Calibre Reconfiguration In One Hour
In a BUSHMASTER User Conference at Big Sandy Range, AZ, Orbital ATK recently demonstrated the firepower and flexibility of its MK44 BUSHMASTER chain gun firing both 30 and 40mm ammunition. Marty Kauchak reported from the event here, here and here.
Attendees saw the weapon, mounted on a Kongsberg PROTECTOR turret on a General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) Light Armored Vehicle (LAV), engage a variety of targets in 30mm configuration using high-explosive incendiary ammunition. Additionally, the MK44 was set up with the company’s proprietary air-bursting munition fuze-setting equipment, to demonstrate the gun’s ability to precisely fire several rounds in rapid succession with point-bursting accuracy, both horizontally and vertically across the target. In addition to the air-bursting capability, Orbital ATK is developing other precision technologies for its medium-calibre ammunition, including proximity detonating and command guidance compatible with its medium-calibre cannons: capabilities that will be demonstrated in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
The MK44 BUSHMASTER is available new as a 30mm or 40mm weapon. At the completion of the 30mm demonstration, the system was easily “upgunned” in roughly one hour and readied to fire 40mm ammunition. The demonstration in 40mm configuration showed the resulting increased firepower and also fired the newly-developed 40mm Programmable Air Burst Munitions (PABM), with dramatic effects on a replicated target set in a combat-defilade position.
Industry partners GDLS, Kongsberg and Orbital ATK are upgrading the US Army’s Second Cavalry Regiment’s STRYKER fleet with a similar system integrating the PROTECTOR MCT-30 turret and a variant of the MK44 30mm BUSHMASTER, designated the XM813. Once fielded, the complete STRYKER system will offer combat crews greater protection as they will be able to fight under armour with a leap ahead in firepower, reliability and effectiveness through the addition of a vehicle main gun. Orbital ATK is developing and qualifying an entire Super 40mm family of ammunition to include Target Practice with Tracer, High Explosive (HE) Incendiary with Tracer and an Armor Penetrating Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot with Tracer round, as well as the PABM showcased during the Bushmaster User Conference.
“The MK44 is quickly becoming the most sought-after medium-calibre cannon…. Today’s battlefield call for greater standoff and increased firepower is driving new combat vehicle platforms to include larger guns and advanced ammunition types. The same is true for upgrade programmes,” Dan Olson, Vice President and General Manager of the Armament Systems Division of Orbital ATK’s Defense Systems Group, commented. For an interview with Dan Olson, please go here.
Exclusive Video of the BUSHMASTER User Conference:
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