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Weapons: Bushmaster Gets Smart Shell
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March 16, 2008: An automatic, laser controlled, airburst shell has been developed for the Mk44 30mm Bushmaster automatic cannon. The basic Mk44 weighs 344 pounds and fires at a rate of 200 rounds per minute (up to 4 per second). The 30mm Bushmaster has 160 rounds available, before needing a reload. That means the gunner has 40-50 seconds worth of ammo. Each 30mm round weighs about 25 ounces (depending on type.)  Explosive anti-personnel rounds are the most common round used in the Mk44. The new airburst option uses a dual loading system, so the gunner need only flip a switch to select the airburst ammo, or other ammo (either armor piercing, or "dumb" explosive shells). The smart shells  require the gunner to use the laser range finder, built into the fire control system, to select the range at which the smart shells will explode. So the drill is, select ammo, use laser to select range of detonation, then fire (either single shells or a burst of automatic fire.) The laser guided shells can penetrate up to 8 inches of concrete, and still detonate on the other side. You can fire a few rounds through a window, where the shells will explode, providing the same effect as throwing a grenade into room. Same deal with enemy troops taking cover in a trench or behind any solid object (rocks, or a mound of dirt). The new airburst round has been undergoing field tests for over a year, and the U.S. Army and Marine Corps are planning to install it in their new armored vehicles. The U.S. Air Force will upgrade the Mk44 cannon they are already installing in their AC-130 gunships.


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Eggy       3/16/2008 12:11:51 PM
The Dutch and Danish CV9035 IFV carries the Bushmaster III 35/50 mm and has air burst munition capability.
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doggtag many holes in it as the target the Bushmaster cannon fired at downrange...   3/16/2008 1:09:33 PM
Saw this nearly-identical article somewhere else just a couple days ago...
"The 30mm Bushmaster has 160 rounds available..."
Too bad we didn't know in exactly in what kind of installation until the very last sentence that it's the system mounted in AC-130s. There are scores of vehicles using this gun. Without clarification early on, how exactly did we know that the gun in the AC-130s was the reference?
"Explosive anti-personnel rounds are the most common round used in the Mk44."
Pretty much only in the AC-130...which we didn't know until the very last sentence.
Most other vehicles, general purpose HE rounds are dual fed from magazines of which one is typically AP (anti-armor kinetic energy rounds) and HE in the other. We would've understood that otherwise, had we known from the beginning we were reading an article about AC-130s.
"The laser guided shells can penetrate up to 8 inches of concrete, and still detonate on the other side."
I'd like to know where the original author of said article got his/her info
(probably from some USAF PR douchebag that didn't know any better and just quickly jotted down key words spoken to them by the truly knowledgeable people?),
because no known 30mm HE anti-personnel round can penetrate 200mm (that's 8inches to you people who can't convert SI to metrics, although technically 203mm...) of concrete intact-enough and detonate on the other side.
(I'll rescind that when someone shows me otherwise!)
30mm APFSDS will go through those 8 inches of concrete, but APFSDS (or any other solid shot kinetic energy ammo)doesn't detonate after penetration
(with the exception being the RARDEN's 30mm SAPHEI-T Semi Armor Piercing High Explosive Incendiary-Tracer, is that what it's called?,
and I think there is a similar 30x173mm round available for A-10s, but I don't recall reading elsewhere that it's used from other ground combat vehicles,
and the Apache's M230 uses HEDP, not the same thing,
but I very much doubt they'll tackle 8 inches of concrete and detonate on the other side, either).
Let alone the fact that, in wording the article so, the author implies that there are now 30mm laser-guided shells currently being fielded, along the lines of other laser-guided shells fired from far larger gun calibers.
Technically speaking, "laser-guided" in the general sense as it's used is more appropriately named "laser seeking" or "laser homing", as the shells in question home in on the reflected laser energy off a target.
These 30mm shells, by themselves, do not.
And yes, although there are weapons systems out there (missiles) that actually use a laser rather than guidance wires or RF radio frequencies to course-correct throughout their flight, this article isn't meaning to imply those either (systems such as the RBS-70 are among these so-called "beam-riding" weapons, in that they aren't homing in on reflected laser energy off a target, but rather use the laser on the launcher interacting with a receiver on the back of the missile to stay on course).
Geez, since when did so many military information sites lower the grammar prerequisites (don't they teach constructive, accurate writing in college anymore, to properly convey what points you're trying to get across to people?)
for the writers of their front page news articles?
Doesn't anybody try to at least double-check and verify their information anymore, against already-established accurate information, just to be certain that such misconceptions, even almost falsities, such as we see above, are avoided altogether?
Hell, I'd love to see 30mm cannons capable of firing laser-guided shells at all kinds of targets (in such a case, and A-10 could accurately shoot, and hit, 50+ separate targets almost in a second in a single pass) !
But in this case (AC-130), it isn't so.
The shells may indeed, initially, have their range estimated by the laser range finder,
but the laser itself is in no way integrated with the operation of the actual 30mm shell, other than the data it transfers into the fire control computer,
which is what really determines where/when the shell detonates.
Might as well say that MBTs can fire laser-guided depleted uranium sabots (APFSDS rounds), as they work off the same principle: LRF lases the target to gauge range, but there is no other w
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Beryoza       3/16/2008 4:03:21 PM
Aren't "Baby" Ainets cute ?
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towgunner1960       3/16/2008 4:38:02 PM
  I just watched an episode of future weapons on youtube about this very gun. It most definetly can penetrate 8 inches of reinforced concrete and then explode after. Apparantly its the same cannon as used on the marines new fighting vehicle and the ac-130.
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Herald12345    Cinderblock is not concrete.   3/16/2008 5:50:42 PM
As for the bulk of the critique.

