The scope of the automatic guns of 30 mm caliber is huge. it aviation guns on fighters, attack aircraft and combat helicopters, quick-fire guns of infantry fighting vehicles (BMPs) and short-range air defense systems (air defense systems), and air defense systems of the near zone of naval surface ships fleet (Navy).
The main developer of 30-mm automatic guns in the USSR / Russia is the Tula Instrument Engineering Design Bureau (“KBP”). It is because it came such remarkable 30 mm automatic cannon as product 2A42 installed on BMP-2 and Ka-50 / 52, Ni-28, this product 2A72, installed in the tower module BMP-3, together with 100 mm cannon and 12,7 mm machine gun, 2А38 rapid-firing double-barreled guns mounted on Tunguska and Pantsir anti-aircraft cannon-missile systems (ZPRK), aircraft GSH-301 for Su-27 and MIG-29 aircraft, 6-AI-AI-18 aircraft, 6-AI-AI-AI-AI-AI-AY-6 aircraft -YN-30 -GN-XNUMX and MIG-XNUMX, shipboard 6 -N-XNUMX -GN-XNUMX aircraft for Su-XNUMX and MIG-XNUMX aircraft; -XNUMXK) and other models.
30-mm gun 2А42 - probably, “Kalashnikov assault rifle”, among automatic guns
- caliber: 30 mm, cartridge - 30 × 165 mm;
- length: mm 3027;
- full mass: kg 115;
- rate of fire variable: 550-800 shots / min. or 200-300 shots / min;
- gun power: two-tape (selective ammunition);
- barrel survivability: 9000 shots;
- effective manpower range: up to 4000 m;
- effective firing range for lightly armored vehicles: up to 1500 m;
- effective range of air targets: to 2000 m / 2500 m.
At the same time, in the 21st century, complaints about 30 mm automatic guns began to appear. In particular, combat armored vehicles of the ground forces (SV) were equipped with enhanced armor protection capable of withstanding 30 mm cannon fire in a frontal projection. In this regard, the words began to sound about the transition to automatic guns caliber 40 mm and more. In Russia, more and more, you can see samples of armored vehicles with 57 mm automatic gun 2А91, the development of the Central Research Institute "Burevestnik".
BMP-3, equipped with combat module AU-220М, with automatic gun caliber 57 mm
- length: 5820 mm, width: 2100 mm, height: 1300 mm;
- cartridge: 57 × 348 mm SR;
- gun firing rate: 120 shots / min;
- firing range: 12 000 m;
- ammunition: 80 shells.
However, with increasing caliber dramatically reduced ammunition. If for 30-mm guns BMP-2 ammunition is 500 shells, for 57 mm guns AU-220М module, which can be installed on both BMP-2 and BMP-3, ammunition is only 80 shells. The overall dimensions of the modules, with 57 mm caliber guns, do not always allow them to be placed on compact samples of armored vehicles. The 57 mm cannon is also unlikely to be installed on a helicopter or aircraft, even if it is placed close to the center of mass, like on the Ka-50 / 52, or to build an airplane around the cannon, like the American A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft.
Automatic 30-mm seven-barreled attack aircraft A-10 Thunderbolt II
In aviation, the very necessity of installing an automatic gun is often questioned. A significant increase in the power of radar and optical location stations (radar and OLS), the improvement of air-to-air missiles (in-in) long, medium and short range, in combination with all-guidance systems, minimize the likelihood that the situation in the air will reach the “dog dump” ", I.e. maneuverable air combat with the use of automatic guns. Technologies to reduce the visibility and electronic warfare (EW) are unlikely to change this situation, since in any case the growth of the capabilities of modern radars and OLS will most likely make it possible to detect and attack an aircraft with “stealth” technology beyond the range of automatic cannons.
At present, automatic guns on multifunctional fighters remain rather due to a certain conservatism of the air force.
For combat helicopters, the use of an automatic cannon means an entry into the zone of destruction of hand-held air defense systems of the short-range “Igla” / “Stinger” type, anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) and small-arms guns of ground-based combat vehicles.
