2011-08-21

Aircraft cannon data

(This is a copy of a document I put on the web in 1995, listing and sort of comparing different aircraft cannon on fighter aircraft. Facts haven't been much updated since then.)

Aircraft cannon data

       number of      projectile muzzle  cyclic  rds  throw weight  cannon
                          (round)
         barrels calibre  weight veloc.  rate    1:st  1:st         weight length
                 mm         g     m/s    /min(s) sec.  sec. kg      kg     m

General Dynamics
     GAU-19/A  3 12.7       ?       ?   1200      ?        ?        209
  Installation on MV-22 will have 750 rounds, reloadable in flight, 
  148 deg azimut and 70 deg elevation fields

Oerlikon KAD   1 20         ?       ?      ?      ?        ?          ?

Armscor XC-F2  1 20        98    1030    600     10        1         39
  For Rooivalk

GIAT 621       1 20        98    1030    650     11        1.05       ?
  Used on SA.242 Gazelle and SA.365 Panther

GE M197        3 20x102    98    1030    750      ?        ?          ?
  Used on AH-1 Cobra

GE Vulcan II   3 20x102    98    1030   1500      ?        ?
  Improved M197, intended for RAH-66 Comanche

GE M61         6 20x102    98    1036  6000(100)                    114

GE M61A1       6 20x102  98(250) 1036  6600(110) 72        7.0      120   1.88 m
GE M61A2       6 20x102                                              93
                  Lighter version, faster spinup, thinner barrels.
Due to spin up time of 0.3 to rate, the first 0.5 s only 20 rounds are fired. Used on many fighters.
There's also sources which say it fires 47 rounds the first second, for a throw weight of 4.6 kg. If this is correct, it might refer to time from press of trigger, and the numbers 72 (or 75) from the time the first round is fired. Or perhaps it refers to an older version.
When the barrels are rotating slowly during spin up and spin down, a few rounds (around 15 in total) are expended, but not fired as the barrels aren't clear of the aircraft structure.
A lightweight, 93 kg, version with faster acceleration is beeing made for F/A-18, F-22 and Taiwan's IDF.
There are three dispersion patterns with normal, oval and large dispersion clamps. These give 4.5 mils, 8 (height) x 38 (width) mils and 16 mils respectively.
GSh-23L        2 23x115    109?    700    3200    53        5.8       51
  First used on MiG-21s
  The Yugoslavian version GSh-23-L-YU has a rate of 3500 rd/min.

GSh-23         2 23x115   109     890    3500    58        6.3       76
  Reported as having 4500 r/min in the UPK-23-250 gun pod


GSh-6-23       6 23x115    109?      ?   8000(133) ?        ?         76
  Used on MiG-31. Same ammunition as GSh-23L. Used in the SPPU-6 gun pod

Oerlikon KBA   1 25x137     ?       ?       ?     ?        ?          ?

Aden 25        1 25x137   180    1050    1850    30        5.4       92
  Planned for Harrier GR.7, intended for Hawk 200, not in service (1999). Percussion ignition.

GE-225         2 25x137   180    1097    2000    33        5.9       86
  Development is shelved. Externally powered it fired 750 rd/min.

GE GAU-12/U    5 25x137   180    1097   4200(70) 35        6.3      125
  Used on AV-8B.
  On the F-35 it fires at 4000 rpm only, and reloads unfired ammo back into the magazine.

Mauser BK 27   1 27x145   260(516) 1025 1000/1700 28        7.4      100
  Used on Gripen, Tornado and Alpha Jet, podded variant available.
  Time of flight to 1000 m 1.18 s, velocity at 1000 m 695 m/s.
  Lenght: 2310 mm, barrel 1730 mm. Centrifuge tested to 10.2G.

MDHC M230      1 30       240     805     625(10) 9        2.4        ?
  Used on AH-64. Externally powered by a 6.5hp motor,
  max rate is reached in 0.2 s.

Aden 30        1 30x111           800    1500    25                  87  1.7


DEFA 554       1 30x113   275     840 1100/1800  30        8.3       80
  Five chamber revolver. Used on Mirage 2000 and AMX.