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Heorot       3/16/2008 5:51:08 PM
I just watched the same episode on Sky and it definitely penetrated 8 inches at least of reinforced concrete and then exploded. However, a hole about 1 foot in diameter only showed 1 set of re-inforcing rods.
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Herald12345    Cinderblock is not concrete.   3/16/2008 5:51:42 PM
Doggtag is definitely List 1!


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Herald12345    Cinderblock is not concrete.   3/16/2008 6:02:31 PM
Weapon proof tests.

I'm not convinced that Future Weapons, a show noted for its "exaggeration", demonstrates that 200 mm reinforced concrete is piercable by this round. The video above makes a slightly better case, though, that it might be possible.

I'm not convinced.


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doggtag    thx, Herald...   3/16/2008 8:34:07 PM
...especially for the video.
If by "concrete" you other guys are referring to is the footage at roughly 0:50-1:02 in the video,
then it isn't even cinder block.
It's masonry brick.
I can bust one of those with a healthy swing from a 4- or 6-ounce ball peen hammer.
In the footage before that of the sandbags and wall, it appears the shells are being fired into the sandbags (a logical target), with the wall being intended to stop over penetration.
Having been at Redstone personally, for a good 4 months in 1990 and another almost 9 months in 2004-2005, I am well aware a good number of those kinds of reinforced walls behind targets are a good foot thick.
No chance 30mm HE is going thru only to detonate on the backside...unless something bigger broke a hole thru the wall first.
being one of our more dependable resident physicists
(or at least you play the part well),
I'm sure if we had the numbers on a standard 30mm HE-filled shell,
you'd be able to crunch the numbers and prove to these guys that such a shell's walls and fuzing was not up to snuff to survive an approx. 3000feet/sec impact against even just solid concrete,
and survive intact enough to function (detonate the shell) after passing thru.
AP types, I wouldn't doubt for an instant (see the footage of the M60 (or is it an M48?) getting its turret pierced, which has armor structurally stronger than any 8 inches of concrete).
But no hollow HE-filled shell of 30mm is getting thru 8 inches of solid concrete intact, rebars or otherwise.
Real concrete, a slab of it, not built-up masonry walls.
Since some of us are just to lazy to look for ourselves,
out of convenience to the rest of us, does somebody want to beat me to the punch and post up those 30mm videos you guys claim can fire 30mm HE shells thru 8 inches of concrete?
(chipping away at the wall with multiple rounds until a hole is made isn't the same thing!)
As for the 30mm gun itself, I'm not questioning that 30x173mm shells aren't effective, they are (GAU-8, anyone?).
But if the USAF had smart shells in mind,
then I'm surprised that they didn't opt for the 35/50 gun,
seeing as there are already developments in the works for command-guided course-correctable 50mm shells,
seen  here  , among other places. 
They'd have a more lethal airburst round in the 35mm AHEADS munition now than the Mk300 30mm round  ATK is offering for the Bushmaster Mk44 gun,
with the option of going to the bigger 50mm SuperShot caliber later.
Guaranteed that 50mm shell will punch bigger holes than any 30mm, even against those 8-inch thick walls.
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dba    40mm gun with smart shell   3/17/2008 2:34:55 PM
Had to throw this in as well.
South Korea's new IFV with 40mm main gun.

http:// www (.) asiafinest (.) com/forum/index.php?s=&showtopic=81088&view=findpost&p=2216867

"NIFV?s main gun will feature two types of ammunitions; a kinetic energy-based Armor-Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot round for dealing with armored vehicles and multi-purpose high-explosive 3P rounds for dealing with soft-armored vehicles, infantry, or aircrafts."
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