Sunday, March 30, 2014

KMW IWS35 Remote Turret

KMW's 35mm Remote Turret

IWS 35

KMW has an ongoing development for a Remote Turret. The turret is called IWS35.

IWS35 is armed with a 35mm Bushmaster II Autocannon and a .50cal (12.7mm) Bushmaster Heavy Machine Gun. Both weapons are products of ATK.

Instead of a traditional use of a 7.62mm machine gun; the selection of a .50cal chaingun  as a coaxial gun is quite interesting. This leads me thinking that the concept of operation for this turret is based on frequent use of the 12.7mm machine gun. The lethality of the 12.7mm gun is way higher than a 7.62mm gun, thus unless the utmost power of the 25mm cannon is not needed, the operator will rely on the .50cal. machine gun.

The turret is made of welded aluminum. It has electric drives for traverse and elevation and also dual axis stabilized sights for gunner and commander.

The sights seemed to me the same units used in the German Puma IFV's turret as shown below. As far as I remember these are from German company Carl Zeiss. Both sights have day TV and thermal imagers along with laser range finders.

Sights in Spz Puma Turret

Sights in IWS35

  The weapons in IWS35 turret has different elevation limits. The .50cal chaingun can elevate up to 65 degrees; whereas the 35mm cannon can elevate up to 35 degrees. The turret drives are developed by Moog.

The ammunition for the main gun, 35mm Bushmaster III is fed from a linkless magazine developed by Meggitt. I could not find any information whether the main gun ammunition can be replenished from inside the vehicle or not. The ammunition capacity for the main gun, which is also very important, remains to be seen.

The ammunition for the .50cal machinegun is fed from an ammo can located on the left side of the gun. It seems it can only be replenished from outside.

The IWS35 remote turret seems to be an interesting addition to the remote turrets market with an important distinction of fire power: the Bushmaster III 35mm.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Oerlikon 35mm Revolver Cannon

35mm Cannon Story continues:


35mm Revolver Cannon

Our story for 35mm cannon continues with Rheinmetall's - formerly Oerlikon's - 35/1000 Revolver gun.

This gun is mainly used for air defense. THe interesting feature is the Revolver principle:

In most simple terms the principle is basically the same as your old Six Shooter.

The cylinder including the chambers - aka revolver- rotates counter-clock wise, the chamber at 6 o'clock position lines up with the barrel. 35/1000 cannon has 4 chambers in the revolver as shown above.

Another image showing the principle:

The 35/1000 cannon is gas operated with a rate of fire of 1.000 rounds per minute!

35/1000 gun chambers 35x228mm ammunition and uses linkless ammunition.

The gun is the business end of the German SkyShield C-RAM (Counter Rocket/Artillery/Mortar) system. 

Gun data:

Caliber: 35mm
Length: 4.11m
Weight: 450kg

35/1000 gun in the SkyShield Remote Turret has been integrated on a Piranha III, Piranha IV, Boxer vehicles as a mobile air defense vehicle solution.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Medium Caliber Effectiveness vs Urban Targets

Medium Caliber Effectiveness
Urban Targets

Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) are expected to perform two main combat missions:

  • Engage light armored vehicles of the enemy using armor piercing ammunition
  • Support organic infantry by fire 
In today's asymmetric battlefields including urban scenarios, the infantry needs to closely work together with their armor.
  • The infantry might pinned down by enemy fire behind cover such as walls either be it brick or adobe or concrete. In this case, the IFV must be able to effectively fire through the wall and incapacitate the enemy team behind cover.
  •  In order for the infantry squad to enter a suspicious building covered by walls, the IFV is neded to create an opening thru the wall for the infantry to enter the compound.

In some parts of the world a material called Adobe (not the software company... ;) is very common in building walls.

Wikipedia defines Adobe as:
 Adobe is a natural building material made from sand, clay, water, and some kind of fibrous or organic material (sticks, straw, and/or manure), which the builders shape into bricks (using frames) and dry in the sun. Adobe buildings are similar to cob and mudbrick buildings. Adobe structures are extremely durable, and account for some of the oldest existing buildings in the world

The image below shows different calibers and types of rounds fired against a 20cm thick concrete wall.
TNO, "Capability Gap in Urban Ops", 2012
Some information on the types of rounds fired:
FAPDS: Frangible Armor Piercing Discarding Sabot. The round breaks up upon impact with soft and hard targets. On the one hand, the projectile’s lethality is due to its penetrating power; on the other, to the effects of fragmentation. Consisting of a tungsten heavy metal alloy.
PELE: Penetrator with Enhanced Lateral Effect.
Crucial to its success is the specially engineered projectile, which combines two materials with different levels of density. Containing neither a fuse nor explosives, the round’s lethality derives from its high penetrating power coupled with fragmentation, blast and incendiary effects.
APDS: Armor Piercing Discarding Sabot.
P-ABM: Programmable Air Burst
MP: Multi Purpose
The other below shows the effects of again different calibers and types against a 80cm thick adobe wall.
TNO, "Capability Gap in Urban Ops", 2012

