Eurosatory 2016

Stretch in firepower [ES2016D1]

13 June 2016

Orbital ATK Armament Systems (Hall 5, Stand B608) has revealed that it is developing a suite of new 40mm ammunition to support a system approach (gun and ammunition) for its MK44 Bushmaster Chain Gun in its latest 40mm configuration.

This is also referred to as the MK44 ‘Stretch’ and is designed to provide a significant increase in performance over the original 30mm MK44 dual-feed cannon.

The MK44 ‘Stretch’ has 90 per cent logistics commonality for significant through-life savings, but the existing 30mm barrel assembly, inner recoil spring set, forward feed assembly and under/lower feed sprockets have to be changed.

This new 40mm ammunition suite consists of target practice – tracer (TP-T), high-explosive incendiary – tracer (HEI-T), armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot – tracer (APFSDS-T) and a programmable air-bursting munition – tracer (PABM-T). The complete suite is insensitive munition (IM) compliant and uses a new high-energy propellant.

The development of this new family of ammunition together with the kit to upgrade the existing 30mm MK44, which fires 30 x 173mm ammunition, to fire 40mm ammunition gives existing customers the possibility of enhancing the firepower of their existing platforms at a lower cost than procuring new 40mm weapons.

According to Orbital ATK, the new 40mm ammunition will enable targets to be engaged at a longer range, which would lead to an increase in survivability for the platform. The company has also confirmed that when upgraded to 40mm calibre there is no loss of stowed rounds carried when compared with 30mm ammunition, so the number of “stowed kills” is retained.

Design is soon to be frozen and they have already undergone company trials and could potentially be ready for production in 2017.

(278 words)