The use of automatic guns in the composition of ground-based anti-aircraft missile systems also raises questions. As part of one complex, automatic cannons are used on the Soviet / Russian anti-aircraft missiles “Tunguska” and “Pantsir”. According to the results of the hostilities in Syria, all real combat targets were brought down by missile weapons, not automatic guns. According to some reports, automatic 30 mm guns do not have accuracy and accuracy sufficient to defeat small-sized targets, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or guided / unguided ammunition.
Table of targets affected by the C1 Shell Armor in Syria
This leads to the fact that often the cost of the downed target exceeds the cost of the anti-aircraft guided missile launched on it. Large targets, such as an airplane or a helicopter, try not to fall into the range of automatic cannons.
The situation is similar in the fleet. If subsonic anti-ship missiles (RMS) can still be hit by multi-barreled automatic guns, then the probability of hitting supersonic maneuvering RCC is significantly lower, not to mention hypersonic RCC. In addition, high flying speed and a significant mass of supersonic / hypersonic anti-ship missile can lead to the fact that even if it is defeated at a short distance from the ship, the remnants of a half-destroyed anti-ship missile will reach the ship and cause significant damage to it.
Summarizing the above, it may turn out that in Russia, in the ground forces on infantry fighting vehicles, 30 mm, automatic guns with high probability will be replaced by automatic guns of the 57 mm caliber, on airplanes most of the time the automatic gun free of charge takes place in anti-aircraft missiles As both ground forces and the Navy, the role of automatic guns of the 30 caliber mm is also decreasing, which can lead to their gradual abandonment and replacement by the RIM-116 air defense system. Can this lead to the gradual oblivion of 30 mm weapons, and what are the areas of development and scope of use for rapid-fire cannons of this caliber?
The use of automatic guns of 57 caliber on the BMP does not mean that there is no place for their 30-mm counterparts on other samples of ground combat vehicles. In particular, NGAS presented the concept of installing modules with the M230LF gun on armored vehicles, small-sized robotic complexes and other vehicles, as well as stationary structures, as a replacement for 12,7 mm machine guns.
Automatic gun M230LF caliber 30 mm on an armored car
Automatic gun M230LF caliber 30 mm on ground-based remote-controlled robotic complex
Automatic gun M230LF caliber 30 mm on a stationary turret
Similar remotely-controlled weapons modules (DUMV), for use on light armored vehicles and ground-based robotic complexes, can also be developed on the basis of Russian automatic guns of the 30 caliber mm. This will significantly expand their scope and market. Significant recoil 30 mm guns can be reduced by limiting the rate of fire of automatic 30 mm guns at 200-300 shots / min.
An extremely interesting solution could be the creation of compact remote-controlled weapon modules based on 30 mm cannons, for use on the main combat tanks, as a replacement for the anti-aircraft 12,7 mm machine gun.
It is worth noting that the issue of equipping tanks with an auxiliary gun of 30 mm caliber was repeatedly considered both in the USSR / Russia and in the NATO countries, but it never came to large-scale production. For the T-80 tanks, an installation with an 30-mm 2-42 automatic gun was created and tested. It was intended to replace the machine gun "cliff" and was mounted in the upper rear of the tower. The pointing angle of the gun is 120 degrees on the horizon and -5 / + 65 degrees on the vertical. The ammunition should have been 450 shells.
Experienced placement of 30-mm guns 2А42 on the T-80 tank (photo Dmitry Semenov)
The prospective 30-mm remote-controlled weapon module should have a circular view horizontally and a large vertical pointing angle. The power of an 30-mm projectile, compared to a 12,7 mm caliber bullet, combined with maximum visibility from the roof of a tank turret, will significantly increase the tank's ability to combat tank-dangerous targets, such as rocket launchers and armored vehicles with an anti-tank missile, to increase the capabilities of hitting aircraft assault weapons. the adversary. The massive equipment of tanks DUMV with 30 mm guns can make such a class of armored vehicles as a combat vehicle support tanks (BMPT).
