Orbital AT, provided customers and it’s partner base a live demonstration of its MK44 Bushmaster® Chain Gun® firing a variety of both 30mm and 40mm ammunition during the company’s Bushmaster User Conference at Big Sandy Range, Arizona.
The gathering of domestic and international attendees watched as the MK44 guns hit targets before and after a rapid changeover from a 30mm to a 40mm configuration.
The MK44 Chain Gun will be featured on the 2017 season premiere episode of “GunnyTime with R. Lee Ermey” on Outdoor Channel beginning Wednesday, June 28, featuring Ermey firing the MK44 Chain Gun with Orbital ATK’s 30mm and 40mm Airbursting Ammunition.
(Tune into the new season of #GunnyTime, premiering Wednesday June 28th! Courtesy of R. Lee Ermey and YouTube)
“The MK44 is quickly becoming the most sought after medium-caliber cannon,” said Dan Olson, Vice President and General Manager of the Armament Systems Division of Orbital ATK’s Defense Systems Group.
“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 programs.”
Attendees of the live-fire demonstration saw the MK44 Chain Gun, mounted to a Kongsberg Protector Turret and General Dynamics Land Systems Light Armored Vehicle, engage a variety of adobe, concrete block and steel panel targets in 30mm configuration using high-explosive incendiary ammunition.
Additionally, the MK44 was set up with Orbital ATK’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-caliber ammunition, including proximity detonating and command guidance that are compatible with its medium-caliber cannons.
These two new advanced capabilities will be demonstrated at the Bushmaster Users Conference in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
The MK44 Bushmaster Chain Gun is available new as a 30mm or 40mm weapon. At the completion of the 30mm demonstration, the system was easily “upgunned” in about an hour’s time and readied to fire 40mm ammunition.
The demonstration in the 40mm configuration showed the increased firepower that the 40mm cannon and ammunition provided engaged against similar target panels.
The weapon also fired Orbital ATK’s newly developed 40mm Programmable Air Burst Munitions (PABM) with dramatic effects on a replicated target set in a combat-defilade position.
The system, once fielded, has ‘growth’ capability to maintain its combat overmatch through the ability to upgun the 30mm cannon to a 40mm gun – just by changing five parts of the existing gun.
PABM provides the capability to burst over ground and kill enemy in a defilade position (hiding behind cover). PABM ammunition uses a turns counting fuze.
Proximity fuzed rounds work with an active sensor to find the target and explode when in proximity to the target. This provides the same capabilities as a PABM round but the sensor triggers the burst where the turns counting approach algorithm tells the round when to burst.
This requires the sensor inside to sense the magnetic field of the earth. Proximity is a more reliable approach for ground to air engagement (counter UAS scenario) and for sea platform weapons.
(See the Orbital ATK MK44 30mm BUSHMASTER II fired from Kongsberg MCT-30 turret on GDLS LAV at Orbital ATK’s BUSHMASTER Users Conference earlier this year. Courtesy of Mark Sheppard and YouTube)
Command guided capabilities are just around the corner. The warhead has technology inside that helps the round make adjustments in flight (diversions) to hit the target.
This will enable combat crews to even more accurately engage all types of targets (air to ground, air to air, ground to air, and sea-based platforms with the same).
Industry partners General Dynamics Land Systems, Kongsberg and Orbital ATK are upgrading the U.S. 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 Chain Gun, designated the XM813.
Once fielded, the complete Stryker system will offer combat crews greater protection as they will be able to fight under armor 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 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.
Orbital ATK’s Defense Systems Group is an industry leader in providing innovative and affordable precision and strike weapons, advanced propulsion and hypersonics, missile components across air-, sea- and land-based systems, ammunition and related energetic products.