Adobe Hut
Conclusions from the TNO's study are remarkable:
Projectiles with fuze (20 to 35 mm HE & MP) are
NOT capable to defeat 80 cm Adobe wall
- Fragment debris in front of wall
- No fragment debris after the wall
NOT capable to breech
KE projectiles (25 to 35 mm APDS and APFDS) are
capable to defeat 80 cm Adobe wall
- No fragment debris in front of wall, but during flight
- No fragment debris after the wall
PABM and KETF unprogrammed are capable to defeat 40 cm Adobe
- No fragment debris in front of wall
- Fragment debris after the wall

Frangible and PELE-PEN (25 to 30mm) projectiles are
capable to defeat 80 cm Adobe wall
- No fragment debris in front of wall
- Some Fragment debris after the wall.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

ATK Bushmaster III Automatic Cannon

Bushmaster III 35mm Cannon
For today's threats as well as future's??

Bushmaster III is the biggest and baddest member of the Bushmaster Chainguns that is available for integration. Although there is Bushmaster IV 40mm cannon, it is, as far as I know, in prototype stage.

Bushmaster III is a electric driven, link-fed automatic cannon that can be employed either as a 35mm or with changing the barrel and forward feeder assembly can chamber SuperShot50, 50mm ammunition. There are some works going on for the linkless feed Bushmaster 35mm; however the in-service guns are link-fed.

The specification for the Bushmaster III is roughly:

In order to better see the differences between 25mm M242, 30mm Mk44 and 35mm Bushmaster III, here is a short comparison:

And here is another image that compares the sizes of M242 25mm, Mk44 30mm and Bushmaster III autocannons:

Just looking at the size difference between the M242 25mm Bushmaster, you can see that Bushmaster III is a monster.

However, this monster has also quite a strong bite as well!

Let's look at the High Explosive (HE) ammuntion:

The 25mm HE projectile has a mass of 180 g.
The 30mm HE Projectile has a mass of 362 g.
The 35mm HE Projectile has a mass of 550 g!!

Just look at the HE difference and imagine the destructive effect of the 35mm HE!

For an IFV vehicle, the real bite of the gun comes thru the armor piercing capability versus armored threats.

The lethality performance against armor plate is usually expressed when the projectile is not hitting on a vertical plate, but impacting on a sloped armor as shown in the image below. The commonly accepted method is expressed as 60 degree obliquity.

 Now keeping this information in mind, the graph below shows the penetration capability of 25mm, 30mm and 35mm Armor Piercing Sabot rounds:

Some highlights from the graph above:

i. 30mm has ~30% more penetration than 25mm.

ii. 35mm has ~60% more penetration than 25mm.

We should also keep in mind that:

i. 25mm AP round tracer burns-out at around 2000 meters, thus seeing fall-of-shot beyond 2km becomes really difficult.

ii. Due to trajectory and velocity decrease, 25mm round's accuracy drops down considerably beyond 2km's.

iii. However, with the 35mm, accurate firing beyond 3km is possible and proven by the Dutch gunners from CV9035 in Afghanistan.

In terms of lethality, 30x173mm caliber is performing quite good against today's battlefield threats like BMP-3.

However, TNO's 30mm vs 35mm comparison document states that:

One other important issue for Bushmaster 3 turret integration is the ammunition capacity.

Before going into that, we should better have an idea of the size of 35mm ammunition. I believe this can help:

Now, getting back the issue of ammunition capacity:

i. Belted 35mm ammunition would be really difficult to handle during loading because of the weight and size of the belts of ammo.

ii. Linkless feed systems can be an appropriate alternative for 35mm feed systems. I will explain Linkless Feed later on.

iii. The number of ready to fire ammunition is very important, ie. CV9035 has a total of 70 rounds of belted 35mm ready-to-fire, which is not bad.

However, an IFV turret with Bushmaster III and 100 ready-to-fire rounds would be a real winner.

iv. For a turret that is armed with Bushmaster III, the First Round Hit Probability (FRHP) would be especially important. Because you no longer have an ammo capacity such as Bradley's 300 rounds of 25mm. So for 35mm, your fire control system should make every shot count! 

©2014 Warfare Technology

Sunday, March 9, 2014

CV9035 Afghanistan and some experiences

CV9035 MkIII
Experiences from Afghanistan

 I've been surfing thru Military Photos ( and came across a thread on Danish CV9035 MkIII IFV's and some interesting remarks on Afghanistan.

An Interesting remark on terrain in Afghanistan:

"The terrain in Helmand is very...VERY... rough. We had a couple of Piranha's that got stuck in some ditches. We had to get EOD to blast the front wheel free from the chassis using explosives.

The M113's are much more suited for the terrain.

CV9035 35mm HEI rounds comparison:

Shell Mass (HEI)
25x127mm : 185g (Bradley, LAV 25 etc.)
30x173mm : 360g (EFV, Puma, CV9030 etc.)
35x228mm : 550g (CV9035)  

Remarks from a CV9035 DK gunner:

"Well i have confirmed hits of over 3000+ meters.. And another guy in our company have even better than me =) and that was during moving.....

