Infantry Weapons

Orbital ATK progresses new medium-calibre munition development

20 October 2017
Orbital ATK's MK310 PABM round seen neutralising an unmanned air vehicle. The company has delivered an initial quantity of PABM rounds to the US Army for qualification on the 2nd Cavalry Regiment's upgraded Strykers. Source: Orbital ATK

Orbital ATK is developing a range of new advanced medium-calibre ammunition variants for use with its 30/40 mm calibre MK44 XM813 and 30 mm calibre lightweight XM914 Bushmaster Chain Guns. The new ammunition types – command-guided, proximity fuze, and air burst – are intended to deliver enhanced capabilities for a wide range of land and air combat platforms.

Development of the 30×173 mm command-guided round leverages technologies evolved by Orbital ATK for the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) programme.

The EXACTO effort has resulted in a guided .50 calibre round – equipped with real-time optical sensors and aero-actuation controls – that improves sniping performance in long-range, day/night engagements. The EXACTO system combines a manoeuvrable bullet with a complementary laser designator-equipped fire-control system (FCS) to compensate for weather, wind, target movement, and other factors that can reduce accuracy.

The sniper uses the laser designator to determine and track the target. Once fired, actuators inside the bullet – which can correct its movement up to 30 times per second in flight – receive data from the optical sensor to guide it to the target. For the new 30×173 mm guided round, the target is locked with a radar sensor, while a networked FCS delivers updated course correction and target information via a datalink to an unspecified command guidance sensor located in the back of the munition.

“It’s a one shot, one kill capability in one round,” Tim Strusz, Director Business Development, Precision Weapons at Orbital ATK told Jane’s .

“In terms of operational cost effectiveness, the round pays for itself with a single shot,” he added.

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