounds have already been qualified in Germany: 12.7 x 99 (M-DN 193); 20 x 102 (M-DN 203/293 - tracer); 20 x 139 (M-DN 213) and 27 x 145 B (DM-83/93 - tracer). Still under development are versions on 25 x 137 (M-DN 283) and 30 x 173 (M-DN 263). Projectile weights and muzzle velocities are standard. Penetration figures are given as follows: 12.7 x 99 = 22 mm/91 m; 20 x 102 = 10 mm/500 m; 20 x 139 = 12 mm/500 m; 25 x 137 = 13 mm/1,000 m/30 degrees; 27 x 145 B = 30 mm/100 m/30 degrees; 30 x 173 = 30 mm/100 m. They will all fragment after penetrating 2 mm Dural, except for the 12.7 x 99 which requires 3 mm. The DM83 PELE round in 27mm calibre is in service with Germany and Hungary. RWM has acquired the rights to the technology and is sharing development and production with Diehl.
Frangible rounds are also being produced for training, e.g. the Nammo TP-RRR (reduced ricochet risk) is intended for aircraft use when firing at ground targets, to eliminate the risk of projectiles being deflected back into the aircraft's path.
RWM Oerlikon AHEAD ammunition: three additional variations have been developed in 35x228 calibre. One is intended for anti-personnel use when fired from MICVs such as the CV9035, and has a larger number (341 instead of 152) of smaller (1.24g, 4.65 mm diameter instead of 3.3g, 5.85mm diam) tungsten pellets. This was formerly known as ABM (Air Bursting Munition) but is now known as the KETF (Kinetic Energy Time Fuzed). Unlike normal AHEAD, it is designed to produce fragmentation lobes to enable the engagement of targets in defilade. The second 35x228 type is an experimental one for the C-RAM role (Counter Rocket, Artillery, Mortar) for which the Oerlikon Millennium gun is being developed. Details of this are not available and its status is unclear. The third is intended for use against small reconnaissance types of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). It is designated PMD375 and contains 860 sub-projectiles, each weighing 0.64 g, to improve the hit probability against small targets.
The KETF is also available in 30x173 calibre (which contains 162 of the 1.24g pellets from the 35mm), in which is has been selected by the German Army for the Mauser MK 30-2 gun in its Puma MICV. It is also being offered to the USMC as the MK310 Mod 0: it weighs 423 g and is fired at 980 m/s.
Fuzes: I neglected to mention the "air fuze", which relies on the violent compression on impact of a column of air to ignite the fuze. This operating principle saw some use by the RAF (in the 20mm Hispano) and also by the Japanese, by whom it was known as the KUKI-SHINKAN. It appears to have only been used for aircraft guns, and the Japanese Army in particular valued it because their Ho-103 and Ho-5 guns fired HE shells from closed bolts, so it was important to use a fuze which was not ignited by heat in the chamber. Russia used them as well, in the 12.7mm MDZ projectile and in the 20mm ShVAK.
The 20mm OICW has been replaced by the 25mm XM25 in 25x40B calibre. This retains the turn-count fuze, as does the 25x59B airburst ammunition used in the ATK LW25.
Propellant technology continues to develop, with particular success being enjoyed by the products of Nitrochemie Wimmis AG (simply known generally as "Wimmis propellant") which are especially temperature-stable, delivering consistent performance regardless of ambient conditions.
It is now technically possible to combine electric with percussion primers, although it is not clear whether anyone has done this.
A recent development, commencing in small-arms although probably extending upwards in due course, is the development of non-toxic, lead-free "green" primers, to reduce pollution, alongside the development of lead-free bullets.
Attempts to produce light-alloy cartridge cases in calibres smaller than the current 30x113B and 30x173 continue, but so far without success. In fact, even in 30mm the advantages only outweigh the disadvantages where weight-saving is critical, as it is in aircraft applications where there are large ammunition capacities (i.e., the A-10 and the AH-64). Where the percussion-primed 30x173 has been adopted for ground guns such as the MK44 and the Mauser MK30-2, steel cases are now used. Stainless steel is now being experimentally developed for small-arms calibres, and polymer is being tried again with new, high-temperature materials (still retaining a metal base for the necessary strength to cope with extraction forces). Probably the main candidate among larger calibres for lighter ammunition will be heavy machine guns, since their ammo is often man-packed.
There is more information on ballistics HERE.
Ammunition for the "Super 40" version of the Bushmaster II is as expected a straight-cased 40x180 (actually of 39mm calibre) version of the 30x173. See notes on Page 207.
The Russian 57mm calibre appears to be experiencing a minor revival in terms of new guns and ammunition types, as described in the army and navy sections below.
The 76mm calibre has also reappeared in an AA gun, in the form of the Italian Draco described in the army section.
CHAPTER 2: THE GUNS
It isn't quite correct to say that the artillery with a smooth-bored final section of the barrel (namely, the British 3.7 inch Mk VI high-velocity AA gun of WW2) had this to smooth down the driving band, although this was an incidental benefit. This was known as a "Probertised" barrel (technically "RD Rifling") after Probert, the British inventor and was developed as part of a complex system of extending barrel life in a gun which suffered high erosion, in combination with two driving bands.
While the 30mm ASP could be fired from a .50 M2 tripod, this didn't work too well, leading to inaccuracy. The gun was not successful.
Differential recoil is now being used in smaller weapons than automatic cannon in order to even out the recoil forces: the experimental XM307 25mm AGL (now cancelled) used this as does a spin-off design in .50 calibre, the XM806, which was cancelled in 2001 due to lack of a requirement. However, some of the technology has been transferred to the GD-ATP LWMMG (Lightweight Medium Machine Gun) in .338 Norma Magnum calibre, announced in 2012.
A new development since publishing the book has been the introduction and runaway success of remotely-controlled external gun mountings aimed by video cameras (while the gunner stays within the vehicle or ship). Many such mountings are available in sizes to accept anything from RCMGs to 30mm cannon, with the .50 BMG versions being the most common. All but the smallest are stabilised so that they can easily be aimed from a moving vehicle or naval vessel.
More advanced sights are becoming available for smaller army guns such as automatic grenade launchers and heavy machine guns. These incorporate laser rangefinders and ballistic computers which work together to indicate to the firer the correct aiming point to hit a designated target. They may also include a thermal imager for accurate shooting at night. Such sights may also be used to set the time fuzes of AGLs using airburst ammunition.
The problem of heat build-up in barrels is being addressed by the development in the USA of high-temperature cobalt alloys able to retain their integrity even at extreme temperatures. These are initially being developed for RCMGs but will have obvious applications elsewhere.
The Gatling gun shown in the photo is of .45" calibre, not .65" as stated. The .65" is illustrated in one of the colour plates which follow page 96.
The 37 mm Hotchkiss revolver gun was used extensively on land, that is in the German and French forts for the defence of the ditches. In 1877 the French started the first tests during which the Hotchkiss design proved best. It was introduced in 1879 in a calibre of 40 mm. The gun fired canister each loaded 24 balls of 32 gram Quite interesting is the rifling of the barrels. To get a better dispersion the angle of the rifling of each barrel was different, ranging from 1 turn in 1 m. to 6.70 m. The average rate of fire was 30 rounds per minute. The gun weighted 500 kg. 708 guns were ordered to be produced by 1882, and more may have been made since the French defences were extended after 1882. The French used the original 40mm gun into the early part of WW1 at the Verdun forts, for example. The guns were retained after World War One and the last guns are known to have fired in 1940. Two guns still exist: Musée des Invalides in Paris: this gun comes from Verdun, but it is missing many parts; and Fort d’Uxegney: totally restored and ready to fire.
The German revolver guns were almost identical to the French and produced by Gruson under license, although in a calibre of 37 mm. They had a rate of fire of 40 rounds/minute and fired canister with a range of 300 m. and HE with a range of 1,000 m.From 1889 onwards these guns were replaced in the German forts by manually loaded 5.3 cm guns, which used different ammunition from that used in the biggest of the Hotchkiss naval revolving cannon. In WW1 the Germans used the 37mm version at Metz, Thionville etc. These guns were able to obtain a rate of 40 rounds per minute. Some attempts were made to use them on AA mountings but these were not successful. They were later replaced by the MG 08.
An interesting note regarding the French and German development. The French thought of the use of machine guns in the defence of their ditches. However only few were used, since they lacked the firing power and their trajectory was too flat. In comparison a single revolver gun could fire at least 720 balls per minute which weighted 32 gram with a more curved trajectory allowing them to better cover any crater in the ditch. Pointing wasn’t considered very important with a field of fire of lets say 200 x 10 m.
Other rotary-locked short-recoil cannon include the Soviet 23mm NR-23 (Nudelman & Rikhter) aircraft gun.
As mentioned in the aircraft gun section below, it appears that the Rheinmetall Lb 204 was chambered in 20x105B and remained experimental; the gun was modified to fire 20x105 and redesignated MG 204 for service use.
PAGE 57, 58, 144, 146, 217, 232, 248:
Erhardt should be spelled Ehrhardt.
PAGE 61, 96, 131, 240 & 248:
The 1.1" USN was not based on a Browning design as stated; it was designed by Mr R F Hudson of the Navy Gun Factory in Washington. It was one of a series of guns intended by the designer to extend up to 3 inch calibre (although apart from the 1.1 inch only .30 and .50 versions were built). It used a gas-operated, long-recoil design which was rather complex but provided a smooth recoil impulse. It was first tested in 1933 but the quad mounting was not put into production until 1939. It required careful maintenance which became difficult to sustain in wartime conditions, so was soon replaced by the 20mm Oerlikon and 40mm Bofors, although it remained in service until 1945.
More information on the Bofors automatic guns and ammunition, from 20mm to 57mm calibre, is HERE. The following extract from it summarises the development of the Soviet 25mm and 37mm guns and their relationship to the Bofors designs:
AA gun developments in the Soviet Union were based on the Bofors long-recoil
designs, although none was a direct copy.
The USSR was initially interested in a 45mm gun based on the 40mm Bofors, using a unique cartridge which has never been seen, although it was about 500mm long overall and fired a 1.45 kg shell at 960 m/s. This weapon fired at 120-140 rpm, but was felt to be too big and heavy and was replaced by the scaled-down M1939, chambered for a 37x250R cartridge and firing at 160-180 rpm, which proved highly successful. The 37mm M1939 was subsequently adopted by the Chinese who continue to make AA weapons in this calibre, although the latest naval versions are chambered for a new rimless bottlenecked round of greater power, the 37x240.
The 37mm M1939 was still felt to be somewhat large for a mobile AA gun so the design was scaled-down to 25mm to create the M1940. This was not a copy of the Bofors 25mm m/32, differing in various aspects of the gun and ammunition design. It fired at 240 rpm. Production of the M1940 did not really get underway until 1942 and peaked in 1944, when a twin mounting was introduced. A version of the 25mm gun, the 84-KM in a single mount, was made for the Soviet Navy starting in 1944 but only a few hundred were made.
After World War 2 production of the 25mm M1940 and 84-KM ceased but it was decided to make an improved version for the Soviet Navy. This was the 110-PM by Nudelman, which departed from the Bofors-type long-recoil mechanism of the earlier guns in being a short-recoil design (basically a scaled-up version of the 23mm NS-23 aircraft gun) chambered for modified, rimless 25x218 ammunition. This gun appeared in the unusual twin-barrel 2M-3 mounting, with the guns stacked one above the other. The rate of fire was initially only 270-300 rpm per barrel, but in the late 1950s this was greatly improved in the modified 2M-3M to 470-480 rpm. This weapon was adopted by the Chinese Navy and remains in service in some second-rank navies, principally in smaller craft such as fast patrol boats."
Some more information about the Russian 45mm AA gun which was the precursor to the 37mm M39. The following data has been provided: "During the 1938 trials the round weight was 1.44 kg and 1.46kg, the charge was 545 grams of mark 7/7 gun powder and MV was 960 m/s. During the 1940 trials the round weight was 1.463kg, the charge was 518 grams of mark 7/7 gun powder. The MV was 928.6m/s after the first round, 862 m/s after the 603rd round and 828m/s after the 1008th round. The cyclic RoF was at 0 degrees 140 rpm, at +85 degrees 120 rpm. The practical RoF was 70 rpm (max single burst length). The gun had a quick change barrel, the time to change barrel was 100 sec. The length of the barrel (without the breech and flash suppressor) - 3,150mm or 75 calibers. The weight of the barrel was 112 kg, the weight of the recoil mechanism was 276kg. The total weight of the barrel with everything attached was 675kg. The elevation was from -5 to +85 degrees, the elevation rate was 15-18 deg/s, the train rate was 50 deg/s. The total weight of the system was 2830 kg. The gun sight was calibrated to work from 0-5000 m for the targets moving from 0-140 m/s. The gun crew was 5 people and the weight of one clip was 10.5 kg."
PAGE 67 & 172:
API blowbacks: the Swiss Oerlikon company were in fact able to increase the rate of fire of these guns. The 1942 1SS (a modified version of the SS, chambered for the same 20x110RB cartridge) achieved 530-600 rpm and reportedly saw service with the German army. The later 2SS, produced around 1945, was the last of the line and reached 650 rpm. See the item Of Oerlikons and Other Things on my website.
PAGE 69 & 88:
The 15mm ZB vz 60 (Besa) was originally designed as a 20mm gun and successfully tested in 1933 (it fired at 250 rpm) but the Czech Army refused it and demanded an HMG instead; originally in 14.5mm, later increased to 15mm.
PAGE 71 & 78:
The NR-30 is not gas-operated as stated: it uses a linear recoil-operated design. The confusion over this was caused by the existence of a gas-operated mechanism: however this does not act on the breechblock, it is only used to break the recoil of the barrel and to pull it forwards again. So, actually the operation mechanism is short recoil with a gas mechanism saving the weight of the barrel return spring.
The ZU-23 is really the designation of the AA gun system: the 23mm guns are referred to as the 2A7 (water-cooled barrel and other differences, for the ZSU-23-4 Shilka SPAAG) and the 2A14 (air-cooled barrel, for the ZU-23 AA gun and everything else).
The Oerlikon 35/1000 revolver cannon is now designated the KDG, and is installed in the Millennium mounting.
Yugoslavia developed the Zastava M86 (single feed) and M89 (dual feed) gas-operated AFV cannon to use the old Russian 30x210B NN-30 ammunition. These are still being offered by Zastava of Serbia.
The Mauser MK 30 is now available in two versions; the MK 30-1, chambered for the aluminium-cased and percussion-primed 30x173 ammunition for the GAU-8/A, and the MK 30-2, chambered for steel-cased ammo: the case is similar to that for the Oerlikon KCA but is percussion rather than electric primed. There are some small differences in specification; the 30-1 weighs 161 kg, is 335 cm long and fires at 800 rpm, while the 30-2 weighs 173 kg, is 331 cm long and fires at up to 700 rpm (variable).
Both steel and alloy-cased percussion 30 x 173 ammunition can be used in the Bushmaster II Chain Gun (Mk 44).
A data sheet for the Oerlikon KBB is attached HERE
The South African GA 35 is a gas-operated gun in 35x228 calibre. It has so far been adopted only for naval mountings.
It is still not certain what the British did to the 20x110 Hispano case to remove the necessity of oiling it, but it is now believed that a hard wax coating was used on the ammunition instead. This would have avoided the problem of picking up grit, and would have vaporised under the pressure of firing. This is supported by the fact that the gun manual strictly forbids lubricating the ammunition (presumably because this might have removed the wax).
The history of the Hispano-Suiza HS 830 series and its 30x170 ammunition goes back to the beginning of WW2, when the original design was developed in France. This was relayed to BMARCO who offered the weapon to the British in 1942 (British-made brass cartridge cases dated 1942 are sometimes found but usually mistaken for Rarden cases), but it was not accepted. At about the same time, development transferred to the Swiss branch of Hispano-Suiza which took it to production in the 1950s.