Another promising direction in the use of 30 mm cannons as part of tank armament can be joint work with the main weapon in the defeat of enemy tanks equipped with active defense complexes (KAZ). In this case, it is necessary to synchronize the work of the main gun and 30 mm guns so that when firing at an enemy tank firing the 30-mm round of projectiles was carried out a little earlier than the shot of an armor-piercing projectile (BOPS) of the main gun. Thus, the hit of 30-mm shells initially causes damage to the elements of the active protection of the enemy tank (radar detection, containers with striking elements), which allows the BOPS to easily hit the tank. Of course, shooting should be carried out in an automated mode, i.e. The gunner leads the crosshair to the enemy's tank, selects the “against KAZ” mode, presses the trigger, and then everything happens automatically.
The option of 30 mm equipment for shells can also be considered by some aerosol or other filler, and a remote-explosive fuse. In this case, the 30 mm projectile line detonates in the zone of operation of the active protection of the enemy tank, preventing the operation of its radar detection equipment, but not interfering with the BOPS flight.
Another direction in the development of the field of application and increasing the efficiency of 30 mm automatic guns is the creation of projectiles with remote disruption on the flight trajectory, and in the future the creation of 30-controlled projectiles.
Shells with remote undermining developed and implemented in the NATO countries. In particular, the German company Rheinmetall offers 30 mm projectile air blasting, also known under the designation KETF (Kinetic Energy Time Fused - kinetic with a remote fuse), equipped with an electronic timer, programmable inductive coil in a muzzle.
In Russia, 30-mm shells with remote explosions along a trajectory were developed by the Moscow NPO Pribor. Unlike the inductive system used by Rheinmetall, the Russian shells used a system for initiating a remote blasting using a laser beam. Ammunition of this type will be tested in the 2019 year and in the future should be included in the ammunition of the latest combat vehicles of the Russian army.
The use of shells with a remote undermining on the flight path will increase the capabilities of the air defense missiles equipped with 30-mm automatic guns to combat small-sized and maneuvering targets. Similarly, the air defense of ground combat vehicles equipped with 30 mm automatic cannons will increase. Opportunities for the defeat of enemy personnel in open areas will increase. This is especially important for tanks, if they are equipped with a DUMV with an 30 mm automatic cannon.
The next step could be the creation of guided projectiles in caliber 30 mm.
At the moment there are developments of guided projectiles caliber 57 mm. In particular, BAE Systems Corporation at Sea-Air-Space 2015 for the first time introduced the new 57-mm guided projectile ORKA (Ordnance for Rapid Kill of Attack Craft), designated as Mk 295 Mod 1. The new projectile is designed for firing from 57-mm naval universal automatic artillery mk 110. The projectile must have a dual-channel combined homing head - with a semi-active laser channel (guidance is carried out using external laser targeting) and an electron-optical or infrared channel using memory of the target's appearance.
Developed by BAE Systems 57-mm guided projectile ORKA
According to some data, a 57 mm caliber controlled projectile is also being developed in Russia for the anti-aircraft defense module. The development of a guided projectile is carried out by the “A. Nudelman Design Bureau Tochmash”. The developed guided artillery projectile (UAS) is stored in a battle pack, launched from a rifled gun barrel and guided by a laser beam, which allows hitting targets in a wide range of ranges - from 200 m to 6 ... 8 km to manned targets and to 3 ... 5 km to unmanned .
Glider UAS is made by aerodynamic scheme "duck". The plumage of the projectile consists of four rudders, laid in the sleeve, which are deflected by the steering actuator located in the nose of the projectile. The drive works from the oncoming air flow.
UAS is fired with a high initial speed and almost immediately has the necessary lateral accelerations for guidance. The projectile can be fired in the direction of the target or in the calculated pre-empt point. In the first case, the guidance is carried out by the method of three points. In the second case, the guidance is carried out by adjusting the projectile flight path. In both cases, the tele-orientation of the projectile in the laser beam is made (a similar control system is used in the Kornet ATGM of the Tula “KBP”). The photoreceiver of the laser beam pointing at the target is located in the end part and is closed by a pallet, which is separated in flight.
