HMMWV small-caliber cannon equipment projects
Over the past few decades, one of the main examples of multi-purpose vehicles in the armies of a number of countries are American-designed and built HMMWV vehicles. It is not at all surprising that such equipment eventually acquired a number of new “specialties”, including those related to the fire support of the troops. Among others, projects for the modernization of machines using small-caliber artillery were developed. Let us consider several variants of such a technique, both those that have found their place in the armies and those that have remained at the stage of development or testing.
Perhaps the most interesting and, more importantly, the RED-T project, developed by AM General and McDonnell Douglas, was one of the most elaborate options for upgrading Humwee machines with the installation of artillery pieces. The company that created the car itself in the mid-eighties offered another version of a specialized combat vehicle based on it. The RED-T project (Remote Electric Drive Turret - “Remote controlled turret with electric drives”) implied the installation of some new equipment, including an 25-mm automatic gun, on the existing chassis. The RED-T complex was patented in the 1986 year, after which it was offered to potential customers.
It should be noted that the RED-T system can be considered one of the first remotely controlled modules of the modern sample. Previously, systems of similar purpose had other equipment with corresponding characteristics. The development of companies AM General and McDonnell Douglas, in turn, was one of the first attempts to improve the capabilities of technology through some innovations.
Using the layout features of the base chassis, it was suggested to mount the installation structure inside the car body weapons. It was to consist of four vertical pillars and a horizontal slab with a shoulder strap for a combat module. For vertical pickups it was proposed to use a rack passing through the habitable compartment and in contact with the drives on the roof of the engine compartment. Horizontal targeting was carried out by turning the entire platform of the gun with the help of an appropriate electric drive on the roof. The entire set of similar tools was to be mounted in the back of the cabin. At the same time, the operator’s console was proposed to be placed in the rear left passenger seat, although the presence of remote control systems did not impose any restrictions of this kind.
A space was provided on the upper rotary platform of the module to support the rocking artillery unit. The latter was to be used for mounting tools. As a weapon for the RED-T, 25-mm automatic gun M242 Bushmaster was offered. The gun with external drives of automatics had a barrel of 106 caliber length and could fire at a rate of up to 500 shots per minute. Depending on the type of ammunition, the initial velocity of the projectile at the level of 1100 m / s and effective firing at ranges up to 3 km were ensured. To the breech of the gun was proposed to attach two boxes for storing ammunition with band feed with the ability to quickly change the type of projectile used. Interestingly, different prototypes of the complex were equipped with different ammunition supply systems.
In the boxes on the combat module, we managed to place two types of shells on 40. Another 30 similar systems for storing ammunition with a total capacity of 540 shells were proposed to be transported in the cargo hold of the vehicle.
To monitor the situation, search for targets and aiming weapons it was proposed to use a set of optoelectronic equipment installed near the instrument. In one installation with a gun, in the immediate vicinity of it, a video camera and a thermal imager were to be mounted. The signal from these devices should be displayed on the screen of the operator console. It was proposed to control the equipment using a set of control handles, buttons, etc. All weapons control operations were carried out exclusively from the console at the operator’s workplace.
The combat module RED-T had a fairly large size, however, due to the location of some elements inside the base machine did not lead to an unacceptable increase in its overall dimensions. According to the manufacturer, the total height of the car HMMWV with new weapons was 96 inches - 2,44 m. Thus, the Humve gun was only 64 cm above the standard vehicle of its model. Combat weight was declared at the level of 8600 pounds (3,9 t), of which about 1,3 t fell on the gun and its ammunition. All this made it possible to preserve the possibility of transporting the vehicle by military transport aircraft and helicopters. The crew was supposed to consist of three people. For the operation of weapons responsible one operator.
According to reports, in the second half of the eighties, the project development companies built no more than a few experimental machines, which were designated as HMMWV RED-T. This technique differed in some features of a design, a complete set, etc. At the same time, all the machines were intended for various tests and tests in practice. In addition, they had to serve as a kind of promotional materials necessary to promote the development of the market.
For some time, the authors of the project tried to offer their development to various customers, but did not achieve significant success in this matter. By the end of the eighties, attempts to win the attention of potential buyers ceased. The curious project did not produce the expected results and did not become the subject of contracts. Nevertheless, he showed the practical possibility of installing small-caliber artillery on car chassis. Soon, other organizations took up the development of this topic.
Another option for equipping Humwee cars with automatic cannons was proposed in the late eighties, and McDonnell Douglas was again related to it. This project was part of a large program to develop a promising small-caliber automatic gun designed to replace existing weapons. In 1984, McDonnell Douglas began work on a promising 30-mm cannon, which could become a new weapon of ground technology. According to the calculations of the authors of the project, 12,7-mm machine guns M2HB could no longer cope with the tasks assigned to them in the fight against protected targets, because of which they had to be replaced by a more powerful system.
The new gun, designed to replace machine guns, received the designation ASP-30. The result of the design work was the appearance of a fairly compact (length 2027 mm) and light (52 kg) automatic cannon with a barrel caliber 30 mm. The barrel length of 44 caliber could accelerate shells up to a speed of 2650 feet per second (807,7 m / s), sufficient to destroy a potential enemy armored personnel carrier. Automatics based on a gas engine gave a rate of fire at the level of 500 shots per minute. This gun was proposed to be used together with the machine tool, as well as as a weapon for self-propelled equipment, boats, etc.