PAGE 76 & 110:
BMP-2 entered service in the 1970s, not 1980s
PAGE 78 & 233:
The Oerlikon 421RK, code-named 'Red King' by the UK, used a 42x348 cartridge ; the ballistics were a 1.09 kg shell at 1,070 m/s. For some reason the UK subsequently development another 42mm AA gun, designated 'Red Queen', whose development ran in parallel with Red King. Red Queen was also a revolver cannon but used a single water cooled barrel and different ammunition (42x270 cartridge, although a drawing of a 42x251 variant also exists). Both were rejected in favour of the Bofors 40mm L/70, which remained in service until the Rapier missile took over. A more detailed story is told HERE.
The R-23 revolver cannon has another claim to fame, in connection with a Soviet project to arm manned spacecraft for attacking satellites or for self-defence. The Rikhter gun was fitted to at least one of the Almaz series, known as Salyut-3, and the gun was successfully test-fired at a satellite in 1975. However, the calibre of the gun is uncertain: photos show ammunition with different proportions from the 23x260, and a calibres of 14.5mm and 15mm have been mentioned in Soviet accounts.
PAGE 80 & 233:
The calibres of modern Gatling guns tested actually range from 5.56mm to 37mm - the largest one being the six-barrel T250 gun in a new 37x219 calibre, used in the 1950s Vigilante SPAAG, which was also later tested in 35mm Oerlikon calibre for the US Army's abortive DIVAD SPAAG project. More info HERE.
A new General Dynamics aircraft gun has been developed, initially for the Korean T/A-50 Golden Eagle advanced trainer and light attack aircraft. It is essentially a three-barrel M61A2, firing the usual 20x102 ammunition at 3,000 rpm. System weight (empty) is quoted as 134 kg. The designation appears to be 20mm A-50, and an order for 82 guns was placed in January 2009.
The US rotary cannon family now includes the 25mm GAU-22/A, a four-barrel version of the GAU-12/U intended for the F-35 Lightning II fighter.
The 25mm Oerlikon KBD did not achieve any sales, and is presumably now defunct.
PAGE 82, 207 & 248:
The Chain Gun family has now extended to include a 12.7x99mm version, designated 50 Bushmaster and intended for mounting in AFVs. It has a dual belt feed, weighs 34.4 kg, is 160 cm long and fires at 400 rpm. The intrusion of the gun into the turret is limited to 42 cm. ATK has also announced a version of this gun chambered for the 25x59B grenade ammo from the XM307, the LW25 Bushmaster (see note on page 210).
The M230 is now also offered in the M230LF (link fed) variant, for both helicopters and AFVs (another attempt at the 30mm ASP?), which has about 65% commonality with the M230. RoF is reduced to 200 rpm, the barrel is lengthened from 106 cm to 152 cm, MV goes up from 800 m/s to 838 m/s, weight from 60 to 73 kg. It uses a linked rather than linkless ammo feed, and in the M230LF-2 version is available with hydraulic recoil dampers which cut the peak recoil load from 1,360 kg to 750 kg, aided by an increase in the recoil movement from 25 mm to 36 mm.
The USMC claim that the 30mm Bushmaster II as used in the EFV (MK46 turret) is comparable in cost to the 25mm Bushmaster, and about half the cost of the 35/50mm Bushmaster III. The MK46 has had lots of problems, though, mainly connected with the ammo feed. The Bushmaster II in 30x173 (now replaced in production by the MK44, the marinised version) and the BIII in 35x228 are both achieving a claimed dispersion of 0.3 to 0.4 mils; an impressive performance.
The MK44 is now offered with an upgrade to the 40x180 'Super 40' calibre. This involves a different barrel, extra recoil springs and a slight modification to the ammo feed. While gun and ammo development is proceeding, no orders have been reported so far.
The Bushmaster III is a different gun from the Rh 503 (development of which has been shelved). Boeing and Rheinmetall were co-operating over the development of the 35/50 Supershot ammunition; this also seems to have been shelved for the time being, due to lack of demand.
There is also a Bushmaster IV chambered in the 40x364R Bofors L/70 calibre, but this does not appear to be attracting any interest.
Denel of South Africa has developed the externally-powered G1-30 CamGun in 30x173 calibre, for arming the next generation of AFVs. This features a drum-type cam to cycle the breech plus dual linkless feed.
The EMAK 35 took the gas-operated GA 35 as its starting point and it uses the same barrel and locking mechanism. This remains a technology demonstrator, with no orders placed.
The Mauser branch of Rheinmetall is developing the private-venture Wotan medium calibre family of externally powered guns, initially in 30x173 but with versions in 20 x 139 and 35 x 228 also planned. An externally-powered 12.7mm MG is also under development.
China has developed a dual-feed "chain gun" in 23x115 calibre, for fitting to light vehicles and helicopters.
CHAPTER 3: ARMY WEAPONS
PAGE 86, 232, 247:
A fascinating story about the 13mm TuF has emerged from the files of the Public Record Office. It has always seemed strange that there were rumours of the gun being intended for mounting in aircraft, given that the only illustrations, and records of use, cover those with water-cooled barrels on wheeled mountings. However, there is correspondence dated March 1921 of British efforts to acquire an example of this gun (around 24 were known to have been completed by Machinen-Fabrik Augsburg-Nurnberg and distributed in batches of three to eight, to different army units). The Military Committee of Versailles had previously decided that the TuF was an army weapon, and therefore not subject to seizure under the terms banning aircraft armament. However, the British tried to argue that the gun could easily be adapted for use in aircraft, so it ought to be considered an aircraft weapon! It appears that this ingenious ploy was unsuccessful.
It is also worth noting that an experimental 13mm aircraft gun, using the TuF's 13x92SR ammunition, was built - but it bore no relationship to the TuF. It was in fact a scaled-up twin-barrel Gast-Flieger-MG. A photo exists of one with air-cooled barrels and twin curved magazines mounted above the action. No further details are known.
Information has emerged about an experimental WW1 French 20mm automatic anti-tank cannon, in an article by Philippe Regenstreif in the International Ammunition Association Journal of January/February 2005. The gun was developed by the Société Anonyme des Automobiles Delaunay-Belleville. It reportedly used a system combining gas operation with long recoil, and the initial prototype weighed 30 kg. It was fed by a 200-round non-disintegrating metallic ammunition belt which was rolled around a lateral drum. No other information was provided about the gun, except that a patent was granted in 1917 and two prototypes were made. The ammunition was semi-rimmed and had a case length of 115mm, a rim diameter of 29mm and a maximum body diameter of 27.4mm. 1,000 cases were ordered. Bullets weighing between 92 g and 126 g were tested, but those weighing between 102 and 109 g proved most successful. Muzzle velocities were in the region of 850-890m m/s. Testing took place between March 1918 and May 1919, after which nothing more was heard of the Delauney-Belleville. The tests included firing against a German A7V tank; at a range of 200m and a striking angle of 65 degrees; the 21mm armour defeated one bullet but was penetrated by a second.
The term Sockelflak was used for any cannon on a Flak mounting. The gun usually known by this name, in 37x101SR calibre, is properly called the 3,7 cm Luftschiff Flak as it was designed for use in airships.
The final .50 BMG cartridge was not influenced by the 13mm TuF design (except in its general purpose), it was a simple scaling up of the .30'06 cartridge. It was an earlier, rejected prototype .50 round which resembled the TuF (although the measurements were different).
The Soviet 20mm ShVAK aircraft cannon as fitted to the T-60 light tank was designated the TNSh-1 (or later, the TNSh-20) standing for Tank gun by Nudelman and Shpitalnyi. It had a 165cm barrel which enabled it to achieve an MV of 815 m/s. Rate of fire was 750 rpm, effective range in direct fire 2,500m. The gun remained belt-fed, with 754 rounds carried in 13 boxes. The use of tungsten carbide-cored API ammunition has been mentioned, with which the maximum armour penetration was stated to be 35mm.
The 20mm Madsen was only ever magazine-fed. The 23mm aircraft version was belt-fed, but saw virtually no use (see the chapter on aircraft guns). 20x120 Madsen ammo is no longer manufactured.
Another Lahti 20mm cannon to see use was the L-34 in his unique 20x113 calibre, but as this was only fitted to naval craft it's included in the next chapter.
Some interesting information has emerged about some experimental German light Flak guns developed before and possibly during WW2. They consisted of eight barrels, closely packed together either in one horizontal row or in two vertical rows of four. The guns used salvo firing, apparently with a common breech block for all barrels, and therefore resemble the current Spanish Meroka. However, it appears that these guns were recoil-operated. They were known as 'Salvenmaschinenkanonen'. Four different examples exist at the Victory Museum in Moscow, but unfortunately they are incomplete. An Allied document from 1945 describes five different multi-barrel weapons (Mehrlaufwaffen): 2cm SMK V1 and V2 (from Rheinmetall-Borsig), 16mm ML16 (Mauser), 16mm from Gustloff and SMK17. However, only one of the guns at the museum appears to relate to this list: that is the SMK 18V1. [Information from 'Nuts & Bolts' Vols 03 and 08, which include detailed descriptions and photographs]
Incidentally, Commonwealth forces captured a large number of Breda Model 35s during Operation Compass in North Africa, enabling the Australian 2/3 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, parts of the 4th Anti-Aircraft Brigade (which had a total of 42 Bredas in its Light Anti-Aircraft batteries during the Siege of Tobruk) and one battery of 106th (Lancashire Hussars) Regiment, RHA to be equipped with them. Captured Bredas were also used by the Long Range Desert Group and aboard a number of Royal Australian Navy and Royal Navy vessels including HMAS Vendetta, HMAS Perth and HMS Ladybird, and at least one Marmon-Herrington Mk II armoured car.
There is more information about the various Bofors automatic guns and ammunition and their Soviet derivatives HERE.
PAGE 96 & 233:
More information about the Schneider M1930: contrary to previous statements it did not use the 37x277R ammunition used in the M1925 and M1933 naval AA guns and the M1934 casemate gun. Instead, it used a 37x300R case, one of which has come to light. The HE shell weighed 750 g and was fired at 800 m/s, at a cyclic rate of 175 rpm. 700 pieces were ordered, but only 20 examples were in service by June 1940, equipping 5 batteries.
The second page of colour plates after page 96 includes a photo of a sectioned base-fuzed HE-SD projectile. The caption says it is for the Bofors 40x364R but in fact it is a Diehl DM 101 in 20mm calibre.
The Browning .50" M2HB is available with a quick-change barrel from various makers, but this refinement was only adopted into US service in 1998, with the ordering of the Saco M2QCB. An upgrade program for existing M2s has also brought them up to the M2E50 standard. Initially believed to be a legitimate designation, it turns out that in reality M2E50 is really just a rewording of M2 E-50, for Enhanced 50 [Calibre Machine Gun]. This upgrade includes the QCB, and a number of other improvements.
The photo headed "75mm Skysweeper" is in fact a picture of Green Mace, an experimental 5 inch calibre British automatic AA gun. It fired a fin-stabilised 'dart' shell at up to 75 rpm but the project was abandoned in 1956.
The 12.7mm NSV does not use a Kalashnikov rotating bolt, but a tilting bolt.
ZPU stands for Zenitnaya Pulemetnaya Ustanovka.
Prototypes of the KPV were being tested by 1944; there was also a Degtyarev design in the same 14.5mm calibre. The Degtyarev used a rotating bolt operating mechanism and appeared before the KPV, in 1943, but it was not put into production.
The 14.5mm KPV appears to be seeing a revival in use for ground fighting as anti-guerrilla warfare, such as exists in Chechnya, calls for the ability to deliver heavy automatic firepower at a moment's notice.
A new 12.7mm HMG is being offered by the Degtyarev company; the Kord. The specification appears very similar to the NSV but the locking mechanism is different and the gun is claimed to achieve double the accuracy and to keep firing longer between barrel changes.
The Bulgarian Arsenal company manufactures the MG-U HMG in 12.7x108. This is gas-operated with a wedge-type lock with four locking lugs. It weighs 25 kg, is 156 cm long and fires at 700 rpm. The 70-round magazine box weighs 12.5 kg loaded, and it is available with three different mountings; a tall tripod for ground firing (55 kg), an adjustable tripod (with a seat) for ground and AA fire (92.5 kg) and a fixed column (80 kg). This appears to be the Russian NSV.
A new Polish HMG has been announced: the 12.7mm UTIOS (meaning 'cliff' in Russian: presumably because advancing forces have about as much chance against it as if they were climbing a cliff!). This is the Russian NSV.
A new 12.7x108 Light Machine Gun (!) is being offered by ZID, advertised as the 6P62 Kord. It is magazine fed, (with a 14 round box mag), has an empty weight of only 15kg, an overall length of 1200 mm, a rate of fire of 400-500 RPM cyclic, and an MV of about 620 m/s.
The range of HMGs offered by China has increased. As well as the 12.7mm Type 77 and Type 85 (note the modified data in the tables below) there is the Type 88 (QJC 88) tank gun (a version of the earlier W85 infantry gun) and Type 89 (QJZ 89), both also in 12.7x108, and the Type 02 (QJG 02) in 14.5x114.
China offers the VN3 4x4 LAFV with a turreted 14.5mm MG, a unique recent example of such an installation.
China also developed an experimental 10mm MG in the 1960s. The cartridge was created by shortening and necking-down the 12.7x108 case, so had a very high velocity (although ballistic data is not known). A Type 54 HMG (DShKM) modified to fire it achieved 900 rpm rather than 600 rpm. The combination of the higher muzzle velocity and rate of fire was expected to improve AA performance, but in the end the project was not felt to be worth the trouble. More recently, the cartridge has reportedly been considered for an anti-materiel rifle.
GD-OTS was developing a new 12.7 mm MG to replace the venerable M2. It was originally designated the XM-312 (the designation XM307K50 has also been used) and fires the standard 12.7 x 99 HMG ammo. It was much lighter and had less than half the recoil of the M2. It weighed 22 kg (including tripod) and equalled the M2's sustained RoF of 40 rpm. Cyclic rate was only 220 rpm, and the gun appeared to utilise 'floating firing' or differential recoil technology, in which each shot is fired only as the barrel group is travelling forwards (this is probably the only way to achieve the low recoil requirement). The gun was also convertible to fire the 25 x 59 B ACSW round by exchanging only a few items, and it appeared to be basically the same as the ACSW except for the calibre and the omission of the advanced (and expensive) sighting / ballistic computer / fuze-setting fittings required to fire the 25mm in airburst mode. Both the 25mm XM307 and the XM-312, renamed the XM806 .50 cal Lightweight MG, have had their funding withdrawn. This is an entirely separate project from the ATK Bushmaster Chain Gun in .50 cal mentioned under Page 82 above.
The .50 M2 has seen an increase in use in the counter-insurgency warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is the favoured choice for fitting into remotely-controlled stabilised mountings fitted on top of vehicles.
The US Army has fielded the new XM101 Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS). This mounting uses two-axis stabilisation so that it can be fired while the carrying vehicle is on the move. There are two versions of the system, the standard model which can take weapons of up to .50 M2, 12.7mm GAU-19 and 40mm MK 19 AGL, and the mini-CROWS, or CROWS-lite, which can take M249, M240, 12.7mm XM312 and 25mm XM307 (ACSW). Interesting, by the way, that the .50 M2 requires the standard model while the 25mm XM307 can fit in the mini version; presumably that's because of the much smoother recoil impulses of the ACSW. Ammunition storage is external, consisting of more than 500 rounds of .50, 2,000 rounds of 7.62mm or 96 40mm grenades. The mounting comes with the usual video sighting system, featuring a FLIR scope zooming up to 18 power, and a daylight scope to 27 power, so it can be used for long-range surveillance as well as targeting. There is a range-finding laser linked to a FCS computer which automatically sets the correct elevation for the range. The sight can be decoupled from the gun for surveillance purposes. This is initially expected to be fitted to the up-armoured M1114 HMMWV but is also planned for the M1117 Armoured Security Vehicle and may be fitted to the M93 Fox and probably Stryker. Recent documentation on the XM101 CROWS has indicated that there are plans to test fit it with the M230 cannon (possibly the M230LF variant).