GIAT 30M791    1 30x150   275    1025 1500/2500  41       11.3      110
  Seven chamber revolver. Used on Rafale.
  Electric ignition, automatic cocking, electrically powered revolver mechanism.
  0.5 or 1 s bursts selectable. Can also fire at 300-600 rd/min.

GSh-301        1 30         ?     860    1800    30        1.98        46
    Revolver. Used on MiG-29 and Su-27.
    Rate of fire also given as 1500-1600 and muzzle velocity 660(?) m/s

2A42           1 30x164   390    1020   300/600  5-10      3.9      115
  Dzerzhinets NPPU-280. Used on BMP-2, Ka-50, Mi-38 and Mi-40. Dual feed.
  Also reported as having 900 r/min

Armscor XC-30  1 30       270    1020     900    15        4.05      85
  For Rooivalk

Giat 30-871    1 30x150   270     725     750    13        3.1       56
  For Eurocopter Gerfaut. Externally powered. 1, 10, 25 bursts or continous.
  Linear action. (Is it 781?)

Oerlikon KCA   1 30x173  360(890) 1050   1350    22        8.1        136  2.69
  Four chamber revolver. Used on fighter Viggens. Has four charges to clear
  duds which goes as quick as spent cartridges + a few ms to detect. Barrel 1.98 m

GSh-30 /L/K    2 30x164   390       ? 1500-1800  25-30     9.8    105/126

GSh-2-30       2 30x164   390     765    3000    50        19.5       ?
  Used on Su-25 and Mi-24 (with lower firing rate?)

GAU-13/A       4 30x173   390    1022    2400(40) ?        ?          ?
  Pod mounted as GPU-5/A / GEPOD-30 on F-16s and F-5Es. GPU-5/A with 450
  rounds weighs 717 kg.

GSh-6-30       6 30         ?     850    5400(90) ?        ?        145
  Used on MiG-27.

GAU-8        7 30x173     390    1067 2100/3500(58) ?      ?        281  6.40
  Used on A-10. The higher 4200 rd/min rate was deleted in the 1980s.
  0.55 s to 70 rds/s. Gun+magazine+ammo 1723 kg.

Oerlikon 35/1000 1 35x   1000       ?       ?     ?        ?        450


Bofors 57mm/L50 1 57x230 2500       744   180     3        7.5      735 5.3m, barrel 2.85 m
  Option on Saab T 18B. Long obsolete.
Single barrel linear action guns usually has a rate of 300-900 rd/min.
As you can see, during the first second, the five-barrelled Gatling only fires two rounds more than the two-barrelled gun firing the same rounds, in spite of having a cyclic rate that's more than twice as high and beeing 39 kg heavier.