Due to the small size and weight of the new gun, it became possible to do without serious alterations of the carrier. In the case of cars HMMWV, for mounting ASP-30 on the roof it was necessary to install the turret in the form of a turning device with attachments for the gun and slug box, similar to that used with machine guns M2HB. Also used standard guidance systems. In developing the weapon, the need to ensure maximum compatibility with systems developed for machine guns was taken into account. This task was successfully accomplished, so retooling the machine was not too difficult.
Rearmament on the new project were at least two army vehicles, received 30-mm cannon as a replacement for heavy machine gun. These machines were tested and demonstrated various features of the new project, but the promising development did not go into the series. In the early nineties, it was decided to abandon the further development of the ASP-30 cannon and the expansion of its range of carriers. The abrupt change in the military-political situation in the world allowed to do without the light and massive carriers of 30-mm cannons, which are necessary to fight the advancing enemy armored personnel carriers. According to some reports, by this time the company McDonnell Douglas manufactured the entire 23 experienced guns of the new type.
The aim of the ASP-30 project was to replace large-caliber machine guns with more powerful weapons with similar operational features. Similar goals set themselves gunsmiths of the Republic of China (Taiwan). Like the American colleagues, they wanted to use the existing structure in order to increase the firepower of various combat vehicles, boats, etc. In contrast to the similar foreign development, the Taiwanese project was nevertheless brought to mass production and operation.
Another prototype machine with the 30-mm gun. Photo Karelmilitary.livejournal.com
At the heart of the project, originally bearing the designation T75, was an American-made M39 automatic gun. This 20 mm caliber gun was created in the early fifties and was intended for use on aircraft of various types. Thanks to gas automation and a revolving ammunition feed system with an electric trigger, the M39 could fire up to 1700 rounds per minute, dispersing shells to 870 m / s. In this case, the gun had a length of not more than 1,83 m and weighed only 80 kg, which was associated with the requirements of the combat aviation.
Over time, the M39 product became the basis for a new project by Taiwanese gunsmiths. At its base was created gun T75, which had the minimum possible number of differences, but intended to solve other problems. So, due to the need to install on land and marine equipment, the updated gun should have a lower rate of fire, which should not exceed 1200 rounds per minute. In addition, there were some other technical and technological differences. The result of all these works was the appearance of guns T75 and T75M caliber 20 mm.
One of the carriers of the US-Taiwanese cannon was a universal car HMMWV. In his case, for mounting the instrument, an annular turret with all necessary equipment is used. On the rotating base on the chase, there is a U-shaped mount for the gun, which provides vertical guidance and accurate horizontal guidance. To the right of the gun is a box for cartridges, connected to it with a flexible sleeve for tapes, and at the back there is a bag for collecting cartridges that prevents them from getting inside the machine. Since the gun T75M retained the electric descent of its prototype, the turret is equipped with the appropriate electrical control systems.
According to reports, the guns T75 / T75M are fairly widespread in the armed forces of the Republic of China. These weapons were partially replaced by large-caliber machine guns M2HB, used on patrol boats, army vehicles and some other equipment. Just as it was conceived in the American project ASP-30, the new Taiwanese weapons made it possible to significantly increase the firepower of the vehicle without any special changes in ergonomics and operation.
It should be noted that the projects described above are not the only ones in stories Attempts to equip Humwee army vehicles with artillery weapons. In particular, there is information about the modernization of equipment, carried out in artisanal conditions by forces of various armies that received American-made equipment. Similar improvements affected both the protection of equipment and its weapons. However, as often happens in such cases, such modifications were not massive.
With the information available today, one can come to interesting conclusions about the HMMWV retrofit projects that were developed in the past. So, the history of the RED-T project shows that for some reason this remote-controlled combat module could not interest potential customers. However, several decades have passed, and similar weapon systems have become the de facto standard for all new equipment of several classes. Regularly, there are new projects of combat modules and the next versions of equipment using them.
The ASP-30 cannon’s rearmament project, in turn, was unsuccessful, primarily for military and political reasons. Due to changes in the situation in the world, further work on the gun and all other projects where it was involved did not seem appropriate. As a result, the Humvee with machine guns M2HB remained with the available weapons.
The most successful of the projects reviewed was the Taiwanese version of the armament of machines. On the basis of the existing aviation guns, the industry of the Republic of China has created its own version of the gun, and also equipped it with the required auxiliary units. Such a product, which favorably differs from the existing machine guns by its main characteristics, has found application in the army and has yielded real results. Comparing the Taiwanese project T75 / T75M with the American ASP-30, one cannot but recall the tense relations between Taiwan and the PRC, which contribute to one or another development of weapons and military equipment, as well as not allowing progress in this area to stop.
Practice clearly confirmed that the platform, like the car HMMWV, can be carriers of a variety of weapons and special systems. At the same time, some projects have not been developed for one reason or another. It is quite possible that with the further development of army automotive technology, the ideas of the past will again find application, resulting in the emergence of new models armed with small-caliber artillery on various installations.
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