As mentioned above, the Chain Gun family has now extended to include a 12.7 x 99 version, the 50 Bushmaster, intended for mounting in AFVs. It has a dual belt feed, weighs 34.4 kg, is 160 cm long and fires at 400 rpm. The intrusion of the gun into the turret is limited to 42 cm.
The South African firm of Vektor is developing a family of weapons based on the same design but available in different calibres. The gun is known as the GAMA (Gun Automatic Multiple Ammunition) and is based on the GA-1 (aka Mauser MG 151/20). Calibres planned so far are as follows: 12.7 x 99, 12.7 x 108, 14.5 x 114, 20 x 82, 20 x 102, 20 x 110. Weights range from 47 to 55 kg, and RoFs from 500-600 rpm (12.7 x 99) to 750-850 rpm (14.5 x 114). Since the 23 x 115 is just the 14.5 x 114 necked-out, it makes you wonder why they don't offer that as well! This is an interesting reminder of the WW2 American T17 project, which consisted of adapting the MG 151 to fire the .60 anti-tank ammunition (the cartridge case for which was subsequently necked out to create the 20 x 102).
The US has adopted the Nammo Raufoss Multipurpose .50 cal round as the MK211.
There was also a 23mm x 139 HS 823. This cartridge/weapon appeared in 1955 and carried the designation “820 AB”. The idea was to increase the lethality by enlarging the calibre without diminishing the rate of fire or increasing the weight of the gun. The explosive content of the HE shell was almost doubled from 11g to 20g compared with the 20mm x 139 HS 820 ammunition. It appears that the development of this ammunition ended around 1965 and the HS 823 system remained experimental.
The US has adapted the naval Phalanx CIWS (see the book, page 133 ) to defend land bases from indirect fire attack, known as the C-RAM (Counter Rocket, Artillery, and Mortars) role. In this application the Phalanx system is renamed Centurion. It has seen active service in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unlike the Phalanx, the Centurion fires self-destruct HE shells (M940) to prevent unintended damage from projectiles falling to the ground. See the note on page 108 concerning the comparable German MANTIS system.
PAGE 103 & 227:
Towed 23mm ZU AA gun mountings are still being developed, especially in Poland. First, in 1988, came the ZUR-23-2S Jod with improved electro-optical sights and a twin launcher for Strela-2M AA missiles. In 2002, the Polish Army has ordered 44 examples of the more heavily modified ZUR-23-2KG which has two 23mm guns and two GROM MANPADS, plus a more advanced sight. Rosboronexport of Russia is also offering a ZU-23-3 upgrade, with powered elevation and traverse, new sights, plus an optional twin-SAM pod (9M333 – SA13). NORINCO of China is also offering upgrades.
The 2A14 23mm gun was developed first for the light mobile mounts like the ZU-23-2 with no cooling system fitted. The 2A7 was developed from this specifically for the ZSU-23-4 and requires a vehicle mount because it uses liquid cooling for the barrels. Neither gun owes anything to the WW2 VYa aircraft gun which was chambered for the earlier version of the 23x152B calibre, being instead scaled-up versions of the AM-23 and A-12.7 aircraft guns, all designed by Afanasev.
Upgrades of the Shilka SPAAG system are legion:
The Chinese are marketing the Type 95 (PGZ95) tracked SPAAG, which features four 25mm cannon, two on each side of a turret, and four SAMs. It entered Chinese service some years ago and is now available for export. There is also a twin towed mounting, the PG87. Until recently the type of gun and ammunition used was uncertain, but it is now known that China has developed its own weapons around a new cartridge: the 25x183B PG87 (the case length is approximate, being measure from drawings: one source gives this as 178mm). This belted case, with a very sloping shoulder, closely resembles the 23x152B except that it is significantly increased in all dimensions and is much more powerful, developing some 138,000 J in most loadings. The guns fire at 600-800 rpm per barrel. Maximum slant range is 7,000m but the effective range is given by different sources as 2,500m or 3,200m.
The Oerlikon KBB and its 25x180 ammunition appear to have failed to attract any sales, except for shipboard use with the Turkish Navy. Ammunition is not currently being made.
The Krauss Maffei Wildcat SPAAG failed to attract any orders.
NORINCO of China has introduced a truck-mounted version of the Type 730 30mm naval CIWS (which apparently uses a copy of the GAU-8/A gun in the French SAMOS mounting, but using the Russian 30x165 electric-primed ammunition: see note on page 135). It is designated the LD2000.
The Tunguska's 30mm guns are designated AO-17 by the factory (2A38M being a GRAU designation). They are said to be effective from 200 to 4,000 m, with a maximum altitude of 3,000 m. The missiles are known by the Russian designation 9M311. They were upgraded to the 9M311-1M (range increased from 8 km to 10 km, but minimum range still 2.5 km and altitude band still 15 to 3,500 m) in 2004 with the introduction of the Tunguska-M1 which uses a different chassis (GM-5975 rather than GM-352); 30mm ammunition capacity dropped slightly from 1,936 to 1,904.
The production Pantsyr S1 has two 30mm 2A38 twin-barrel guns instead of the slow-firing 2A72 cannon of the prototype. The United Arab Emirates paid for the completion of the development work and took delivery of the first batch, and they entered Russian Army service in 2007. These feature the same pair of 2A38M twin-barrel 30mm cannon plus 8 or 12 SAMs (the 57E6E, using dual band radar guidance with IR correction, range 1.2 to 20 km, altitude 5 to 15,000 m) but the system has two targeting channels rather than one. The original wheeled chassis options (various types available, depending on customer specification) has been joined by a tracked one, the GM-352M1E - which is effectively an upgraded Tunguska.
Eastern European gun/missile AA systems continue to proliferate. The Slovaks have introduced into service the BVP-1 STROP, a SPAAG based on the BMP-1 chassis, which combines one 2A38 gun with SA-14 SAMs and are reportedly developing another version with a 35-1000 Oerlikon revolver cannon. The Russians developed as a private venture the trailer-mounted SOSNA, which in its base form consists of one 2A38 but can have four SOSNA-R 9M337 missiles added, with an 8km range.
The Oerlikon 35/1000 is now known as the KDG. The US ARES Talon 35mm gun did not proceed.
The Gepard was offered with Stinger missiles on both gun mounts as an upgrade but this was not adopted. Surplus German and Dutch Gepards are now being sold to other countries in Eastern Europe and South America. The Gepard was entirely withdrawn from German service in 2010.
The Poles have adopted the "Loara" SPAAG, with twin 35mm Oerlikon guns in a turret on a tracked chassis based on the PT-91 Twardy MBT chassis (NOT with a 40mm Bofors and SAMs as previously reported; a missile-equipped version was being developed but has been cancelled).
Oerlikon-Contraves is offering a turreted version of their KDG revolver cannon (formerly known as the 35/1000) for use in the Millennium system SPAAG. A version of this has been adopted by Germany for its C-RAM (Counter Rocket, Artillery, and Mortars) base protection system, using its AHEAD (now KETF) ammunition to shoot down incoming rockets and mortar bombs. Germany calls the system MANTIS or by the initials NBS (Nachstbereichs-Schutzsystem, very short range protection system).
China is offering the Oerlikon 35mm system in various mountings, including the PG99 twin land mounting (with two closely-mounted guns), the CS/SA1 which is the PG99 on a 6x6 truck (four of which can be controlled from one 3D 902 FCS - a similar truck but equipped with radar and a control cabin) and the Gepard-like tracked PGZ07 SPAAG with the guns mounted one on each side of the turret. The PG99 and PGZ07 are being issued to PLA units on a priority basis but the 37mm AA guns are expected to remain in service for a long time.
The last attempt to introduce a new 37mm calibre gun in the West was the US T250 six-barrel rotary cannon fitted to the Vigilante SPAAG of the late 1950s. It was not adopted.
The Anglo-French 40CTAS (Cased Telescoped Armament System), developed for ground fighting roles in AFVs, is somewhat surprisingly being offered in a AA version, consisting of a turret (with or without supplementary Starstreak missiles) which can be installed on a variety of chassis. This is a Thales development, and is designated RAPIDFire. Some new time-fuzed airburst AA ammo is being developed, designated A3B or AAAB (Anti-Aerial Air-Burst) which sounds as if it may function in a similar way to Oerlikon's AHEAD. The rate of fire is only 200 rpm, which presumably limits its usefulness to slow-firing targets like helicopters and UAVs.
Poland planned to upgrade the old 57mm S-60 AA gun for a naval battalion. It was expected to feature a low-level surveillance radar linked to an automated command and control post, but was not expected to remain in service for long.
China also offers an upgrade for the 57mm Type 59 (Soviet S-60) in the form of the 702E FCS which controls four guns and integrates with a company-level air defence system. It incorporates a twin-band radar system and a TV tracker and automatically sends aiming data to the guns.
Italy is making a second attempt to introduce a modified version of their 76mm naval gun into a SPAAG, following the unsuccessful OTOMATIC. The new system, revealed in 2010, is the DRACO, which features a smaller turret on an 8x8 chassis. This is illustrated HERE, with details HERE.
The development of mountings for heavy automatic weapons for ground fighting continues apace, with the latest fashion being for remotely-controlled overhead mountings, frequently featuring stabilisation for firing on the move plus advanced video/thermal imaging sights (especially in larger calibres). These are for guns ranging from 7.62mm to 30mm, but the .50 M2HB appears to be the most popular installation. Manually-operated mountings for 12.7mm and/or 40mm AGL are also very popular, particularly for peacekeeping duties. The Grenade Turret version of the new Korean IFV carries both weapons in a one-man turret, while Denel of South Africa offers the new LCT12.7 turret which can take either weapon, plus a 7.62mm MG. The Russian 30mm AGS-17 AGL is also appearing as a secondary weapon on various new and upgraded AFVs. The USA has adopted the Recon/Optical Inc. Remote Weapon Station to fulfill the Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station requirement to arm a range of light vehicles. Initially, it is displayed with a .50 M2HB (that old bruiser must be setting new records for the length of time a weapon has remained in front-line service with a major power!).
The only western MBT with an autoloader (so far) is the French Leclerc.
The Luchs was adopted in 1974, after the Marder MICV.
SPz 12-3 is a very uncommon name. The normal name was HS 30 or SPz lang (AIFV long). At the same time there was also the SPz kurz (AIFV short) witch based on the French Hotchkiss TT 6. One version of this vehicle was armed with a HS 820 L/85 gun, it was used as reconnaissance tank and was the precursor of the Luchs.
The 23mm 2A14 cannon used in the Bulgarian BMP-23 (and the BRM-23 reconnaissance variant) is the same as that used in the ZU AA gun. These vehicles continue to be offered on the export market, together with the BMP-30 which uses a Russian BMP-2 turret with 30mm 2A72 gun. They have so far only been bought by Bulgaria which is thought likely to keep them in service for many years.
Ukraine developed the BTR-94, a modified Russian BTR-80 8x8, with twin 23mm 2A14 in an overhead mounting. Fifty were ordered by Jordan and subsequently given to Iraq.
Ukraine uses the ZTM-1 30mm cannon (said to be similar to the Russian 2A72) in an external, overhead mounting in the upgraded MT-LB tracked AIFV. There is also a ZTM-2, apparently similar to the older Russian 2A42. This is installed in the Grom Universal Fighting Module.
The requirements of the fighting in Chechnya has stimulated the development of other installations of the 30mm 2A42, including on overhead mounting for one cannon (plus a 7.62mm PKT) installed on a BTR-80.
It is not quite true to say that the Oerlikon KCB and Rarden cannot use each other's ammunition; the Rarden can use the steel-cased Oerlikon ammo but is not officially qualified to do so. Rheinmetall has developed an APFSDS loading for the Rarden (using a modified version of their 30x173 APFSDS), which has been qualified for British service under the designation L21A1, but it is not clear whether anyone has bought it.
Following a recent review, it was decided to extend the operational life of the Warrior to 2035 rather than seek a replacement vehicle: it will continue to provide the 'heavy' MICV element, alongside the Challenger tank, which will also remain in service for a long time (plans to refit Challenger with a modified Rheinmetall smoothbore 120mm L/55 gun appear to have been abandoned for financial reasons). This has resulted in a requirement for a major upgrade for the Warrior, originally known as WLIP (Warrior Lethality Improvement Programme), then as WFLIP (with the addition of "Fightability"), now as WCSP (Warrior Capability and Sustainment Programme). The key element will be a two-man turret with a stabilised gun and sighting system, capable of achieving a high first-round hit probability while on the move (Warrior currently has to stop to fire its unstabilised L21A2 30mm Rarden cannon), with state-of-the-art sensor and defensive aids suites, and with an airburst capability for its ammunition. The 40mm CTA (see notes on page 207) has been selected for both this and the FRES SV Scout requirement. See THIS article for more information.
The Sheridan was equipped with a 152mm rather than 155mm gun.
PAGE 113, 228 & 231:
Interestingly, Turkey dropped the 25mm Oerlikon KBA fitted to the first 135 of its AIFV in favour of the GIAT/NEXTER 25M811 using the same ammunition.
Planned upgunnings of light AFVs are legion. The USMC is considering replacing the 25mm Bushmaster cannon on their LAV wheeled vehicles with the 30mm MK44 (marinised Bushmaster II) also selected for their new AAAV / EFV (now cancelled). Denel did offering a new turret with their own 35mm externally-driven EMAK cannon as a replacement for 90mm manually-loaded guns on the Ratel and other light armoured cars (not exactly an upgunning in calibre, but an interesting shift of emphasis away from general fire support and towards the anti-armour role); this has received no takers. The 40mm gun turret from the CV9040 is offered on the Mowag Piranha 10x10 vehicle.
The Bionix II from Singapore has ditched the turreted 40mm AGL+12.7mm MG combination of the Bionix in favour of a 30mm MK44.
One new LAFV is the BMD-4M tracked airborne combat vehicle, based on the hull and chassis of BMP-3 but weighing 13.5 rather than 18 tons. It has same armament as the BMP-3.
The change in emphasis from "hot" war to peacekeeping and anti-guerrilla fighting is producing some curious AFV weapon installations. For example, the Russians have revealed a venerable APC MT-LB fitted with a turret armed with an AGS-17 AGL, a 12.7mm Kord, and a 23mm GSh-23 twin-barrelled aircraft gun! Its intended purpose is as a fire support vehicle for infantry and transport columns operating in dangerous territory. Since SPAAGs have always seen more use against ground targets than against the aircraft they were designed to combat, it makes sense to develop simpler weapon systems for the purpose. So the 23mm ZU has remained popular with the Russians and the twin mounting is found fitted to 6x4 trucks or the MT-LB.
Another unusual new vehicle is the Russian BMPT Tank Support Combat Vehicle on a T-90 chassis, intended to protect tank formations from anti-armour weapons. There is a remote overhead mounting with two coaxial 30mm 2A42 plus a 7.62mm PKTM plus 16 AT-16 supersonic ATGW, and two remote controlled 30mm AGS-17D grenade launchers on vehicle sides.
A curious new vehicle is now being offered by China; the NORINCO FAV (Fast Attack Vehicle). It has an open, jeep-type body and is primarily of interest because of a 23mm dual-feed cannon in 23x115 calibre mounted on the roll-over bars. This is said to be capable of 200 to 400 rpm and to be a chain gun type, although Boeing, which owns the rights to the name, professes no knowledge of this gun....
In the late 2000s United Defense revealed details of two variants of its Unmanned Ground Vehicles programme, based on a 6x6 chassis and weighing 8.5 tons. They were intended to be deployed in advance of manned vehicles, where the risks are greatest. They are both known as ARV (armed robotic vehicle), the variants being as follows:
ARV-R (reconnaissance) has a large sensor mast and a turreted 25mm XM307 Advanced Crew Served Weapon (now cancelled), formerly known as OCSW and intended to replace the 40mm Mk 19 and many .50 M2s.
