Orbital ATK Adds Lethal Punch to Germany-Based Second Cavalry Regiment’s Capability
In December 2018, the US Army’s Second Cavalry Regiment stationed at Vilseck, Germany began receiving their first ‘upgunned’ STRYKER Infantry Carrier Vehicles, known now as ‘DRAGOONs.’ The DRAGOON features upgrades to the unit’s basic STRYKER vehicle, which include upgraded drivetrain, hull modifications and an unmanned turret which features the XM813 30mm BUSHMASTER Chain Gun created and produced by the company’s guns business segment located at Mesa, AZ/USA.
Recently, troopers of the regiment participated in initial training – to include live firing of the vehicle’s weapon system. This training event marked the first time that soldiers were able to fully understand the added firepower that the Orbital ATK produced guns and ammunition will provide them on the battlefield.
The ‘upgunning’ of the unit’s STRYKER fleet comes the way of an Urgent Operational Needs Statement submitted by the regiment when it became apparent during Russian-backed operations in the Ukraine that a STRYKER with only a .50 caliber machine gun was no match against the Russian threat. In addition to the greater firepower and range the XM813 provides, it is also capable of firing the company’s MK310 Programmable Air Bursting Munition (PABM), which expands the gun’s lethal capability to successfully engage targets in defilade through a precisely placed airbursting warhead.
The DRAGOON’s 30mm Chain Gun is based on the company’s MK44 design. As such, the new system affords the ability to further ‘upgun’ to a 40mm system through changing the barrel and slightly modifying the ammunition feed system. Currently, Armament Systems is developing a family of 40mm ammunition which will include a PABM and armour piercing rounds to add greater punch.
In all, the Mesa-based operation provided 12 guns for design evaluations and, by the end of February, will have delivered the last of the 83 production guns for full fielding – a month ahead of contract schedule.