Anti-aircraft 57-mm UAS: 1 - protective cap, 2 - centering corbel, 3 - sleeve, 4 - steering gear, 5 - non-contact target radio sensor, 6 - explosive, 7 - plumage
Is it possible to create guided projectiles in caliber 30 mm? Certainly it will be much more difficult than the development of UAS in caliber 57 mm. The 57 mm caliber projectile is in fact closer to the 100 mm caliber projectile, the guided ammunition for which has been built for a long time. Also, the use of 57 mm UAS is most likely planned in a single shooting mode.
Nevertheless, there are projects to create managed weapons in significantly smaller dimensions, for example, a controlled cartridge caliber 12,7 mm. Such projects are being developed both in the United States, under the auspices of the notorious DARPA, and in Russia.
Thus, in 2015, the US Department of Defense conducted tests of promising EXACTO bullets with a controlled flight path. The bullets developed under the Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance program will be used in a new high-precision sniper rifle complex, a special telescopic sight and guided cartridges. Technical details about the ammunition are not disclosed. According to unconfirmed reports, a small battery, a microcontroller, a laser sensor and folding steering wheels are installed in the pool. After the shot, the microcontroller is activated and starts to drive a bullet to the target with the help of released air rudders. According to other information, the correction of the flight is carried out by the deflected tip of the bullet. The guidance system is presumably telecontrol in a laser beam.
Supposedly, this is Exacto's controlled bullet.
According to the Russian Advanced Research Foundation (FPI), Russia also began testing the “smart bullet” in a controlled flight mode. In parallel, it was suggested that the basis could be taken 30 mm ammunition, which can accommodate the control unit, the source of the movement, the stabilizer unit and the warhead. However, according to the latest data, Russia has postponed for an indefinite period the project of creating guided bullets capable of correcting its flight. This is not necessarily due to the technical impossibility of their creation, often the limiting factor is the financial factor, or changing priorities.
Finally, the closest project, in relation to the 30 mm guided missile we are interested in, is the Raytheon project - MAD-FIRES (Multi-Azimuth Defense System, Interception Round, Rapid Interception and All-Round Attack). The MAD-FIRES project is an attempt to combine the accuracy of the missiles and the “let's shoot more of them because they are cheap” approach. Projectiles must be suitable for firing from automatic guns of caliber from 20-ti to 40 mm, while MAD-FIRE ammunition must combine the accuracy and controllability of missiles with the speed and rate of fire of conventional ammunition of the appropriate caliber.
MAD-FIRES guided missile
Based on the above examples, we can assume that the creation of guided ammunition in the caliber 30 mm is quite a feasible task for both the Western and Russian military-industrial complex (MIC). But how much is it necessary? It goes without saying that the cost of guided projectiles will be significantly higher than the cost of their uncontrolled counterparts, and higher than the cost of projectiles with remote disruption in the trajectory.
Here it is necessary to consider the situation in the complex. For the armed forces, the cost / efficiency criterion is decisive, i.e. if we hit a tank, cost 10 000 000 $ with a rocket for 100 000 $, then this is acceptable, but if we hit a jeep with a 100 000 $ jeep with a large-caliber machine gun, the total cost of 10 000 $, then this is not very good. However, there may be other situations, for example, when an anti-aircraft missile for 100 000 $ intercepted a mortar for 2000 $, but this did not destroy the aircraft at the airfield for 100 000 000 $, the pilot and support staff did not die. In general, the question of cost is a multifaceted question.
In addition, the development of technologies makes it possible to optimize the manufacture of many components of promising products - high-precision casting, additive technologies (3d printing), MEMS technologies (microelectromechanical systems), and much more. It’s hard to say what the cost of the 30 managed projectile mm will ultimately be for developers / manufacturers - 5000 $, 3000 $ and maybe the entire 500 $ apiece.
Consider the impact of the appearance of 30 mm projectiles driven by shells on increasing the efficiency and expanding the scope of use of high-speed guns.