ARV-A (assault) has a turreted 30mm MK 44 gun (Bushmaster II).
China has adopted a 25mm gun for its ZSD-89-II (Type 89) MICV, presumably using the PG-87 gun in 25x183B calibre. Both manned turret and overhead gun mounts have been seen.
The Japanese M80 MICV is in service as the Type 89, armed with the Oerlikon 35mm KDE (and the only user of this gun, I believe). It reportedly entered service in 1996 with 70 delivered by 2003.
The 35mm Bushmaster III has been adopted by both the Netherlands and Denmark for their CV9035 MICVs.
GD Land Systems Canada has offered the IFV-35 two-man turret system. It was evolved from the LAV-25 turret and is compatible with tracked or wheeled IFVs. Combat weight is 4,890 kg, with stabilised 35mm Bushmaster III, 90-150 ready rounds, 7.62mm M240 co-ax, all-round armour protection against 14.5mm AP at 500m, frontal against 30mm AP 500m.
The 40mm L/70 Bofors (or at any rate something very similar firing the same ammo) is to be used in the new South Korean IFV, the K300.
The old Russian 57mm S-60 AA gun may be gaining a new lease of life in the ground-fighting role. Rosoboronexport is offering an upgraded PT-76 light amphibious tank with a version of this gun, in a turret designated AU-220M. The fully stabilised gun is supplied by a captive belt magazine containing 20 rounds, which is in turn fed by a mechanised stowage ammunition system holding another 72 rounds. The turret also contains a coaxial 7.62mm MG, day and night sights and a laser-guided rangefinder linked to a fire-control computer. The AU-220M is claimed to be suitable for fitting to a wide range of other platforms. More effective rounds than the usual AP and HE are said to be under development.
The ATK PAWS (Palletized Autonomous Weapon System) is a self-contained mounting for small and medium calibre cannon introduced in 2009. It is a "roll-on, roll-off" system with a bolt-in interface capable of being mounted on ground combat, sea or air platforms. A variant of PAWS, the Viper, is an affordable "plug and play" weapon station that incorporates a patent-pending Gun Mount Braking System (GMBS), which allows for superior weapon stabilization during firing.
Russia has developed the 23mm KPVB: this is a version of the 14.5mm KPV adapted to 23x115 calibre (the cartridge cases are basically the same except for the calibre), which has required the gun action and receiver to be lengthened to accommodate the much longer projectiles. The future of this gun is dubious as army apparently prefers the more powerful 2A72 guns.
PAGE 115, 199, 229 & 236:
ATK have announced a new lightweight 25mm Chain Gun, the Bushmaster LW25, chambered for the same 25x59B ammunition as the XM307. See the note on Page 210 below for details. It is being offered in a CROWS lightweight remotely-controlled overhead mounting for fitting to vehicles too light to take a 40mm GL or .50 cal HMG.
More information about that Chinese 35mm AGL (now designated Type 87). It is a blowback gun with a cyclic rate of 400-500 rpm, and fires a 270 g projectile at a muzzle velocity of 170 m/s, for a muzzle energy of 3,900 joules. It weighs 12 kg on a bipod, 20 kg on a tripod. There are six or nine-round box magazines and a twelve-round drum. The shell will penetrate 80mm armour and the fragments have a 10m wounding radius. Maximum range is 1,500m, effective range 600m.
The Romanian 'Ratmil' is now known as the ROMARM AGA-40 Model 85 and is in Romanian Army service. However, it seems that its unique 40x74.5 ammo has been replaced by the usual HV 40x53SR, at least for export purposes.
More data on the South African Vektor AGL: it uses the long-recoil mechanism, weighs 29 kg weapon only (cradle 12 kg) and is 86 cm long with the usual 30 cm barrel. RoF is 360-425 rpm.
Singapore Technologies have introduced the LWAGL (Light Weight Automatic Grenade Launcher) which weighs only 14 kg, is 1 metre long (with a 40cm barrel) and fires at 350 rpm. It uses a "Recoil Mitigation System" which reduces the peak recoil impulse by about 50% over conventional AGLs. Since most AGLs have either a long-recoil or API blowback system, which are inherently low-recoil anyway, this suggests that the weapon might use a differential recoil system (like the ACSW). An associated 40mm range-fused grenade is derived from the RWM AHEAD system; they have been working in collaboration to produce the grenade and fire control system.
General Dynamics Armament Systems has introduced a new 40mm AGL, the MK47 'Striker' (also known as the CG-40, presumably to avoid confusion with the Vektor Striker!), which is intended to replace the ubiquitous MK19. It weighs only 17.5 instead of 35kg and is more compact, with a length of 940mm. Rate of fire is reduced from 325-375 to 250-300 rpm. Interestingly, the percentage of the weight recoiling is quoted as 55 rather than 22, which suggests that it uses a long-recoil or differential recoil system rather than API blowback mechanism. It was designed in conjunction with programmable air-bursting ammunition developed by NAMMO, and an advanced electronic fire control system from Computing Devices Canada. It would therefore appear to match the capabilities of the 25mm ACSW Advanced Crew-Served Weapon (formerly known as OCSW)...(see Page 210). A contract for its production was awarded by US Special Operations Command in October 2002. RWM and Singapore Technologies Kinetics are developing airburst ammunition for the 40x53SR AGL round. This has a dual-function electronic timed or impact fuze, with the timing have a range of between 40 and 1,600 m. The shell contains at least 330 tungsten balls each weighing 0.25 g, and is designed to be effective against the 'NATO Protected Man'.
The 30mm AGS 30 is typically equipped with a box holding 30 rounds, which weighs 13.7 kg.
A new approach to individual firepower is represented by the RAG-30, produced by Technopol in the Slovak Republic. This is based around the 30x29B VOG-17 and VOG-17M grenade cartridges used by the AGS-17, AGS-30 and AG-17A, but is a light, shoulder-fired weapon intended for one-man operation using its built-in bipod. It weighs just 11.7 kg empty or 13.2 kg with a full, 5-round, box magazine (fitted above the breech, as with the Bren Gun). Overall length is 100 cm with butt extended, 75 cm collapsed, and it has a 30 cm barrel. Rate of burst fire is 350 rpm (single-shot fire is also available) and it has a maximum range of 600m with iron sights, 1,700m with optical sights. A similar Russian weapon was advertised at one time, the 'Arbalet', also using the Russian 30x29B ammunition. It has a drum magazine (10 rounds) under the gun, and weighs 10 kg empty.
A 40mm Russian AGL is now offered, the 'Balkan', which bears a close resemblance to the AGS-17 and may be an adaptation of it. This weighs 30 kg, fires at 400 rpm and has a range of 2,500m. It uses caseless ammunition, basically an extended version of the low-velocity VOG-25 series for UGLs, which weighs 450g. A drum-shaped 20-round magazine is used.
Automatic grenade launchers were developed in the USSR in the 1930s. Taubin, who led the OKB-16 design group, became obsessed with the idea of an infantry support weapon that could fire fragmentation rounds in both direct and indirect fire. By 1935 he had found support in the top ranks of Red Army, and began development of the 40.6mm AGL; the projectiles were based on the 40.6mm Diakonov rifle grenade, the weapon itself was long-recoil, locked breech gun with top-feed five-round chute or box magazine, usually mounted on Maxim-type wheeled mount. The cyclic rate was 200 rpm. Muzzle velocity was 120 m/s and the maximum range 1,200m. It weighed 16 kg (24 kg with sight) and one round of ammunition weighed 0.6 kg. It was proposed as infantry Company-level support weapon, as a replacement for 50/60mm mortars, as well as a mounted weapon for riverine armored vessels of Amur river fleet. By 1938 small-scale manufacture of the 40.6mm Taubin AGL was initiated, and larger caliber weapons of same concept were in development for vehicle applications. A few 40.6 Taubin AGL's were used during the Winter War with Finland in 1940, apparently sucessfully. However, changes in the top ranks of the Red Army and especially the arrest of Marshal Tukhachevsky withdrew support from the AGL concept and Taubin was destroyed by rivals from the Mortar school - he was arrested and executed in 1941. A belt-fed AGL (15-20 round capacity) was also developed by Taubin for installation in aircraft wings, but rejected for the same reason. At least one other design also existed, at least on paper - it was a Degtyarov AGL of the same caliber. It looked like the DP-27 LMG with a thick and stubby barrel, probably with a box overhead magazine. I have no idea if it existed at all, as the only information available is a drawing of the gun less magazine
CHAPTER 4: NAVAL GUNS
The 53mm version of the Hotchkiss five-barrel rotary used 53x188R wrapped-case ammunition. This is not compatible with the more common 53x176R drawn-case ammo used in the Gruson fortress gun (the rim diameter is slightly different too, at 64mm for the Hotchkiss, 63mm for the Gruson).
The McClean cannon was apparently only bought (in small numbers) by the Russians who knew it as the Maklen gun. When the Russians no longer wanted it they distributed it far and wide, especially to Spain. It also turned up in Mexico and various Eastern European countries, and odd examples still survive in museums, including the Heugh Battery in Hartlepool.
PAGE 120 & 227:
Fascinating news has emerged of a hitherto almost unknown Vickers automatic AA gun in 25.4mm calibre, which actually saw service. It was developed in the mid-1930s and installed in the Argentinian training cruiser 'La Argentina', built by Vickers between 1936 and 1939. The ship was equipped with twelve 25.4mm air-cooled Vickers 'machine guns' in twin mountings. This armament was removed in a refit in 1950. The cartridge was very different from the old 25.4x87R Vickers used in the '1 inch' gun (which saw some service in Italian bombers in WW1 and on Swedish submarines in the 1920s). The 1930s gun fired a cartridge with a case length of 189mm and a rim diameter of 34.8mm, which looks similar to, but is slightly shorter and slimmer than, the post-WW2 Russian 25x218 cartridge. The gas-operated guns fired at 200 rpm per barrel, using 10-round box magazines. See HERE for more details and illustrations.
The .5" Vickers naval MG did achieve at least one export sale, to the Turkish navy for use in submarines.
The Vickers .661" naval AA gun was belt-fed, fired at 300 rpm per barrel, and had water-cooled barrels. The six-gun mounting was based on that of the quad 2pdr pom-pom and was supposed to weigh just under 3 tons with ammunition, but a mockup showed that by the time of cancellation the weight had increased to 4.75 tons, including 1,200 rounds of ammunition weighing 7.5 cwt (375 kg).
Some further information concerning the USN's 1.1" AA gun: it had a maximum range of 7,300 yards (6,675m) and a maximum altitude of 16,000 feet (4,875m). The effective range and altitude would of course have been small fractions of these. The ammunition used highly sensitive fuzes which sometimes detonated in or close to the muzzle. For this reason, some ships did not exercise with live ammunition, preferring to save this until it the ship was under attack.
Some more information about the Lahti L-34 "boat gun". Ten of these guns were ordered by the Finnish Coast Guard (Merivartiosto) for use in the new VMV patrol boats (although most of these boats carried the 20mm Madsen instead). They were manufactured by VKT (Tampella). There was an experimental wheeled mounting but the service weapons had a simple pillar mounting. When firing AP shot penetration was 30mm/300m/90 degrees or around 20mm/300m/60 degrees. The gun was available with a magazine feed (15-round box or 30-round drum) or with a belt feed. Gun weight was 60 kg with mag feed, 69 kg with belt feed. Rate of fire was 325-360 rpm and it had a maximum range of 8,000m, with a maximum elevation of 6,900m. Three different projectiles were available, all weighing 136g: an AP-T, and HE and an HE with an extra-sensitive fuze. Cartridge weight was 275g and the muzzle velocity 800 m/s.
PAGE 126 & 230:
The French 37mm M1935 twin mounting was earmarked for the incomplete aircraft carrier Joffre.
The 37mm M42 German naval AA gun did not in fact use exactly the same ammunition as the PaK 36 anti-tank gun; the rim was slightly thicker so the rounds were not interchangeable.
The statement that the USN's 5 inch L/38 gun had a minimum effective AA range of 5,000m is incorrect - it is more likely that this was the maximum effective range.
The S-Boote were increasingly upgunned during the war, in the end they sported anything from MG 42s to 40 mm Bofors. A special "Parellelogram" mount was developed for installing a single 2 cm Flak 38 over a bow gun pit, capable of firing at air and surface targets.The ingenuity invested in this mount was however partly wasted: at anything but slow speeds, the Schnellboote rose high out of the water, with their bows in the air, so the bow gunner couldn't aim ahead. OTOH, the S-Boote could make 45 knots this way.
The Typhoon NT-D lightweight, stabilised, remote-control mount for small/medium naval vessels has been introduced by Rafael. This carries two NT-D missiles and a cannon in the 20-30mm range; suggested are 20mm HS 804, 23mm ZSU-23, 25mm M242 Bushmaster, and 30mm KCB. It has seen a number of international sales, e.g. to Australia.
The French are adopting the GIAT Narwhal remotely-operated gun mounting (similar in principle to the Typhoon and the German MLG 27 described below). This is available with guns from the 20M621 to the 30M781, but the Navy has apparently chosen the 20mm version.
The Soviet 110-PM 25mm gun was an entirely new design using a different operating mechanism from the wartime M1940: it was basically a scaled-up NS-23, and was fitted in the 2M-3 twin mounting (weight 1,500 kg). The M-110 was a modification of the 110-PM with a pneumatic buffer which increased the RoF from 270-300 to 470-480 rpm. It was fitted in the 2M-3M mounting (1,515 kg) and probably introduced in 1959. The 2M-8 was a submarine version of the twin mounting, made of stainless steel and fed by semi-flexible 7-round charger clips which could be linked together. It was adopted in 1954 but removed from submarines in the late 1950s.
The 25mm Bushmaster in USN service is known as the Mk 38 gun. As well as the unpowered Mk 88 mounting, it is available in the powered and stabilised Mk 96 mounting (as fitted to the Cyclone class Patrol Coastal ships). This mounting is also fitted with a coaxial 40mm AGL. The most recent version is the Mk 38 Mod 2, which is both stabilised and remotely controlled. Rheinmetall Defence is also offering the 25mm Bushmaster in its MLG 25 mounting, for export only (the German Navy having adopted the MLG 27 described below).
The Royal Navy is replacing its DSB30 with a modified version of the mounting featuring remote control via a video link plus the replacement of the Oerlikon KCB with the ATK MK44 gun. This system is known as the ASCG (Autonomous Small Calibre Gun) and is supplied by MSI, who designate it the Seahawk DS 30M Mk2. The change from the KCB to the MK44 results in a significant fall in the rate of fire (from 600 to 200 rpm) which is obviously felt to be acceptable as the primary targets now are small boats rather than aircraft.
The 30mm Bushmaster II has been replaced in production by the MK44 gun (in the Mk 46 mounting) for the USN. Trials have been successfully conducted with Nammo APFSDS ammunition.
China is offering several lightweight single-barrel naval mountings, including:
- undesignated 23mm, manually-aimed and unpowered, in 23x152B calibre (presumably ZU-based gun: RoF 800-1,000 rpm). Weight 420 kg, 40 on-mount rounds.
- JW-23, as above but in powered mounting, 1,200 kg
- undesignated 30mm in Russian 30x165 naval calibre, RoF 280-320 rpm (2A72?), semi-automatic powered mounting, 1,550 kg
- as above in a fully-automatic mounting, RoF 320-350 rpm, weight 1,300 kg
- AN3, in their unique 37x240 calibre. It can be manually or "semi-automatically" operated, 119 rounds of ammunition, weight 3,800 kg. A version of the gun is available in 35mm Oerlikon calibre, possibly for export.
China is also offering the H/PJ76F 37mm twin-barrelled gun, which unlike the Type 76A CIWS has provision for a gunner within the mounting, for manual or semi-automatic control as an option to the automatic control which is also available. RoF 2 x 360 rpm, ammunition capacity 2 x 800 rounds, weight 5,000 kg.
