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"M230: Could This Gun Be the U.S. Military's ...." Topic


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433 hits since 27 Sep 2018
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP27 Sep 2018 3:01 p.m. PST

….Ultimate Weapon?

"The M230 is probably one of the definitive weapons of the Global War on Terror. Mounted on the belly of Apache gunship helicopters, the M230 has provided critical fire support to U.S. troops in almost every theatre they've engaged in combat in.

But now as the military considers ways to enhance the firepower of ground vehicles, the M230 is attracting attention again as a lightweight solution to add heavy firepower to a ground vehicle. But can it be easily adapted to the ground role? How does it compare to the larger 30mm Bushmaster cannons?…."
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Amicalement
Armand

Lion in the Stars27 Sep 2018 4:14 p.m. PST

Let's see here… the helicopter version is 120lbs, while a grunt .50BMG is 84lbs. The ground-mount M230LF is 160lbs. I won't say that's a negligible weight increase, but it's basically two boxes of .50cal ammo. And grunts always find a way to carry more .50cal ammo!

The real killer is the increase in ammo weight. 30x113 rounds are heavy, roughly 1lb each (Armaco quotes 422grams per round). A case is 60 rounds, so probably weighs 70lbs once you count the links and the can.

Bronco5327 Sep 2018 6:38 p.m. PST

The intent isn't to use it in the tripod-mounted role. It wouldn't be feasible in that role, anyhow: it's an externally-powered gun. Like the M242 Bushmaster, the cycling of the action is driven by a drive chain (like a bicycle chain) which is powered by an electric motor. You need a power source.

For replacing .50 caliber machine guns on pintle mounts atop light armor vehicles, it is a reasonable fit.

…I'm not sure it's actually an upgrade, though. The M230 doesn't do very much, in the ground role, that cannot already be performed more effectively by a Mk-19 automatic grenade launcher.

The Mk-19 is smaller, lighter (about half the weight), and simpler than the M230. The Mk-19 does not require an external power source like the M230. The 40mm M430A1 HEDP round for the Mk-19 will penetrate 63mm of rolled homogeneous steel armor, while the 30mm M789 HEDP for the M230 will only penetrate 25mm (no surprise; HEAT shaped charge penetration scales directly with warhead diameter). The 40mm M430A1 carries 45 grams of explosive filler; the 30mm M789 carries only 21.5 grams. The 40mm M430A1, with it's larger, rounder projectile shape, will generate more fragments and will disperse those fragments in a more effective, more evenly distributed pattern.

The only advantage the M230 has is that it has a higher muzzle velocity, meaning that it is more accurate when fired at point targets over 1,000 meters away. However, the M230 is still a low-velocity gun; it does not generate nearly the muzzle velocity required to use kinetic energy as a primary means of target penetration or destruction- that's why it's anti-armor rounds rely on HEAT shaped charge warheads.

The M230 is just not high-velocity enough to perform the way the M242 Bushmaster or 2A72 cannons do. Don't be fooled: the M230 is not really an automatic cannon, it is a (very) high-pressure automatic grenade launcher. In that context, the velocity at which the projectile arrives to the target is fairly immaterial; what matters is how good the explosive payload on board the projectile.

PrivateSnafu28 Sep 2018 9:30 a.m. PST

Asymmetric warfare and insurgencies of the future would seem to me to rely more importantly on how much concrete a weapon can blast through versus steel.

Steve Wilcox28 Sep 2018 10:35 a.m. PST

The real killer is the increase in ammo weight. 30x113 rounds are heavy, roughly 1lb each (Armaco quotes 422grams per round). A case is 60 rounds, so probably weighs 70lbs once you count the links and the can.
Not disagreeing with your point about the weight in general, as a case would still be heavy, but I get the impression from the article that they'd be using HEDP, which at least in the ones General Dynamics makes, are somewhat lighter at 340 grams per round:
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP28 Sep 2018 12:10 p.m. PST

Thanks!.

Amicalement
Armand

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