As mentioned earlier, in aviation, maneuvering combat with the use of guns became extremely unlikely. On the other hand, it is extremely important to create a kind of "active protection" of the aircraft against attacking missiles. In the west, they are trying to solve this problem by creating highly maneuverable CUDA interceptor missiles developed by Lockheed Martin. Such missiles do not interfere with our country.
CUDA interceptor missile
As a means of active protection against attacking missiles in-in, you can also consider the use of 30 mm guided projectiles with remote disruption in the trajectory. Ammunition of a modern fighter is about 120 pcs. 30 mm shells. Replacing existing standard ammunition with 30 mm shells with a remote undermining will allow high-precision fire on guided air-to-air or enemy ground-to-air missiles on oncoming traffic courses. Of course, this will require the aircraft to be equipped with an appropriate guidance system, including the 2-4 laser channels, to ensure the simultaneous attack of several targets.
In the event that a maneuverable air battle does take place, an aircraft with 30 mm guided projectiles will have an undeniable advantage due to the greater aiming firing range, no need to precisely orient the fixed cannon of the aircraft to the enemy, and to compensate, within some limits, the maneuvers of the enemy by adjusting the flight path of the aircraft shells.
Finally, when solving such a task as repelling a raid of long-range high-precision cruise missiles (KR), the pilot, after exhausting the missile ammunition, can spend several 30 mm projectiles guided on one conventional Tomahawk, i.e. one fighter can destroy the entire salvo of the Kyrgyz Republic which may be a Virginia-type submarine, or even two.
Similarly, the use of controlled 30-mm projectiles in the ammunition armament of an air defense of a surface ship will allow to push the line of destruction of anti-ship missiles. Now for official Kashtan anti-aircraft missile complex (ZRAK), the official sources indicate the zone of destruction by artillery weapons in the range from 500 to 1,5 thousand meters, and in fact the destruction of the anti-ship missiles is carried out at the turn of 300-500 m, at the range 500 m probability defeat PKR "Harpoon" is 0,97, and at a distance 300 m - 0,99.
The use of 30 mm guided missiles, as well as the use of any guided weapons, will increase the likelihood of damage to the missiles at a significantly greater distance. Also, it will reduce the size of the ship's artillery installations, by reducing the ammunition and the abandonment of the Duet type monstrous items.
Shipboard two-automatic 30-mm automatic duo artillery mount
The same can be said about the use of 30 mm-guided shells in ground-based missiles. The presence of ammunition "Pantsirey", 30 mm shells, will save rocket weapons with the defeat of subsonic high-precision ammunition, leaving missiles for the aircraft carrier, which will reduce the likelihood of repetition of situations in Syria, when the air defense system with spent ammunition was destroyed with impunity.
From an economic point of view, the defeat of mortar mines and 30 mm balloons with guided missiles should also be cheaper than with anti-aircraft missiles.
Finally, the use of controlled 30-mm projectiles in the ground equipment and combat helicopters will allow you to destroy targets from a longer range, with a significantly higher probability and with less ammunition consumption. If there are high-quality sighting devices, it will be possible to work on the enemy's vulnerable points - observation devices, areas of weakening armor, air intake filters, elements of the exhaust system, and so on. For a tank with a DUMV 30 mm, the presence of guided ammunition will more accurately hit the elements of the active defense of the enemy tank, work on attacking helicopters and UAVs with a high probability of hitting the target.
The Russian 2А42 and 2А72 cannons have an important advantage over many others - the availability of selective ammunition from two shell boxes. Accordingly, in one box can be managed 30 mm ammunition, in the other ordinary, which will allow you to choose the necessary ammunition based on the situation.
The use of 30-mm guided projectiles in the interests of all types of armed forces of Russia will reduce the cost of a separate projectile due to the mass production of standardized components.
Thus, it is possible to formulate a conclusion - to extend the life cycle of high-speed automatic guns of caliber 30 mm will give the following directions of development:
1. Creation of the most lightweight and compact combat modules on the basis of 30-mm guns.
2. The massive introduction of shells with a remote undermining of the flight path.
3. Development and implementation of 30 caliber mm guided missiles.