PAGE 133, 206, 226 & 245:
The Phalanx CIWS had been updated to the Block 1B configuration, which features longer and heavier gun barrels to extract the most from the more powerful MK244 APDS ammunition. This fires a 14mm diameter tungsten alloy penetrator weighing 104.5 g (total projectile weight including sabot 126.5 g) at 1,100 m/s. By comparison, the earlier MK149 Mod 4 round used in the Phalanx Block 1A fires a 12mm tungsten alloy penetrator weighing 70 g (total projectile weight 94 g) at 1,120 m/s. Kinetic energy of the MK244 is 37% higher at short range, rising to 47% higher at long range. The MK244 has a red plastic sabot compared with the MK149's white sabot.
PAGE 134, 206, 227:
The cartridge case for the 25x184 Oerlikon KBB/KBD ammunition does in fact measure 180mm long in the APDS loading, and rather less in the HE version. "184mm" appears to be an oft-repeated error. The designation should therefore be 25x180, as the APDS is the standard service load.
The Oerlikon KBD failed to obtain any sales, either in the Myriad or the Phalanx upgrade. The same fate befell the Mauser Drakon. The GAU-12/U has also not seen any naval applications.
The single Mauser BK 27 naval mounting referred to has now been designated the MLG 27. It weighs 850 kg and does not require deck penetration. The mounting is remotely controlled via the gunner's control station below deck, is stabilised and has a laser rangefinder and TV and IR cameras with a video tracking system permitting night and all-weather operation. It can use the full range of 27x145B ammunition developed for the aircraft gun, plus a new FAPDS which offers extended range (230g projectile/175g penetrator at 1,100 m/s, still doing 970 m/s at 1,000m - takes 0.95 secs to get there. Accuracy 0.3 mrad). The MLG 27 is offered as a modern replacement for older weapons of between 20mm and 40mm, both a primary weapon for smaller vessels and a secondary gun for larger ships. Claimed effective ranges are 2,500m against aircraft or high-speed agile naval craft, 4,000m against larger vessels or for precision attack of land targets. Claimed hit probabilities for a one-second burst are 65% against a speedboat at 2,000m, and over 80% against an aircraft at the same range. It has been selected for the German Navy to replace 20mm and 40mm weapons, with over 90 being ordered.
The 6K30GSh is a version of the GSh-6-30K with a longer barrel block, long flash suppressors and improved durability. It is used in the 3M87 Kortik/Kashtan, Palash and Palma CIWS systems. The Kashtan is the export version of the 3M87 Kortik system, which as well as being fitted to the Piotr Veliki (accepted into service in 2001 and now the flagship of the Russian Northern Fleet), is also used in the Admiral Kuznetsov and Admiral Nahimov (6 or 8 mountings each) and two Project 1154 corvettes (2 mountings).
Russia is now offering a naval version of the SOSNA (see page 107 above) designated PALMA. It consists of two 30mm AO-18KD guns with longer barrels and eight SOSNA-interoperable missiles.
The factory designation of the AO-18L is the GSh-6-30L.
The Chinese Navy has adopted a new 30mm CIWS known as the 730B (and also as the Type 825) which appears to be closely based on the experimental French SAMOS system of the late 1980s. This was very similar to the Signaal Goalkeeper in that it used a 7-barrel GAU-8/A cannon; it is presumed that this has been carried over to the 730B, except that it is now known that the gun fires Russian 30x165 electric-primed ammunition and has two magazines containing 500 rounds each. China is also advertising an undesignated 30mm CIWS which appears to be based on a Russian 6-barrel gun and carries 2,000 rounds.
Another variant of Chinese 30mm CIWS which has been seen is the Type 1030 which has a 10-barrel rotary gun. So far, use seems to be restricted to their new aircraft carrier, the Liaoning.
The Danish Absalon class multi-purpose vessels are equipped with two 35mm Millennium gun mountings. One is also fitted to each of the Danish Iver Huitfeldt class frigates, and to the Venezuelan Guaiquerí class patrol vessels.
The 57mm Bofors has been achieving sales success in the USA, under the designation MK110. It has been selected for the LCS, DDG-1000 and Coast Guard Cutter projects.
In Russia, the St Petersburg "Arsenal" plant has developed a new 57mm gun (designated A-220) with a rate of fire 300 rpm, intended for patrol boats.
The 76mm OTO Melara is being given a new lease of life with the introduction into service of the Davide anti-missile programme (known as Strales in its export version). This uses a subcalibre DART (Driven Ammunition Reduced Time of flight) round fired at 1,200 m/s, rather similar in appearance to APFSDS tank gun rounds. Effective range is expected to be 5 km with engagements possible down to 2 m above the sea surface.
CHAPTER 5: WEAPONS FOR AIR FIGHTING
More information about the development and use of large-calibre aircraft guns in World War 1 is HERE.
The HS 404 was developed by the French branch of Hispano Suiza, not the Swiss. The Swiss branch later took over the 404's development under the designation HS 804 (Swiss developments were numbered 8xx, French ones 4xx).
PAGE 147 and 249:
The .5" Vickers Class B aircraft gun was not purely experimental. Small numbers were sold to both Siam (Thailand) and Japan in the 1930s, although no aircraft installations have so far emerged. It is presumed that these guns were chambered for the semi-rimmed version of the 12.7x81 cartridge. It now appears that the IJA's use of this cartridge in the Ho-103 aircraft gun was a separate development via Italy (who adopted this calibre for the Breda-SAFAT and Scotti aircraft guns), and the Italian explosive projectiles were adopted by Japan.
PAGE 150 (bottom of first column) should read:
"(The BH did not see service although the simpler, semi-automatic BD was used in naval craft.)": i.e. patrol boats and the like, not aircraft.
Side views of the Vickers Class S 40mm gun are shown HERE
The Hurricane IV, which was designed to switch between the 40 mm S Gun and RPs as required, saw active service in the UK in 1943-44, attacking targets in France. It was withdrawn from European service only three months before D-day.
Further information about the Littlejohn version of the 40mm S gun, tested on a Hurricane, is HERE
The Vickers 47mm Class P gun reached the stage of air testing postwar, fitted to a Tempest V. See the separate article on the P GUN on this website.
There is more information about the Molins gun and its ammunition HERE
On 10 March 1944, four Mosquito fighter-bombers of 248 Squadron, escorting two Tsetse, attacked the IJN submarine I-29 off Cape Penas, Spain, as it was heading towards Lorient, escorted by eight Junkers Ju-88C-6s from Zerstörergeschwader ZG 1 at Cazaux. In the resulting battle one Ju-88 was shot down. The submarine was undamaged.
More information on the development of the .50 BMG in WW2. Various efforts to speed up the gun resulted in the T36 development by High Standard, which raised the RoF by about 100 rpm and was adopted in late 1944 as the M2A1. Only 8,000 were made before it was replaced by the faster-firing M3 (which was developed by Frigidaire as the M25E3). Only 2,400 M3 guns had been procured by the end of WW2.
The rather unhappy story of the US Hispano is told HERE. A comparison of the .50 with cannon is HERE.
More information on cartridges for the US .90 inch series: the 23x139SR referred to was in fact only used in the final, T4, design. The T2 used a cartridge which appears to be identical to the T4's, except that the rim is considerably rebated. The T3 round is similar to the T2 and may be the same (judging by a photograph). The T1 round is very different: a shortened and necked-down version of the 1.1" naval gun round (28x199SR). Case length appears to be about 150mm.
PAGE 156 & 159:
The description of the NS-37 as being primarily for ground attack is not quite correct. There were two main installations, one in the Il-2 3M Shturmovik ground attack plane (two guns underwing) but the other was in the Yak-9T (one, engine-mounted) which, contrary to initial impressions, was primarily used for air combat (although like any fighter would also have engaged ground targets as required). The small number of Yak-9K built, armed with the NS-45, were also primarily air combat fighters.
The Russians continued to experiment with recoilless aircraft guns. The 37mm ARKON had its recoil balanced by gas ejection, while two variants of another design, known as GK-37 and GK-45, simply consisted of two guns back to back, firing apparently identical cartridges (presumably the balancing one fired an inert shell!). A drawing exists of a 'Fighter Aircraft B1' armed with a GK-37 behind the two-seat cockpit, angled to fire upwards at about 60 degrees (or downwards at 120!). The second crewman manually reloaded after each shot.
Another Soviet weapon in competition with the 23mm VYa was the MP-6, also known as the PTB-23 or Taubin 23, designed by OKB-16. Development started in 1940 and the gun was actually produced from November 1940 but production was cancelled in May 1941 in favour of the VYa. Some prototypes were used in the first Winter War with Finland. The original cartridge was similar to the 23x152B of the VYa but was beltless; the belted version had to be adopted later to aid gun functioning. Originally the gun was designed for magazine feed, with an 81-round magazine consisting of nine rounds in each of nine rows; a belt-fed version was developed later. The MP-6 was tested in a Messerschmitt Bf-110 (!), a LaGG-3 (engine-mounted) and in an Il-2 for comparison with the VYa. The gun suffered reliability problems and the recoil was too severe, so it was not adopted. However, the successful NS-37 was designed around the same operating mechanism.
The original cartridge for the NS-37, used in early production versions, was similar in dimensions to that of the Sh-37 but was rimmed: as the Sh-37 was already in service, the NS-37 was redesigned to use its ammo. The Sh-37 was magazine-fed (initially 20 rounds, later 40 rounds for the Il-2 installation). Although it saw service, it was dropped because of its unreliability, magazine feed, heavy recoil, excessive weight (302 kg in Il-2, compared with 183 kg for the NS-37 in the same mounting), complex construction and a rate of fire only two-thirds that of the NS-37 (170 rpm installed instead of 260). Despite this, the Shpitalny group developed a 45mm version but the air force refused to test it.
The RShR-57 was designed by Rashkov, Shentsov and Rozanov.
An NS-76 automatic aircraft gun was built and reportedly performed well but only one was built as rockets were adopted instead.
A "bi-calibre" aircraft automatic gun designated S-10/S-20 was designed in 1944 by the Central Artillery Design Bureau. The gun was designed with two variants of barrel - 45 mm (S-20) and 57 mm (S-10). The S-20 fired at 105 rpm, the S-10 at 108 rpm. The S-10 could penetrate 50-mm armour plate (shooting on the ground). This aircraft gun system passed ground firing trials in December 1944, but no information about aircraft firing trials is available. It was intended for use against heavy enemy aircraft (at up to 1200 m range) and ground targets.
PAGE 164, 226 & 237:
Confusion of the origin of the "Lb" designation for the Rheinmetall-Borsig 204 gun continues. I said before that it was designated "Lb" by the factory after its designer, Heinrich Lübbe. However, it now appears more likely that stands for 'Lafette beweglich', indicating that it was intended for a flexible mounting. It appears that the beltless 20x105 round had already replaced the belted one by the time that the gun was officially adopted into Luftwaffe service as the MG 204.
The MK 101 was initially known as the MG 101 (an example captured in the Battle of Britain being so marked).
The 15mm version of the MG 151 seems to have been used more widely than is generally credited, possibly because later authors took the designation "MG 151" to refer to the 20mm version. It appears that the electrically-primed version of the MG 151/20 only saw service in the Fw 190 family (which used only this model even in unsynchronised outer-wing mountings, to avoid any confusion over which ammunition to load).
PAGE 167 (first column, fifth line) should read:
"As on average only about 2 percent of shots fired hit their target," Another source gives an average score of 5%.
One source ('Historical Development Summary of Automatic Cannon Caliber Ammunition: 20-30 Millimeter' by Dale Davis of the US Air Force Armament Laboratory) argues that there is a convincing case for believing that from June 1944 onwards the MK 103 Hartkern round had a uranium rather than tungsten core.
The 75mm gun fitted to the Ju 88P-1 was not the autoloading BK 7,5 (which was only fitted to the Hs 129B-3 with a 12-round rotary magazine) but a simpler modification of the same PAK 40 anti-tank gun, with a 10-round vertical magazine and a crew-member acting as a loader; he had to swing the loading tray into position to load each round (although loading and case ejection then happened automatically).
The 20x94 ammunition in the Ho-5 was not downrated in performance: it was designed for 750 m/s from the start.
The manually-loaded 37mm gun used in Japanese aircraft was the Type 98 tank gun, not the Type 94; it fired a 37x165R cartridge (the same as the one used in the Type 94 anti-tank gun).
A photo of the 37mm Ho-203 in the nose of a Ki-45 is HERE
The Ki-43 was more lightly armed than is suggested here: the armament of most versions appears to have been one 7.7mm Type 89 and one 12.7mm Ho-103 (both synchronised). The Ki-43-IIIb version mounting two 20mm Ho-5 cannon never entered service.
Japanese obliquely-mounted aircraft guns did not see action until May 1943, about the same time as the first Luftwaffe victory with this type of weapon.
The unimpressive performance of the 12.7mm Breda-SAFAT guns was worsened by the relationship between the synchronisation system and the fixed-pitch variable-speed propeller, which meant that the guns' rate of fire could drop suddenly as the aircraft speed increased.
The Hungarians developed a 12.7mm version of their Gebauer twin-barrelled engine-driven aircraft gun, using 12.7x81SR ammunition adopted from Italy. It was used in their Reggiane Re 2000 (Hejja II) fighters where it fired at 1,000 rpm (synchronised).
The 12.7mm LKk/42 was simply the Finnish designation for their .50 Browning aircraft guns.
The Madsen aircraft cannon tale continues to unfold (this is the fourth amendment to this information). It now appears that the 20mm version of the cannon was fitted to about a dozen of the 25 Curtis Hawk 75N supplied to Thailand, one gun being installed in a fairing under each wing, but these were removed at some point because of their effect on the aircraft's performance. It also appears that the Hawks supplied to China were fitted for the cannon, and that perhaps two of them had the 23mm version installed. One report states that both 20mm and 23mm guns were used by Argentina (credible: they were the only user of the 11.35mm Madsen). The aircraft the 23mm was fitted to is not known for certain, but was probably the Hawk 75. It seems that only the 23mm version of the Madsen was belt-fed, the 20mm being drum or magazine fed in all applications.
A much more detailed analysis of aircraft gun and ammunition effectiveness can be found HERE.
A study of a theoretical "ideal" WW2 aircraft gun and ammunition combination is HERE.
There is a description on pg 475 of Morgan and Shacklady's monumental book Spitfire: The History of an extraordinary gun which does not seem to have been mentioned in any other publication: the Vickers 34mm recoilless. The only technical detail of the gun given is that is was designed to use 10.5 lb (4.76 kg) of propellant. The gun was first test-fired at Woolwich in November 1946 and was later ground-tested when installed in both Mosquito and Beaufighter fuselages, before in 1952 being installed underwing on a Spitfire F21 (Type 533) and flown to check flight characteristics. It seems that it was never fired in the air, and was cancelled in December 1952 after the gun was accidentally damaged on the ground. Further mention of a 34mm recoilless aircraft gun has been made in Chris Gibson's new book: Battle Flight: RAF Air Defence Projects and Weapons Since 1945. This includes mention of the 1954 Working Party on Air Defence, which among other things proposed a heavy, twin-engined Mach 2.5 bomber interceptor designated F.155. The proposed armament was of the upward-firing Schräge Musik type, either two elevating 30mm Aden guns or sixteen 34mm recoilless guns, in both cases in the rear fuselage. Any relationship between the earlier 34mm RCL proposal and this one is unclear, but in this case the guns were presumably single-shot or there wouldn't need to be so many of them. Possibly it used the same ammunition.
The .50BMG M3 was found to suffer from unacceptable malfunction and failure rates, leading to its being dropped from the US inventory in the late 1950s. In the Vietnam War, the US Army used a .50 AN-M2, designated M213, as a helicopter door gun. The M296 was a further M2 development for remote firing applications, as used in gunpods and fixed mountings on light helicopters. The GAU-15/A is the modern version of the M2, also for helo use; the GAU-16/A being an improved version of this. The GAU-18/A (formerly known as the M218) is a lightweight variant used on some helos: it fires at only 550 rpm rather than 750-850. More recently, the M3 has been redesigned to improve its reliability, particularly by using high-quality alloys. The M3P is a remote-fired version used by the Avenger Air Defense System and on some UH-60 helos; it fires at 950-1,100 rpm. The M3M is a version for flexible mounting, adopted in 2004 as the GAU-21/A and coming with a soft-mount system which greatly reduces recoil. RoF is 1,100 rpm and a continuous burst of 600 rounds can be fired without damage to the barrel.
