US Army projects developing more accurate and lethal 30mm and 50mm guns

The US Army is spending about $40 million to $50 million per year on improving the technology for various guns and explosives.

Ground Based Networked Munitions Technologies (About $1 million per year 2015-2017)

This effort matures and demonstrates technology for improved capability remotely delivered area denial munition systems to include: networked munition architecture, low hazard effects, delivery mechanisms, and non-lethal response to tampering.

Extended Area Protection and Survivability (EAPS) (about $3 million in 2015)

This effort demonstrates the use of command-guided medium caliber projectiles for the interception and destruction of incoming rockets, artillery, and mortar rounds (RAM) and unmanned aerial systems (UAS). Optimized and demonstrated an integrated Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems (C-UAS) capability, comprised of algorithms, fire control and command guided interceptor munitions.

Cluster Munitions Replacement Acceleration ($3 million in 2015 and 2016 and $8 million in 2017)

This effort matures and demonstrates ultra high reliability fuzing, advanced kill mechanisms, and alternative dispensing technologies for 155mm artillery to provide increased battlefield lethality with reduced unexploded ordnance (UXO) compliant with the Department of Defense (DoD) cluster munitions policy.

In 2016, continue maturation of a novel cluster munition policy compliant warhead for 155mm artillery; conduct arena testing of multiexplosive formed penetration optimized for effects against armored targets integrated into a 155mm artillery projectile compliant with DoD cluster munition policy; conduct static and ballistic testing on an integrated projectile, culminating in a Technical Readiness Level (TRL) 6 demonstration.

In 2017, they will validate the systems beginning to end capability as well as the system’s ability to improve effectiveness against the desired target sets; mature and demonstrate various component designs in a system level solution. The effort will continue to improve and mature a variety of integrated unitary and submunition system concepts to mitigate the gap that will emerge with the loss of cluster munitions. Concepts such as a unitary projectile geared towards medium armor targets, a full bore submunition with a highly reliable triple function fuze, a concept that increases the size and fuze volume of the DPICM bomblet and incorporates high reliability fuzing while maintaining the traditional lethal mechanisms of DPICM. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 the efforts will optimize the concept of bomblet/system design and component space allocation to accommodate system level development and demonstrating concept performance through modeling and simulation. Efforts will mature system level designs of unitary solutions and improve initial system level performance. Efforts will continue to mature designs and exploit alternate technologies to mitigate risk; Develop evaluation criteria to assess concept performance; Integrate component technologies into system level solution that are effective against target sets.

Medium [30mm XM814, 30mm Mk310, 50mm PABM] Caliber Weapon Systems (About $10 million in 2015 and 2016 and $16 million i 2017

This effort matures and demonstrates advanced medium caliber ammunition, weapon, fire control, and ammunition handling systems optimized for remote operation. This effort demonstrates cannon-super high elevation engagement, high performance stabilization, remote ammunition loading, weapon safety and reliability, improved lethality, accuracy, ability to fire a suite of ammunition from non-lethal to lethal, and escalation of force capability in one system.

In 2015, Optimized technologies from Weapon, Fire Control and Turret functional areas together in preparation of demonstrating a system level platform integration with an advanced medium caliber weapon system within a Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV) variant. In support of this effort, finalized and optimized a prototype turret and drive system to support the XM813 30mm weapon system; optimized and matured the advanced sensors (down range wind sensor, dynamic metrology sensor and improved laser range finder) and the scenario based fire control system supporting the XM813 30mm weapon system, 30mm armor piercing (AP) munition and the Mk310 30mm programmable air bursting munitions (PABM); performed the integration of these technologies within the BFV and demonstrated improved accuracy and lethality performance at a system level. Additionally, finalized 50mm fuze improvements and performed a fuze shoot off and demonstration to down select and optimize the burst point accuracy of the 50mm PABM munition.

Accurate Medium Caliber Armament system for stationary and fire on the move capability with turret/vehicle integration
• Programmable Air Bursting Munition (PABM): Optimized effects against Personnel targets (behind walls and in the open)
• Armor Piercing munition (APFSDS-T): Optimized effects against Materiel targets
• Integrated Fire Control Enhancements: Scenario Based Fire Control System (SBFCS), Graphical User Interface (GUI), dynamic MET Sensor, down range wind sensor and enhanced laser rangefinder

XM813 features
• Semi-automatic; up to 200 rounds per minute
• Computer controlled and electrically driven
• Closed bolt operation
• First round select
• Dual feed
• Link-less
• Optimized barrel
• Integral Mount configuration
• Dual Recoil System
• Semi-closed Bolt firing mode
• Fires the complete family of 30mm x 173mm ammunition
• Provides a growth path to fire SuperShot 40mm ammunition

• Improve burst point accuracy and PD reliability of fuze technology for 50mm PABM
• Validate and refine existing 30mm Error Budget model for use in 50mm system projections
• Develop turret to demonstrate growth from 30mm XM813 to 50mm Enhanced Bushmaster III
• Perform platform integration of turret for 50mm system level test and evaluation

In 2016, Continue to mature and optimize weapon, ammunition, fire control, and turret technologies for 50mm cannon; refine the ammunition fuzing approach to improve accuracy and lethality; analyze data collected from integration, test and demonstration to apply to system level improvements; upgrade fire control to meet system level requirements and design turret for integration into a prototype platform.

In 2017, will validate PABM fuze technology and warhead lethality data, iterating and improving as necessary; using a commercially developed barrel, demonstrate PABM and AP effectiveness against personnel and materiel targets; design and fabricate 50mm weapon and ammunition handling system (AHS) prototypes; exploit advances in advanced Fire Control hardware to improve system performance; mature Fire Control software

Two other programs are for improving explosives (energetics) and active protection technology (like the Israeli trophy system).

SOURCES- US Army, US Government budget

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