Some examples of cannon fit and magazine capacity

Aircraft          Gun        Number
                             of guns  Ammunition
                            (barrels) load
F-14              GE M61 20 mm  1 (6)  675
F-15A-D           M61 20 mm     1 (6)  950
F-15E             M61 20 mm     1 (6)  512
F-16              M61 20 mm     1 (6)  515
F/A-18A/B/C/D     M61 20 mm     1 (6)  570
F/A-18E/F         M61 20 mm     1 (6)  400 
F-4               M61 20 mm     1 (6)  640
A-7               M61 20 mm     1 (6) 1000
F-111             M61 20 mm     1 (6) 1000 (in bay, not fixed)
F-104             M61 20 mm     1 (6)  725
F-22              M61 20 mm     1 (6)  480 ("With 480 rounds, the pilot has roughly five shots with the gun.")
F-35             GAU-12/U 25 mm 1 (5)  182 for the CTOL version, pod for CV/CTOL holds 220 rounds.
F-5E             Colt M39 20 mm 2      280
F-5F              M39     20 mm 1      140
A-10              GAU-8/A 30 mm 1 (7) 1174 (used to be slightly more, magazine walls thicker now)
P-80          Browning M3 12.7 mm 6 x 300 = 1800 
F-86A         Browning M3 12.7 mm 6 x 267 = 1602 (13 s shooting)
F9F Panther   Hispano M3 20 mm    4 x 190 = 760 (13 s shooting)
Messerschmitt 262  MK 108 30 mm   2 x 100 + 2 x 80 = 360 (8/10 s shooting)
Gloster Meteor  Hispano-Suiza 20  4 x 195 = 780
DH Vampire Hispano-Suiza Mk V 20  4 x 150 = 600
DH Venom        Hispano-Suiza 20  4 x 150 = 600
AV-8B Har.II     GAU-12/U 25 mm 1 (5)  300 
Harrier GR.7      ADEN 25 25 mm 2 x    ??? Can fly with one gun + one TIALD
                                           pod, this gun installation now cancelled
Hawk              ADEN 30 mm    1      150 (podded) (two 25 mm initially planned for Hawk 200 initially)
Sea Harrier       Aden 30 mm    2 x 125 = 250
Mirage IIIS       DEFA 30 mm    2 x 120 = 240
Mirage F.1      DEFA 553A 30 mm 2 x 135 = 270
Mirage 2000       DEFA 30 mm    2 x 125 = 250
Rafale        DEFA 30M791 30 mm 1 x 125    (two guns planned initially)
A 32A Lansen     Bofors 20 mm   4 x 180    (but actual warload was 4 x 80 rounds)
J 32B Lansen      Aden  30 mm   4 x  90 = 360 
J 35A Draken      Aden  30 mm   2 x 150 = 300
J 35J Draken      Aden  30 mm   1      150
JA 37 Viggen Oerlikon KCA 30 mm 1      150
JAS 39 Gripen Mauser BK 27 27 mm 1     120
Tornado IDS  Mauser BK 27 27 mm 2 x 180 = 360
Tornado ADV       BK    27 mm   1      180 (Slightly different installation compared to IDV)
AMX (Italian)     M61   20 mm   1 (6)  350
AMX (Brazilian)   Aden 30 mm    2 x 125 = 250
Su-24           GSh-6-23 23 mm  1 (6)  500
Su-27           GSh-30-1 30 mm  1      150
MiG-15bis       N-37 37 mm 1 x 40 + NR-23 23 mm 2 x 80 (6 s shooting)
MiG-17PFU       1x37 mm cannon + 2x23 mm cannons 
MiG-19          NR-30    30 mm  2 x 70 + 55 = 195
MiG-27          GSh-6-30 30 mm  1 (6)  260 
MiG-29          GSh-30-1 30 mm  1      150 (said to be twice the needed amount)
MiG-29M         GSh-30-1 30 mm  1      100
MiG-31          GSh-23-6        1 (6)  260

Air to air shootdowns with guns are getting scarcer

By the USAF during Desert Storm two: Both by A-10s.
USAF F-4Es in 1972: Seven, out of 14 attempts.
By the RN Sea Harriers during the Falklands war: Four in all, one Pucara, one A-4, one Hercules which had been damages by one Sidewinders and one A-4 which already was damaged by ground fire which was further damaged so it couldn't land, compared to eleven plus two damaged with Sidewinders. Additionally four helicopters were destroyede on the ground by cannon.
Israel: Six Day War, 100% (of 60), lack of dependable AAMs.
War of Attrition, 70% (of 113); missiles Shafrir 30%.
1970-73, 70% (of 34); missiles 30%.
Yom Kippur War, 30% (of 277); missiles 70%.
1973-79, 17% (of 6); missiles 83%.
1979-82, 9% (of 229; missiles 91%.
Lebanon 1982, 7% (of 85), missiles 93%.
1982-90, 0%, missiles 100% (of 3).


Airborne cannon used by the Swedish air force
Document last modified 2011 Aug 21 by Urban
Text last updated 1995 Mar 15 by Urban, apart from the M61 section which was updated 1997 June 20, BK 27 update on 1997 Dec 11, Aden 30 and details 1997 Dec 16, Rafale 2005 Jan 24, aircraft list added 1998 Nov 04, links removed 2011 Aug 21

1 comment:

  1. Note that GSh-30-1 is not a revolver gun, but a single barrel, linear action gun with an amazing rate of fire, and consequently a short barrel life.

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