More information has come to light concerning the 30mm BMARCo. This was actually a French design, the HS 411, data on which must have been transferred to their British subsidiary early in WW2. Ammunition was made in the UK in 1942, the cartridge case being almost identical in appearance to the current 30x170 Rarden case. The British rejected the gun but the Swiss branch of Hispano Suiza continued to develop it during and after WW2 as the HS 830/831, and it eventually entered service in the 1950s as an AA gun. With the takeover of HS by Oerlikon around 1970 the gun was redesignated the KCB - in which form it entered service with the British Royal Navy in the 1980s in both single and twin mountings (and is now in the process of being replaced by the MK44).
The HS 825 as tested in the UK used brass rimless cases; further development in Switzerland saw the adoption of steel belted cases.
With the demise of the Jaguar and Sea Harrier, the Aden's last British installation is in an optional under-fuselage gunpod for the Hawk trainer.
More details on the development of the South African 30 mm 55c5 revolver cannon have been provided by Gert Rossouw as follows:
"I’ve recently read one of your articles were you mention the Vektor 55c5 and think you may find the following information interesting. I was the chief designer on the project and was responsible for all design and project management during the final phases. As is the case worldwide the pilots of our air force needed a higher rate of fire due to the short time on target. The basic requirement for the upgrade was thus an increase in firing tempo. For obvious reasons the Defa 553 was used as the technology carrier. The design focused on the feeding of the cartridge in three phases. (I believe the same principle was used in the Defa 544) The XDM was designed to eject the links on top of the feed cover but as this would result in changes to the aircraft, the approach was changed and the links were ejected in the same path as the Defa 553. Development went well and a firing rate of 2,200 rpm was achieved on a firing range. However the high rate caused excessive component wear and reduced reliability. Changes were effected to bring the rate down to about 2,000 rpm. Very good reliability and acceptable component life was achieved. Integrating into the aircraft brought some new challenges which all were overcome in the end. During the final acceptance tests performed by our air force the cannon was subjected to a flight envelope of -3 and +7g force with excellent results. An entire week of evaluation was completed without a single stoppage and an in-flight firing rate of 1,900 rpm was measured. Furthermore the new cannon gave the pilots higher accuracy and increased pipper control. Several production cannon were manufactured and integrated into the air force but during the late nineties major changes took place in our defence force resulting in the replacement of the Cheetah aircraft with the SAAB Gripen. With the phasing out of the Cheetah the project was shelved."
PAGE 186, 233, 249:
Another Oerlikon experimental aircraft revolver cannon was the 251 RK of 1958-63, which (like the KCA) had a four-chamber cylinder and was offered in three calibres (all with electric priming): two using the existing 20x128 KAA and 30x97B DEFA rounds, the third a new 25x116B made by necking-down the Aden/DEFA case. This was arguably a better compromise than either 20mm or 30mm, firing a 165 gram projectile at 1040 m/s. The gun was a little lighter and more compact than the Aden/DEFA at around 75 kg, and it fired at 1750 rpm (20mm), 1650 rpm (25mm) or 1400 rpm (30mm). Barrel lengths were: 180 cm (251/20), 175 cm (251/25 and 159 cm (251/30).
The T33 series was designed around the massive 20x158RB T5 round.
The 23x115 cartridge for the NS-23 was developed simply by adapting the 14.5x114 anti-tank gun cartridge to take the 23mm projectiles from the VYa. The decision to develop the gun was taken because it was felt that the high velocity of the VYa was not adequate for tank busting anymore, and a lighter and more compact weapon was preferred.
Some notes on Soviet aircraft guns from Max Popenker:
general transition from 20mm to 23mm in aircraft calibers was based on Stalin’s
order of 1947. The general concept was to fire fast from close ranges –
therefore new ammunition was designed with moderate ballistics and lower recoil
to allow for lighter and faster-firing guns.
N-37: adopted in 1947, was intended for use against US strategic bombers: tests conducted against a Tu-4 bomber (US B29 copy) showed that one hit with a 37mm shell was enough to kill the bomber. It was a short-recoil gun with an adjustable hydraulic recoil buffer, and fired from an open bolt. For the Yak-25 jet fighter a longer-barreled version was made, the N-37L (V0 = 725m/s against 690m/s in standard N-37). Later on it was modified as the NN-37 (Nudelman-Nemenov) for the Yak-27 jet fighter. RoF was increased to 600-700 rds/min.
NR-23: designed by 1948. The initial lifecycle was only 3,000 rounds, later this was doubled. It is estimated that over 80,000 NR-23 were made in the USSR
AM-23: adopted in 1952. Used only in bombers and transport aircraft An-8 and An-12. It had a relatively short barrel (1000mm).
NR-30: designed by 1952, mass-produced since 1954. Recoil operated, with power gases used to resist recoil instead of springs or hydraulic buffers (as with the AM23). Belt feeding was made in two stages – the first on the recoil of the barrel and the other on the early stages of the barrel's return to battery. Extensive use resulted in quick fouling due to powder gases and the gun easily malfunctioned and jammed, if not cleaned often enough. One interesting note – the barrels were chrome-plated not only internally, but externally at the exposed muzzle too, to protect from the hot powder gases of the muzzle blast.
R-23: bomber gun, light and fast and compact to be easily installed in remote controlled turrets. Special rounds with very heavy steel case and powerful charge (about twice when compared to NR23 round) – because of the shortened barrel. Chambering was made in so-called “throw” method – special rammer violently kicked round backwards and into the chamber with only 15mm of travel. This rammer was directly powered by powder gases. Ejection was conducted also using powder gases, fed from barrel directly into chamber, thus blowing the case forward and off the gun. The use of the specialized heavy round resulted in very limited use – only on Tu-22 Blinder bombers in tail turrets (remotely controlled). A rare photo of the gun installation is HERE
PAGE 191, 236, 240, 241:
The NR-23 was recoil-operated, not gas as suggested. It experienced problems in turret installations due to wind pressure affecting the sliding movement of the barrel. It proved necessary to attach steel bracing wires to the barrel to resist the pressure.
The N-37 was developed in three versions. First came the standard N-37. It was found that the muzzle gasses caused engine problems in both the MiG-9 and MiG-15 installations, so a gas deflector/muzzle brake was fitted, leading to the designation N-37D. Later, the N-37L was developed for the Yak-25 with a longer barrel for a higher muzzle velocity of 725 m/s. The mechanism of the N-37L was then altered with pneumatic assistance to speed the forward movement of the breech, resulting in an increase in the rate of fire from 400 to 600-700 rpm; this version was known as the NN-37. It remained in production almost until 1960.
The Chinese designation of the GSh-23 is "Type 23-3". Other Chinese 23mm aircraft guns in this calibre are the "Type 23-1" (copy of the Soviet NR-23) and the "Type 23-2" (copy of the Soviet AM-23).
News has emerged of two experimental Russian aircraft guns dating from the 1950s or 1960s, both designed by Makarov whose name is now associated with the standard Russian Army pistol. Both guns can be seen HERE: TKB 539 is on the left. The second image HERE is of two unidentified experimental Russian aircraft guns from the same period.
The Makarov TKB 539 was a 30mm 4-chamber revolver cannon, with an unusual action in which the cylinder was allowed to recoil via the gas system action in order to unlock from the barrel, rotate 90 degrees and then relock. Obturation was achieved by inserting the case neck into the barrel for about 25mm. The cylinder was loaded from the front with special cartridges having a reduced-diameter head (a similar arrangement to the R-23). Fired cases were ejected from the front using gas pressure from the next shot. The gun weighed 73 kg (the feed system another 16.8 kg), was 184.5 cm long and fired at 2,000 rpm. The ammunition generated a muzzle velocity of 1,000 m/s.
The Makarov TKB 532 was a 23mm gun using an entirely different mechanism. It is unclear from the description whether the breech was unlocked by recoil or gas, but ejection of the fired case was purely due to blowback (no extractor or ejector fitted) with fresh rounds being catapulted into the breech by a short-stroke spring-loaded rammer. The breech was also unusual, consisting of two sideways-sliding elements like dual sliding doors.
Two different 27mm rounds were developed in the 1950s to fit in the M61 Vulcan cannon to maximise the destructive effect. The rounds therefore had the same overall dimensions as the 20x102. The most common was the 20x70B, but there was also a 20x96B firing lighter shells at a higher velocity. The US also developed a larger version of the Vulcan chambered for the 30x113B Aden/DEFA round, and a longer-cased variant of this (30x126B), but none of these was adopted.
The normal magazine load for the A-10A is 1,174 rounds.
More detailed information about the reasons for the failure of the Aden 25 has emerged. The first problem was 'light strikes' on the primer by the firing pin, causing a failure to fire. A percussion ignition system has to work very hard in a revolver cannon as it has only a very small fraction of a second in which to work. (As a matter of interest, the percussion firing mechanism was actuated by the movement of the Front Slide, except for the first round of the burst which used energy stored in a Belville Washer pack. This meant that the incoming Roller had to be entering the Parallel Slot, thus lining the Cylinder up with the Barrel, before firing.) After much work it appears that this problem was solved, only to be replaced by a more serious one; the ammunition feed. The design of the gunpods intended to fit under the Harrier aircraft required the ammunition belt to be curved more or less on the limit of tolerance. The shape of the round and the design of the link also may have played a part in the feed problems, which proved insoluble.
The GIAT 30M791 is installed in all versions of the Rafale aircraft. It had been intended to omit it from the proposed two-seat naval aircraft (M) because the space and weight were needed for reinforced nose undercarriage and some other changes, but this version was not adopted by the French Navy.
The GSh-6-23 was designated 9A-620 and used compressed air to spin up the barrel cluster. This was soon replaced by the 9A-768 (aka GSh-6-23M) which uses a pyrotechnic kick-starter for faster spin-up (there's a magazine for 10 PPL start-up cartridges). There is no separate designation for the linkless feed version of the GSh-6-23M, which was developed due to unreliability caused by the links of the belt-fed version.
It is reported that the GSh-6-23 has been withdrawn from service in the Su-24 because of an unacceptable level of premature detonations in the barrels. After two Su-24 were lost because of shell detonation in 1983, plus some different problems with gun use (system failures etc., very similar to the situation with GSh-6-30 and MiG-27, see HERE), use of the GSh-6-23 was stopped by a decision of the Soviet AF Command.
A detailed analysis of modern fighter gun effectiveness is included HERE.
PAGE 197, 198, 233, 250:
The designation 9A624 is an alternative designation for the YakB-12.7 gun, not the mounting.
The Chinese have developed an externally-powered "chain gun" in 23x115 calibre, which is fitted to their Z-10 attack helicopter.
The RAH-66 Comanche has since been cancelled (and the XM301 with it).
The GE XM-188 was in the percussion-primed 30x100B WECOM calibre, not the 30x113B.
The photo on page 198 does of course show the Kamov Ka-50, not Kaman!
The 30 x 113 B ammunition used in the M230 is alloy cased and cannot be used in the Aden and DEFA revolver cannon, although the M230 can use Aden and DEFA ammunition.
Variants of the Bushmaster family were tested from a modified MH-60 platform as part of the US Navy's Rapid Airborne Mine Clearance System (RAMICS) program. Both 25mm and 30mm versions were tested. The Mk 44 Mod 0 became the choice using the specifically developed Mk 258 Mod 1 APFSDS-T round. See note on Page 15 above.
The RMK 30 programme has been shelved
CHAPTER 6: THE FUTURE
Tubular projectiles are being proposed for future HMGs. These are very light as they consist of a hollow tube, with carefully shaped internal and external form, and are claimed to combine a high muzzle velocity with good aerodynamics. Test models have been built in the USA in a .65 calibre cartridge case (which appears to be based on the Russian 14.5 x 114 and looks very much like the abortive FN BRG 15.5 x 106). The projectile weighs 36 grams and is fired at 1,520 m/s. Remaining velocity at 2,000 m is claimed to be 313 m/s, with a flight time to that distance of 2.60 seconds (comparative figures for the .50 BMG being 250 m/s and 4.50 seconds). An obvious problem is that a tube projectile can carry no incendiary or HE and the AP performance seems unlikely to be good.
The USA's Wright Laboratory is investigating course-corrected projectiles which are steered by "bending" at a midway pivot point.
There is growing interest in sub-calibre shells for naval use. OTOMelara have developed a "DART" HEFSDS projectile for anti-missile use in their 76mm gun, although the fuzing difficulties created by very high closing speeds must be immense. Italy and the Netherlands are combining to develop the "Vulcano" guided HEFSDS round with a range of 120 km for the 127mm gun, while there are two other projects for unguided projectiles for the USN's existing 127mm guns: the "Barrage" HEFSDS with a range of 74 km, and the ANSR (Autonomous Naval Support Round) which has been tested at 94 km. More details are HERE.
The ARES TARG has recently been revived in the light of the US LSAT programme (Lightweight Small Arms Technologies), which aims to produce a 5.56mm LMG and ammunition which is half the weight of conventional weapons. While LSAT encompasses both caseless and plastic-cased telescoped ammunition, the latter is more promising and is essentially a scaled-down TARG round.
PAGE 203, 231 & 248:
Development of the 50mm Supershot was shelved for a long time, but has apparently been revived by ATK as it is featured in their current Bushmaster III brochure. Presumably this is because of the adoption of this gun by Denmark and the Netherlands in the CV90/35 MICV.
Mauser RMK development expanded to include four electrically-powered models, as follows:
RMK 30/2: 30x230 round, 280g at 1,050 m/s (round 44mm diameter, 500g), 4-chamber revolver, 300 rpm, 95 kg weight, 2.2m long (1.7m bbl)
RMK 30/1: 30x280 round, 280g at 1,350 m/s (round 50mm diameter, 655g), 3-chamber revolver, 300 rpm, 125 kg, 3.0m long (2.4m barrel)
RMK 35/1: 35x300 round, 400g at 1,250 m/s (round 50mm diameter, 900g), 3-chamber revolver, 300 rpm, 152 kg, 3.2m long (2.8m barrel)
RMK 35/2: 35x350 round, 430g at 1,480 m/s (round 63mm diameter, 1170g), single rotating chamber, 200 rpm, 280 kg, 3.5m long (2.8m barrel)
One proposal was to mount an RMK 30 on submarines in the Muräne (Moray) project: stored vertically in a waterproof housing at the end of a mast, so it could be elevated above the water at periscope depth. However, all of the RMK series have been shelved for lack of official interest.
The development of electromagnetic rail guns continues for naval use, aided by the planned use of electric drive warships, in which the engines are merely generators.
Estimates of the benefits of electro-thermal chemical technology include a 25-35% increase in muzzle velocity while maintaining moderate flame temperatures and gas pressures.
See THIS article on medium calibre naval guns.
The current growth area in light naval guns is in automatic cannon in remotely-controlled stabilised mountings which are intended for dealing with small boats and any helicopters which stray within range, but are generally of little use in air defence.
General Dynamics proposed a 127mm (5") L/89 Compact Vertical Gun System (CVGS) for the USN. This was intended not only for fitting to existing and new small surface ships, but also to submarines. It was expected to fire at 10 rpm and was stated to have the equivalent firepower of a 24-gun 155mm howitzer battalion (which appears extravagant, given the capabilities of modern land artillery). In the submarine application, the gun and a rotary magazine would have been stored in an SLBM silo and the barrel is extended like a periscope for firing, so the sub can remain at periscope depth.