We have a " smörgåsbord " of ammo..
All from FAP , HE , KETF ...

and I've heard from other sources that the CV9035 with its Bushmaster III 35mm gun has acquired quite a fear in Afghanistan among Taliban. What I've heard confirms the above remarks, such that when a CV9035 appears, the insurgents quickly disappear. Because CV9035 can hit mansize targets at 3.000m.

Danish CV90 fleet in Afghanistan:

The Danish Army has, for the first time, deployed a fleet of ten BAE Systems Hägglunds CV9035 infantry fighting vehicles to Afghanistan.

The deployed vehicles feature several upgrades, including BAE Systems L-ROD bar armour, Barracuda camouflage, and software modifications to the vehicle's computer system to enhance battlefield readiness.

In addition, extra power supply for the electronic counter measures system and an additional IR camera for the driver covering the rear of the vehicle were also included in the upgrades.

The vehicles received major upgrades after their arrival in Camp Bastion, Helmand province, in mid February.

An armoured infantry company of the ninth Danish battlegroup will operate the new fleet of CV9035s to serve with the International Security Assistance Force.

The vehicles will operate alongside tracked M113G3 and wheeled Piranha IIIH armoured personnel carriers, and a platoon of Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks.

Some nice images of Danish CV9035

©2014 Warfare Technology

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

V-22 Osprey Weapon System - How it should be...

V-22 Osprey
Weapon System

BAE Systems started developing a remote controlled weapon system for V-22 Osprey in 2005. The system is called Remote Guardian. The resulting solution was a defensive weapon system that provides 360 degrees of coverage through a remotely operated retractable weapon that compensates for platform motion.

The aim is to give effective defensive armament to the Osprey when the it approaches a hot landing zone. 

The MV-22 normally has a M240 7.62mm machine gun pintle at the ramp facing rear as the only armament.

Watch the video from 04:16 to end

The Remote Guardian System is an add-on kit that is mounted under the belly and it is retractable. 

It has two turrets, a gun turret with a 7.62mm minigun and a FLIR type sight turret in front of it.  The system is controlled from a display and a playstation type hand controller.

Ref: Helfrich, T., M., Young, D., L., "Arming the Osprey, Summary of Developmental Testing, of V-22 Interim Defensive Weapon System", US Air Force T&E Days, 2010.

Marines have taken 5 systems to Afghanistan. However the feedback from the field is not what's expected.

Here is an excerpt from DefenseTech:

A senior crew chief explains that the controller/targeting station takes up too much room in the cabin (three seats) and needs devotion of a crew chief’s entire attention to running the system.

“And you’d better have a strong stomach,” the gunny said. “Because sitting sideways and trying to keep that thing on target looking at the screen will make you pretty sick.”

Ref: Helfrich, T., M., Young, D., L., "Arming the Osprey, Summary of Developmental Testing, of V-22 Interim Defensive Weapon System", US Air Force T&E Days, 2010.

Plus the added weight of 360kg's is also restricting the payload capacity of the aircraft.

Ref: Helfrich, T., M., Young, D., L., "Arming the Osprey, Summary of Developmental Testing, of V-22 Interim Defensive Weapon System", US Air Force T&E Days, 2010.

One of limitations for arming V-22 is its 12m diameter rotors prevents armament to be mounted under the wings on hard-points. Also side firing guns should be limited in order not to fire to the rotors accidentally.

So it only leaves the fuselage for the armament to be mounted.

Also the add-on weight of the armament system has to be carefully considered not to greatly reduce the payload capacity of the aircraft.

One thing that I would prefer for the armament is that it should use the aircraft's existing FLIR system as the sensor suite, rather than employing another sight like the Remote Guardian did.

Also the underbelly approach has two major drawbacks:

- The turret & sight should be retracted well before landing which will leave the aircraft without the armament when it is in its most vulnerable phase.

- The retraction mechanisms add too much unnecessary weight to the armament kit and thus to the aircraft in the end.

A better approch for arming V-22 Osprey

I've come across a NDIA document for a proposed system for the V-22. (Barton, V., De Pasqual, E., J., "Defensive Armament for the V-22 Selection, Integration and Development", NDIA, 2002.)

The study explains a nose mounted turret for the MV-22 that is controlled from the cocpit via a helmet tracker like the gun control system in AH-64 Apache.

The helmet embedded gun control is the best approach for v-22. I believe it will eliminate the motion sickness problem that the Remote Guardian operator suffers. Motion sickness appears when you are not sitting facing forward and when you are looking at a display below your eye level constantly. 

The nose turret is equipped with a three barrel 12.7mm gatling type gun, which is far more lethal and longer reaching than the Remote Guardian's 7.62mm.

Here are some of the features from the study:

Barton, V., De Pasqual, E., J., "Defensive Armament for the V-22 Selection, Integration and Development", NDIA, 2002.

The conceptual image of the turret installation in V-22 is like this:

Barton, V., De Pasqual, E., J., "Defensive Armament for the V-22 Selection, Integration and Development", NDIA, 2002.

I believe this should be the way V-22 Osprey is weaponized.

©2014 Warfare Technology