Orbital ATK Armament Systems (Stand 03-A07) has confirmed that in the last three months it has been awarded contracts worth $600 million for its 30mm Mk 44 Bushmaster III and 30mm M230 weapons and ammunition with deliveries to run through to 2020.
The US Army uses the 25mm M242 dual feed cannon in its M2/M3 Bradley fighting vehicles, while the US Marine Corps uses the M242 in its LAV-25 (8x8) in the reconnaissance role.
Many international customers are now moving to the 30mm Mk 44 dual feed weapon because it has a longer range and fires more effective ammunition. The 30mm Mk 44 has 60 per cent logistics commonality with the earlier 25mm M242 and 90 per cent operator and maintenance training commonality.
A complete family of 30x173mm ammunition has been developed for the Mk 44 and a recent development is the MK310 Programmable Air Bursting Munition (PABM). This offers air burst, point detonate and delay functions, with the selected mode depending on the type of target to be engaged. The delay function, for example, allows the 30mm PABM round to penetrate a wall or fortified structure and burst on the other side. This is claimed to reduce collateral damage while increasing lethality.
The Mk 44 has to be modified in order to fire the MK310 PABM, and this includes an integrated fuze-setter in the feed system, ABM fuze-setter module on the gun control unit and an ABM ballistic algorithm integrated into the platform fire control unit.
The 30mm Mk 44 can also be upgraded to fire 40mm ammunition, including a 40mm PABM, which was recently demonstrated during the Orbital ATK Bushmaster User Conference in the USA.