Since then, the 127mm and 155mm vertical gun concepts have been replaced by the 155mm Advanced Gun System intended to arm the USN's next generation of warships, the DDG 1000 (Zumwalt Class). This has a conventional turreted mounting with a liquid-cooled barrel, and will be capable of sustaining 12 rpm. The gun mounting is expected to weigh 95 tons but the complete installation, with a full 750-round magazine, will be close to 300 tons. It was originally intended to fire conventional 54 kg artillery projectiles up to 40 km and also a dedicated Long-Range Land Attack Projectile weighing 118 kg, featuring rocket assistance and GPS/INS guidance, out to 180 km. However, the conventional projectile was cancelled in 2006.
The Royal Navy was funding Vickers to make a test version of the 4.5 inch Mk 8 Mod 1 modified to accept a 155mm artillery piece but this was cancelled as part of the 2010 defence cuts. More on that HERE.
The chances of success for the Rh 503 now seem remote, as the German army has selected the Mauser MK 30-2 for its next IFV, the Puma. Data and a picture of the 50x330 HE round has become available (see note on page 231, plus photo link).
More details of the CTA ammunition are now available. The 40mm cased telescopic round measures 65 x 255 mm. The APFSDS-T penetrator weighs 550g (flight projectile 320g) and is fired at 1,480 m/s. Penetration of the APFSDS is quoted as 145 mm / 1,500 m (presumably at 90 degrees) , while the GPR-T HE round (with a very blunt, round nose) weighs 1 kg, contains 115 g HE, is fired at 1,000 m/s and is optionally available with airburst fuzing. Benefits claimed for the 40 x 255 CTA cartridge include a large propellant capacity for the length (500g, compared with: 50 x 330 Supershot = 500g, 35 x 228 = 360g, 40 mm Super Forty = 260g, and 30 x 173 = 160g). Armour penetration of other APFSDS rounds at 1,500m compared with the 40mm CTA is quoted as follows: 50mm Supershot = 96%; 35mm = 77%; 40mm Super Forty = 70% (at 1,350 m/s - the latest version will be better), 30mm = 60%. The 40mm CTA is claimed to be able to penetrate all AFVs up to the T55 over the frontal arc at 1,500m. The CTA's airburst HE round is also stated to be several times better than the equivalent 30mm round. The CTA Warrior turret (which is fully stabilised to fire on the move) weighs 3,923 kg, is 2.35m wide and 5.29m long (including gun barrel): a second-generation MTIP-2 turret has now been produced and tested. It has two magazines with a total of 42 rounds (one with 12, one with 30, plus another 78 rounds stowed in racks), plus a 7.62mm Chain Gun. In Spring 2008 the 40 CTA was selected for both the WFLIP and FRES Scout requirements: see THIS article for the current status of the project.
Development of the American 40mm Super Forty (the 30 x 173 necked out to 40mm) continues. The 'baseline' cartridge case was originally 218mm long and fired its APFSDS shot at 1,350 m/s, while the HEAB case was much shorter at 164mm. However, they have now selected an 'optimized' common case design for APFSDS and HEAB (High Explosive Air Burst) which is 180mm long. Use of a lightweight sabot has increased APFSDS velocities from 1,350 to 1,475 m/s, with a flight weight of 230g (compared with 156g for the 30mm and 98g for the 25mm). The HEAB shell weighs about 670 g (c.70g HE) with a muzzle velocity of around 1,000 m/s. A 20-25% increase in penetration over the 30x173 APFSDS is claimed, together with a 60% increase in HE payload.
In the mid 1980s the Russians began to develop a 45mm cannon intended to replace the 30mm 2A42 and 2A72 on MICVs. The gun weighed 300-350 kg and was "cassette" (presumably clip or magazine) fed, with 4 or 5 rounds in each cassette. The barrel was rifled. The dimensions of the cartridge are not known, but there were two primary loadings: OFZ (HE) and BPS (APDS). The HE cartridge fired a 1.3 kg shell (containing 170 g HE) at a muzzle velocity of 850 m/s. The APDS cartridge fired a 670 g projectile (with a 420 g penetrating core) at 1,640 m/s. The rate of fire of the gun was 150-200 rpm and the APDS could penetrate up to 150 mm armour plate.
One of the advantages of the ACSW (the renamed OCSW) is its much flatter trajectory compared with the 40mm AGLs. At a range of 2000m the 40mm has a mid-range trajectory height of no less than 400m, while the ACSW is about 100m, the 7.62mm 60m and the .50" about 20m. The 25mm takes 8.6 seconds to reach this distance. The ACSW is 123 cm long and has been dubbed the XM307. Funding for this project was withdrawn at the end of 2007.
Projectiles based on the XM307's (but slightly shorter) will now be used in a shoulder-fired weapon, the XM25 semi-automatic grenade launcher (although with a reduced muzzle velocity and therefore a smaller - but still belted - cartridge case measuring 39 mm in length instead of 59 mm), shown in THIS article. This is for the time being replacing in the US Army's planning the XM29 OICW, a combined 5.56mm/20mm weapon, which has experienced weight problems. If the XM29 ever does make it into service, the 25mm is likely to replace the 20mm element.
ATK have announced the LW25 Bushmaster, a version of the Chain Gun family chambered for the same 25x59B ammunition as the XM307 and based on the 50 Bushmaster. Weight is 29.5 kg, length 102 cm, width 26 cm and height 26 cm. Rate of fire is 250 rpm, it is powered by a 0.4 hp 28V DC motor. Recoil force is 1,000 kg, or 300 kg in a soft mount. See THIS article for illustrations of ATK's range of ammunition for it.
Both the Boeing and Lockheed-Martin JSF teams did indeed select the BK 27 revolver cannon for their proposals. However, Lockheed Martin handed over the gun integration task for their winning F-35 design to General Dynamics, who instead proposed using the 25 mm GAU-12/U made by....General Dynamics! Their argument that it would be cheaper was accepted (although it seems strange that the extra bulk and weight did not appear to cause concern despite the frantic efforts to get the weight of the overweight plane down). The latest development (mid-2006) is that a unique, four-barrel version of the GAU-12/U has been designed specifically for the F-35: the GAU-22/A. The first model was assembled in January 2006 and commenced testing in February. The gun has a maximum RoF of 3,000 rpm. It will be fitted as an hydraulically powered internal gun to the F-35A (Air Force CTOL model), with a total system weight of 184 kg (181 rounds in a linear linkless feed system), and can be carried in an underslung fuselage pod in the F-35B (STOVL) and F-35C (USN) versions, with a weight of 445 kg 220 rounds in a helical feed system). The gun system is primarily designed for ground attack, with a secondary air-to-air capability, and in 2010 was qualified with PGU-20/U API and PGU-23 TP ammunition.
The decision not to utilise the Typhoon's BK 27 cannon in RAF service was reversed, although for the present it is qualified for ground attack only.
More information has emerged about the 45 mm TKB-700 smoothbore aircraft gun. The round resembles a rocket, with a HEAT warhead. It was 250 mm long and could penetrate armour of up to 200 mm (at a 90 degree angle). The gun firing rate was 1,250 rpm. It was tested on a flexible mount on a Su-25T in the 1980s. These tests were successful, but the TKB-700 was not accepted into service because of the collapse of the USSR. A (rather poor quality) photo of the ammunition is shown HERE, courtesy of Denis Evstafyev.
With respect to the AC-130, both the 40mm Bofors and the 25mm GAU-12/U
were to be replaced by the 30mm MK44 (Bushmaster II) as their armament was
upgraded, but this 2007 project was cancelled in 2008. However, it now appears to have been revived
with the installation of the MK44 (redesignated GAU-23/A) in the new AC-130J
AC-130W Stinger II. The Ghostrider is a conversion of the MC-130J Combat Shadow
II and will have Stinger II's precision strike package, which also includes dual
electro-optical infrared sensors, griffin missiles, all-weather synthetic
aperture radar and small diameter bomb capabilities. The sensors allow the
gunship to visually or electronically identify friendly ground forces and
targets at any time, even in adverse weather. The first conversion is expected
to be completed by the end of 2013. One further recent development is the
discovery in a Greek warehouse of lots of spare barrels for the 40mm L/60 Bofors.
This seems likely to restrict the scale of any regunning to the 30mm.
APPENDIX 1: ANTI-TANK & MODERN HEAVY RIFLES
Soviet experiments did not stop with the powerful 14.5x114 round. During 1942-43 Blum developed an experimental anti-tank rifle around an extremely powerful 14.5x147mm experimental cartridge (based on 23x152B VYa aircraft round case). MV was about 1500 m/s. Tested in 1943, this single shot, rotating bolt monster defeated the 82mm side armour of the PzKfw.VI 'Tiger' at ranges of up to 100 meters.
Another Russian weapon tested in the same
period was the 20mm RES single shot AT
rifle, which fired APCR ammo; penetration was 70mm/90°/100m and 60mm/90°/300m. A
few RES guns were manufactured in but there's no information about whether
these were ever issued to front line troops.
There is now some doubt that the Breda 14mm was designed around the Boys cartridge, as a drawing of a separate Breda cartridge of this calibre has been discovered.
There is some doubt that the French 13.2/7.92mm cartridge was intended for an anti-tank rifle (it may have been designed for ballistic tests). However, it seems that the Italians did produce such a cartridge for an AT rifle. It also appears that the French did experiment with the 13.2x99 round in a modified Mauser M1918 rifle.
Some interesting new information about the MG/EW 141 in 7.92x94 calibre. It appears that the semi-automatic EW 141 (Einbau Waffe = emplacement gun) replaced the automatic MG 141 (rather than the other way around) before production commenced, presumably because the barrel wear was too severe in automatic fire. The EW 141 had a much heavier barrel, some 108 cm long: this put up the weight to 30.1 kg. Rate of fire was about 100 rpm. It appears that the German Army intended to adopt the EW 141 as a standard weapon for reconnaissance vehicles, but only about 60 were built in 1940-42. Some forty PzKw I Ausf C (VK601) were built, reportedly armed with this gun. Two were issued to the 1st Panzer Div for combat trials in 1943, while the remainder were issued to reserve units (one report indicates that they may have been issued to units during the Normandy campaign). Two other vehicles that commenced development in 1938 also carried it. One was the Pz Kpfw II Ausf G, which had a new suspension of overlapping road wheels, and was armed with an EW 141 and an MG 34. Twelve were produced but apparently none was issued to front-line units - twenty-seven turrets were used as pillboxes. The second vehicle was the Panzerspahwagen RK Ausf A, which was a wheel/tracked recon armoured car designed by Saurer. It also carried an armament of an EW 141 and an MG 34. Fifteen were ordered in 1942 but production was cancelled due to changing requirements.
At least one of the EW 141 guns was fitted with a Gerlich taper-bore barrel, with an initial calibre of 14mm tapering down to 9mm at the muzzle. The cartridge appears to have used the 318 case, necked out to 14mm, and it was designated Patrone 419. Examples of the cartridge survive in the famous Woodin collection in the USA.
The Czech original of the M.SS 41 7.92mm ATR was actually developed in several calibres, including a 7.92x145 round with a two-part case (a steel base with a brass body).
There was also the Solothurn S18-500, which used the 20x105B ammunition and was originally ordered by the Netherlands, but this order was replaced by the S18-1000 after only a few had been made.
It is not correct to say that the Lahti L39 fired from an open bolt; the bolt remained to the rear when the gun was cocked, but a lever was squeezed to close the bolt just before firing.
Some further information: At 1933 Battle
Equipment Department (of Finnish Armed Forces) ordered the design of a 12.7-mm
calibre machinegun from VKT (= Valtion Kivaaritehdas = State rifle factory), but
a decision to change the calibre to 13.2-mm was made already during the design
process. The process resulted in a 13.2-mm heavy machinegun L-34. Only a few
prototypes of these machineguns designed by Aimo Lahti were manufactured and
only one of them took part to the war (L-35/36 machinegun used as main weapon on
the Landsverk armoured car).
More information has emerged about the the 13mm Lahti anti-tank rifle/HMG. Special high-velocity ammunition was developed for this weapon, measuring 13x118B (a beltless 13x113 and a slightly longer 13x120B were also developed experimentally). Projectile weight was 50 grams and muzzle velocity 950 m/s (less than the target 1,000 m/s). Various HMG prototypes were made for anti-tank and AA use with designations L34, L34, L35/6, L37 and L39, with the AT rifles being L38 and probably L39 (a version of the later 20mm gun). It could penetrate 15mm/300m/60 degrees, again less than the 22mm expected. Three of the prototype guns (including an ATR) did see action in the Winter War, but performed badly. This information is from from Jarkko Vihavainen, from an article by Esa Paananen in Ase-lehti magazine vol 6/2003 .More information about the weapons is provided on Jarkko's website HERE. It is now reported that the 20mm Lahti L39 did see 'test' service in the Winter War, the two existing examples being tried in action, but full service use didn't happen until the Continuation War (from 1941) and in the Lapland War of 1944.
Finnish cartridge cases for 13.2 mm x 118B were made from brass. These cartridge
cases were made by "Oy Tikkakoski Ab" (6,300 cartridge cases made between August
1938 - June 1939) and "Oy Sytytin" (at least 500 cartridge cases, which were
delivered at June of 1938). In addition 15,000 cartridge cases had been ordered
through "Oy Flinkenberg & Co" from D.W.M. in Germany (delivery at June of 1939).
All the cartridge cases were delivered to VKT, which had designed at least
HE-tracer and AP-bullets for this ammunition at 1936. Both of these bullets had
tombac (zinc + copper mix) jackets and had 13.35-mm diameter, 57.8-mm length and
boat tail-shape. Hotchkiss-type bullets were also ordered for the ammunition
through "Oy Italo-Finlandese" company from "Manufacture de Machines du Haut-Rhin"
factory at France in May of 1938. In August of 1938 the bullets were delivered:
- 5,000 pcs 49.5-gram and 63.0-mm long HE tracer-bullets
- 500 pcs 52.0-gram and 63.0-mm long AP-bullets
Diameters of these Hotchkiss type bullet were between 13.45 - 13.47 mm
Also a longer 13.2 mm x 120B cartridge case existed. These were used to load test ammunition at VKT. The shoulder of this cartridge case is more gentle then in 13.2 mm x 118B cartridge cases. Only headstamp marking found from these cartridge cases is "16", some had no headstamp at all. Theory is that these 120-mm long cartridge cases may be the ones made by D.W.M. Finnish made cartridge cases had 8.05-mm diameter Berdan primers. The decision for stopping 13.2-mm calibre antitank rifle projects and going with 20-mm calibre antitank rifle was made early 1939. At 1937 VKT had also made plans for 15.0-mm calibre ammunition (presumably as compromise between 13.2-mm and 20-mm ammunition), but it seems that the project never went beyond planning stage.
A more detailed study of the Carl Gustav m/42 recoilless anti tank rifle is here.
PAGE 222, 223, 234 and 253:
The use of large-calibre heavy rifles continues to grow, both for long-range sniping and anti-materiel purposes (in Iraq in 1991 a USMC Recon Team used a .50 Barrett M82A1 firing API ammunition to destroy three BMP-1 IFVs at a range of 1,600m, by firing into the engine compartment). New manually-loaded examples in 12.7x99 (.50 BMG) include the Gueitte bullpup, the Robar .50, the South African Truvelo SR.50, the FN NEMSIS (based on the Hecate II series and with barrels of 700 or 400 mm, the latter with a silencer, and weights of 11-13 kg) and the Barrett M-99 lightweight bullpup (recently adopted by US SOCOM). In Serbia, Zastava offers the Black Arrow in either 12.7x99 or 12.7x108. The semi-automatic Barrett M82A1M has now been type-classified M107 in US Service, while the gas-operated Pauza P-50 (using a system similar to the FN FAL) has been seen with US Special Forces: this is available with 610 or 740 mm barrels and with weights of 10-13.6 kg. The Russians are also using a bullpup design in 12.7x108, the KSVK, developed from the SVN-98. The interesting Steyr 15.2mm IWS2000 did not achieve commercial success and has been dropped.
The Mechem NTW has now been developed to use 20x110 Hispano ammunition. A rival offering from Truvelo is in the same calibre.
