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Bigger, badder Bushmaster cannon in the works

Nov. 8, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
The new 30mm XM813 Bushmaster automatic cannon is designed for upgrades to the Army's Stryker and Bradley armored vehicles, and it's a contender to arm the Ground Combat Vehicle.
The new 30mm XM813 Bushmaster automatic cannon is designed for upgrades to the Army's Stryker and Bradley armored vehicles, and it's a contender to arm the Ground Combat Vehicle. (ATK)
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The makers of the XM25 Punisher have beefed up the Bushmaster automatic cannon — and it is a 30mm monster capable of firing programmable airbursts, point detonating rounds and point detonating with delay rounds.

And it can bump up to 40mm with few adjustments.

The XM813 Bushmaster — built by ATK Defense Group — is designed for Stryker and Bradley vehicle upgrades, and it’s a contender to arm the Ground Combat Vehicle. The variant already meets GCV’s threshold requirements.

The design is based on the venerable Mk44 automatic cannon, of which there are about 1,500 fielded worldwide. There also are 8,000 M242s — the 25mm variant — on the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle and the Marine Corps’ Light Armored Vehicle, and another 2,000 in foreign armies.

This provides a lot of parts commonality and trust that has been earned by countless users over the years, said Lisa Brown, vice president of ATK’s Guns Systems Market Segment.

Changes include:

■ The ability to up-gun to 40mm by changing five parts. Although this is not a specific requirement for GCV or other upgrades, ATK touts the “devastating firepower” of its 40mm Bushmaster IV automatic cannon. That chain gun is capable of a next-round select, linkless feed system.

■ Lengthening the barrel by 1 inch.

■ Integral mount in the front instead of a bayonet mount. Similar changes have brought upward of a 10 percent improvement in first-round probability in other platforms.

■ Dual recoil, which will enhance accuracy and help if future propellant upgrades cause rounds to get hotter.

The cannon is at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., for three months of rigorous tests. This will include endurance testing to ensure a 40,000-round mean-time between failures.

New rounds are in the works as the weapon is developed. ATK, which has produced more than 100 million 30mm rounds, has added the Mk310 Programmable Air Burst Munition to its arsenal. This round can detonate the projectile at a user-designated precise point in space, giving the user a significant edge when attacking targets in defilade.

The Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command also has a hand in XM813 enhancements. Its focus has been the development of remote safety, a sniper firing mode and integration with the PHASIR turret and linkless ammo handling system. Long-term plans center on a growth path with the Bushmaster III 50mm gun.

The Army on Aug. 7 asked industry to provide a number of XM813-compatible rounds, including 2,700 High Explosive Incendiary-Tracer rounds; 4,000 Armor Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot-Tracer (half Mk258 and half Mk268) rounds; and 2,000 Target Practice Discarding Sabot-Tracer rounds for the GCV and IFV.

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