Moving up in calibre, the Barrett 'Payload Rifle', designated XM109 and developed from the M82A1, is chambered for the ACSW's 25x59B ammunition: it weighs 14 kg with a four-round magazine and is 112 cm long. Photos show a huge suppressor, which presumably helps to keep down the heavy recoil, although suppressors are not as effective with low-velocity ammunition. At the other end of the scale comes the CheyTac Long Range Sniper in a new .408 CheyTac calibre (10.4x77). Another new sniper rifle cartridge is the Steyr-Mannlicher .460 (11.6x90) which uses a shortened .50 BMG case, with yet another being the .416 Barrett, also on the shortened .50 BMG case.
The 1.5 inch silent sniper round was slightly different to that shown, with a case length of 1.32 inches (33.5mm). There has been lots of development of subsonic cartridges for suppressed weapons, as described HERE.
APPENDIX 2 TABLE 1 (cartridge entries - service rounds):
PAGE 223: 13.2x99 loadings available were as follows: ball = 50.75g, AP = 51.15g, tracer = 48.54g, AP-T = 48.87g, incendiary = 43.75g. Muzzle velocities for all loadings are quoted as 810 m/s, except for the incendiary at 820 m/s.
PAGE 226: 20x94: this was not down-loaded as stated in the notes: the designed MV was 750 m/s, wartime US and Japanese sources giving 730-760 m/s.
PAGE 226: 20x99R muzzle velocity is normally quoted as lower than this at 750-790 m/s (possibly the higher velocity was achieved in the very long-barrel versions used in engine mountings). Projectile weights varied between 91-99g (one source gives weights as low as 79g, but this is contradicted by others).
PAGE 226: 20x102 should have an (e) added as this is electrically primed. The MK149 Mod 4 APDS used in the Phalanx CIWS weighs 70g (94g including sabot) and is fired at 1,120 m/s for an ME of 43,900 J (penetrator only). The new MK244 Mod 0 APDS used in the Phalanx Block 1B (which has longer barrels) fires a 104.5g penetrator (126.5g inc sabot) at 1,100 m/s for an ME of 63,220 J (penetrator only).
PAGE 226: 20x105B was not used in MG 204: only 20x105 was used in this gun: in addition to the loading given, there was an AP/T of 148g fired at 730m/s, which penetrated 20mm armour at 600m.
PAGE 226: 20x110 USN for Mk 11 and Mk 12 guns should have an (e) added as this was electrically primed
PAGE 226: 20x113 for Lahti L-34 had a projectile weight of 136g, not 156g as stated. The muzzle velocity was 800 m/s, giving a muzzle energy of 43,500 joules.
PAGE 227: Judging by an examination of a primer, the 25 x 184 Oerlikon KBB utilises electrical ignition.
PAGE 227: A new entry - the 1930s 25.4mm Vickers. Metric dimensions 25x189, rim diameter 34.8mm, body diameter 34.3mm, Projectiles AP (250g) and HE (260g), muzzle velocity 914 m/s, muzzle energy 104,000-108,000 J.
PAGE 227: A new entry, the current Chinese 25mm PG87. Dimensions (scaled from drawing) 25x183B, rim diameter 39mm, belt diameter 41mm, maximum case diameter above belt 38mm. Projectiles HE, HEI-T, API-T (all 250g at 1,050 m/s); HEI (230g at 1,075 m/s), APDS-T (135g at 1,350 m/s); muzzle energy 123,000-138,000 J.
PAGE 228: As well as the 25x205R cartridge used in the Bofors M/32, there was a 25x187R used in the M/38 version of the gun. This has a rim diameter of 42mm and a body diameter above the rim of 37mm, like the longer M/32 case.
PAGE 229: 37 x 94R. An official British handbook gives a high muzzle velocity of 550 m/s when firing a 450g shell, for an ME of 68,000 Joules, getting on for double the normally quoted power. This may in part be because it was measured from a 30-calibre barrel rather than the 20 calibre one usual for guns firing this cartridge, but that can't account for all of the difference.
PAGE 229: 37 x 101SR Sockelflak muzzle velocity was 320 m/s giving a muzzle energy of 24,000 joules
PAGE 230: 40 x 158R Vickers Class S HE Mk III.T: 844 g, MV 704 m/s, ME 209,000 J.
APPENDIX 2 TABLE 2 (miscellaneous military cartridges):
PAGE 231 and 248: 30 x 280 RMK30. This is the cartridge for the RMK30-1. Currently attention is focused on the lighter RMK30-2, which fires a 30x230 cartridge. Projectile weight for both cartridges is now given as 280g.
PAGE 231: 57 x 441R. Various different loadings were available for the 6pdr anti-tank gun, which also saw service with two different barrel lengths (giving further velocity options). It now appears that the Molins gun used the longer barrel and the standard 2.86 kg AP shot (rather than APCBC) which produced a muzzle velocity of 890 m/s and a muzzle energy of 1,133K joules. See the article on the Molins Gun for more details.
PAGE 231: 50 x 330. Data now available on HE loading for this: shell weight 2.1 kg (containing 192 g HE), muzzle velocity 1,040 m/s. A photo of the 35x228 and 50x330 rounds developed for the Rh 503 is HERE (courtesy Harry Zertner).
PAGE 233: add 25 x 116B for the Oerlikon 251/25 RK cannon: 33mm rim, 32mm body; 165 g; MV 1040 m/s; ME 89,000 J
PAGE 233: add 27 x 70B for M61 Vulcan cannon: 29.5mm rim, 29.3mm body; 250 g, MV 610 m/s, ME 46,500 J
PAGE 233: add 27 x 96B for M61 Vulcan cannon: 29.5mm rim, 29.3mm body; 200 g, MV 860 m/s, ME 74,000 J
PAGE 233: 30x110B projectile weight (XM639 TP) 193 g.
PAGE 233: add 37 x 219 for the T250 rotary cannon used in the 1950s Vigilante SPAAG: rim and body 54.5mm; MV 915 m/s, shell weight not given. A photo of the ammo is HERE.
PAGE 233: the Schneider M1930 AA gun used a 37 x 300R case. The HE shell weighed 750 g and was fired at 800 m/s, for an ME of 240,000 J
PAGE 233: add 40 x 164 for the first type HE round for the 'Super 40' (a 37x173 necked-out to 40mm calibre): 44mm rim, 43.6mm body, 680 g, MV 1,000 m/s, ME 340,000 J
PAGE 233: add 40 x 180 for the second type standard-case (HE and APFSDS) round for the 'Super 40' (a 37x173 necked-out to 40mm calibre): 44mm rim, 43.6mm body, 670 g HE, MV 1,050 m/s, ME 370,000 J; 230 g (flight weight) APFSDS, 1,475 m/s, ME 250,000 J
PAGE 233: add 40 x 218 for the first type APFSDS round for the 'Super 40' (a 37x173 necked-out to 40mm calibre): 44mm rim, 43.6mm body, 230 g (flight weight) APFSDS, 1,350 m/s, 210,000 J
PAGE 233: The cartridge used in the British 'Red Queen' experimental twin-barrel revolver AA gun measured 42 x 270, with rim and body diameters of 81mm and 82mm respectively. The cartridge for the Oerlikon 421RK 'Red King' measured 42 x 348, with rim and case diameters of 70mm. Ballistics were a 1.09 kg shell at 1,070 m/s (624,000 joules) for the Red King, probably very similar for the Red Queen. Photos of both types of ammo are HERE.
PAGE 233: The 53mm Hotchkiss had a case length of 188 mm.
APPENDIX 2 TABLE 3 (gun entries - service weapons):
PAGE 236: China:
12.7mm Type 77: weight of gun 28 kg, complete gun on AA tripod, without ammo = 56.1 kg.
12.7mm Type 85: weight of gun 24 kg, complete gun on AA tripod without ammo = 41.5 kg, length 215 cm, barrel 100 cm.
12.7mm Type 88: length 150cm, weight (gun body) 18.5 kg, RoF 540-600 rpm, gas operated
12.7mm Type 89: length 212cm, barrel 100cm, weight (gun body) 17.5 kg, 450-600 rpm, combined gas/recoil
14.5mm Type 02: weight c.75kg on universal AA mount, gas operated.
25mm PG87: 25x183B calibre, barrel length 229 cm, rate of fire 600-800 rpm
PAGE 236: France - Hotchkiss 13.2x99: Notes column should include "(IJN Type 93)"
PAGE 237: Lb/MG 204 should be just MG 204, which was only issued chambered for the 20x105 (beltless) round. Further information from a contemporary document gives a weight of only 38kg, length 157cm, barrel 90cm, rate of fire 500 rpm.
PAGE 237: 15mm MG 151 weighed 38 kg
PAGE 238: The 13.2mm Breda M31 weight should be 47.5 kg. Its use as a naval AA weapon in submarines and light craft (in which it used a 30-round box magazine) should also be noted. The weight and overall length of the 37mm Breda M39 were 275 kg and 323 cm respectively.
PAGE 239: Weight of the Ho-301 should be 40 kg.
PAGE 240: ShVAK barrel length was 125 cm in the SP-20 wing mounting and 154 cm (170 cm including unrifled forward extension) in the MP-20 engine cannon.
PAGE 240: Beresin B-20 barrel length varied, but in the modified B-20E it was 110 cm.
PAGE 240: NR-23 is recoil-operated, not gas.
PAGE 240: AM-23 is 147 cm long with a 100 cm barrel. The version for mounting in the glazed nose of bombers (AM-23L) has a longer barrel and a muzzle brake: overall length is 177 cm and weight is 44 kg.
PAGE 240: GSh-23 barrel length is 100 cm (for a total length of 139 cm). GSh-23L has a muzzle brake which puts the total length up to 154 cm and weight to 51 kg.
PAGE 240: GSh-6-23M overall length is 140 cm with 100 cm barrels and 73 kg weight (belt-fed version). There is also a linkless feed version which fires at 8,500 rpm.
PAGE 240: Rikhter R-23: overall length 147 cm, barrel 114 cm. Service RoF reduced to 1,800-2,000 rpm to increase reliability.
PAGE 240: M1940 naval: fed by 7-round charger clips. Rate of fire was 240 rpm.
PAGE 240: 110-PM : weight 101 kg, length 285 cm, barrel length 200 cm. Belt fed (2M-8 7-round flexible clips). RoF 270-300 rpm. 2M-3 mounting (and 2M-8 sub mounting)
PAGE 240: M-110: weight 110 kg, length 281 cm, barrel length 200 cm. Belt fed. RoF 470-480 rpm. 2M-3M mounting.
PAGE 240: NR-30 operation was recoil-operated, with gas-powered cylinder for recoil absorption and recovery. Barrel 160 cm (without muzzle brake).
PAGE 241: 2A42: barrel length 240 cm. Low RoF is 200-300 rpm, high rate is 600-800 rpm.
PAGE 241: 2A72: barrel length 240 cm. Low RoF is 200 rpm, high rate is 350-390 rpm.
PAGE 241: GSh-301: barrel length 150 cm.
PAGE 241: GSh-30: weight 105 kg, overall length 204 cm, barrel length 150 cm, RoF 3,000 rpm.
PAGE 241: GSh-30K: weight 126 kg, overall length 294 cm, barrel length 240 cm, RoF 300-400 rpm (low rate), 2,000-2,600 rpm (high rate). Evaporation cooling system.
PAGE 241: 2A38M: barrel length 240 cm.
PAGE 241: GSh-6-30: weight 149 kg; length 188 cm, barrel length 150 cm. RoF 5,000 rpm, but limited to 4,000 rpm to control recoil problems.
PAGE 241: AO18: weight 205 kg, overall length 218 cm, barrels 162 cm. Belt feed. RoF 4,000-5,000 rpm. AK 630 mounting
PAGE 241: GSh-6-30K: weight 205 kg, overall length 218 cm, barrels 162 cm. Belt feed. RoF 4,000-5,000 rpm. Improved reliability and gun life. AK630M mounting
PAGE 241: GSh-6-30P (6K30GSh): weight 229 kg, overall length 218 cm, barrels 162 cm. Linkless feed. RoF 6,000 rpm. Evaporation cooling. 3M87 Kashtan mounting
PAGE 241: AO18L: weight 190 kg (inc electric drive), overall length 217 cm, barrels 162 cm. Belt feed. RoF 600-1,000 rpm. air cooling. AK306 mounting
PAGE 241: NN-30: barrel length 180 cm.
PAGE 242: Sweden - Bofors 25mm m/32: rate of fire was 160-180 rpm
PAGE 242: Sweden - Bofors 40mm L70: rate of fire has slipped into the "Notes" column. The weight of the Bofors 40mm L56/60 is 440 kg
PAGE 244: UK - add 25.4mm Vickers. Calibre 25x189, weight 127 kg, length 259cm, air-cooled, gas-operated, 200 rpm, fed by a 10-round box magazine. The only known use was in a twin naval mounting fitted to the Argentinian training cruiser 'La Argentina'
PAGE 244: USA - Browning .50": Cartridge feed should read "belt 110 (cloth or steel link)" for the army/navy guns and "belt" for the aircraft guns
PAGE 245: USA - M85: Cartridge feed should read "belt"
PAGE 245: USA - M61 Vulcan: current production M61A2 aircraft guns have slimmer barrels and weigh 94 kg
PAGE 245: USA - M61 Vulcan: add Phalanx Block 1B, barrel length 200 cm, weight increased but not stated, RoF 4,500 rpm.
PAGE 245: USA - GAU 4: should have an (e) added as this is electrically primed
PAGE 245: USA - MDHC M242: also known as the "Bushmaster"
PAGE 245: USA - USN 1.1": gun weight (dry) 252 kg, (with cooling etc fluids) 276 kg.
PAGE 246: OTHER NATIONS: should be a reference to the Romanian 30mm A436 (see Russian NN-30 and pages 105/6)
PAGE 247: OTHER NATIONS: The Lahti L-34 weighed 60 kg (magazine feed) or 69 kg (belt feed), without mounting. The barrel was 120 cm long (overall length 169 cm). The gun was fed by a 15-round box, a 30-round drum or a belt, and the rate of fire was 325-360 rpm.
APPENDIX 2 TABLE 4 (gun entries - other heavy automatic weapons):
PAGE 247: FRANCE - HS 407: Note - the HS 406 was similar except for barrel length
PAGE 248: RUSSIA - OKB-16-57: The alternative name was N-57, not RShR-57.
(See Notes on Russian 57mm airborne anti-tank guns for further comments on the large-calibre Russian guns)
PAGE 249: Switzerland - add Oerlikon 251/20 RK cannon in 20x128, 251/25 RK cannon in 25x116B and 251/30 RK cannon in 30x97B: weight 75 kg, Barrel lengths were: 180 cm (20), 175 cm (25 and 159 cm (30); RoF 1750 rpm (20mm), 1650 rpm (25mm) or 1400 rpm (30mm).
PAGE 250: USA - M61A2: Notes - has 6 barrels
PAGE 250: USA - XM301: Notes - has 3 barrels
PAGE 250: USA - XM188: was chambered for the 30x100B WECOM round, not the 30x113B as stated. It was a direct competitor for the XM140 and M230.
APPENDIX 2 TABLE 5 (anti-tank and current heavy rifles):
PAGE 252: I have now personally weighed the Solothurn S18-100 and S18-1000 anti-tank rifles in the MoD Pattern Room, and have discovered that the weights for both differ from those published. The S18-100 weighs 40 kg, the S18-1000 weighs 50 kg.
APPENDIX 2 TABLE 6 (selected rifle-calibre machine guns):
AIRCRAFT MACHINE GUNS - Lewis: text displaced - cartridge feed should read "pan-47 or 97"
PAGE 277: "igniter charge" entry should read: "intermediate charge, used in large cartridges, which is ignited by the primer and then ignites the propellant"
PAGE 288: 25x137 - the Aden 25 is also referred to on page 211
PAGE 293: ZPL-20 - should read "see 20x102"