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AC-130J combat ready-sort of

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posted on Jan, 25 2018 @ 11:15 AM
The Air Force announced that the new AC-130J is ready for combat as soon as they have enough crews to fly them, but an article on The Drive raises some interesting questions about them. The report from the IOT&E brings up several shortfalls in the whole bit of them being gunships.

The biggest issue is the Orbital ATK 30mm. At full rate fire (200 rounds per minute), the vibration is so bad the gun becomes inaccurate and activates a safety mechanism that stops firing until the gun recenters itself. In addition, the gun required multiple recalibrations in flight tests last year. Unlike on the U model however, calibration is not an easy process on the J. When gunners tried to recalibrate the gun, it changed the position of the mount, requiring realignment and recalibration of the weapon as a single unit.

In addition, the 105mm, which was not going to be put on to begin with, works fine, except for the ammunition rack. Vibration from the aircraft causes the shell to work loose from the casing while the rounds are stored in the rack. This can lead to inaccuracies when firing.

posted on Jan, 25 2018 @ 07:00 PM
Aircraft design 101..Make it stronger then make it lighter...
Rubber insulators,shock absorbers,dampeners,load spreaders ring a bell?
Plus they run a 30mm in the Apache..
edit on 25-1-2018 by Blackfinger because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 25 2018 @ 07:35 PM
a reply to: Blackfinger

They also run one on the U. Doesn't mean they're all the same though.

posted on Jan, 25 2018 @ 10:26 PM
I am no expert by any stretch but that 30mm doesn't seem to have any recoil mechanism built in but seems to be part of its installation to the aircraft.

Some sort of barrel suppression on the gun and then something on the connection to the aircraft would be better.

Is this a new gun? It says the Navy have it on the Zumwalt class?

posted on Jan, 25 2018 @ 10:33 PM
a reply to: Forensick

It's new to the AC-130. They replaced the 40mm on the U model with it, but the turret is different than on the J.

posted on Jan, 26 2018 @ 07:35 AM
For the life of me I cant understand why somebody, Bofors or others haven't come up with a modern 40mm replacement for the L60-L70. Its basically a perfect calibre, not to big, not to little. A modern adjustable fire rate 40mm with latest technology warheads and fusing would be devastating against both soft and hard targets, without being to big. It honestly puzzles me why SAAB haven't pushed for a new gen model.

posted on Jan, 31 2018 @ 09:12 AM
a reply to: thebozeian

The Brit 40mm CTAS is kinda close.

The early 50mm EAPS was also.

L60 and L70 bofors rounds are really unacceptably large too...

As an example, take a look at the ready and total ammo counts for cv9040's.

Also as zaphod says there are pretty major variations in the different 30's... For example 30x103 (the Apache chain gun they keep trying to sell as a gun for JLTV) is substantially less powerful and recoil intensive than 30x173 (warthog gun that's also going in the 30mm armed strykers they've started delivering to euro stationed units)

There's kinda some interesting things going on in this size of gun technology right now, several of which got REALLY QUIET fairly recently.

Beyond that though there's also the plain out fact that for some reason we're not building anywhere close to the best cannon we could be... This part I genuinely do not understand and 30x103 chain guns make me extremely angry for how unbelievably pathetic, heavy, slow firing, expensive, maintenance intensive, and recoil intensive they are as well as the relatively sophisticated manufacturing resources producing them takes!

posted on Jan, 31 2018 @ 06:27 PM
Its a wonder they didnt go for the 25mm Bushmaster..I know less hitting power but is a suprizingly good platform in the Bradley.

posted on Feb, 1 2018 @ 06:23 AM
a reply to: roguetechie
Oh do tell more. What kind of things are going on that went really quiet recently? Could not a modern compact 40mm round and gun system be also developed that would sit below 57mm and above all the 25/30mm rounds?

And beyond that what do you mean that we aren't anywhere close to building a much better cannon? I'm genuinely interested in what you think is possible as I believe you are right.

edit on 1-2-2018 by thebozeian because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 1 2018 @ 07:32 PM
a reply to: thebozeian

So, yeah a 40 or oh idk (heh) a 45 on up to even a 76mm round could be developed these days that's substantially better than an old school 57 for sure these days!

I know you stopped at 40 but there's multiple reasons I went higher than that (as well as very specific reasons why I threw out those 45 & 76 numbers)

I'll try and throw together a qd answer set to the questions you've asked even though you've inadvertently covered a massive amount of ground.

So first off, one of the gun technologies that have went kinda pretty quiet other than some infographics in dtic presentations is RAVEN gun technology which is basically an extremely souped up fully automatic very high velocity possibly very high fire rate recoilless rifle offshoot. One would think that this wouldn't have aviation applications if you weren't one of the people who knows that multishot recoilless rifles and even a 30mm recoilless autocannon have just about wound up on aircraft before (Piper pa-48 enforcer test rigs, LARA competitors, and the rheinmetal rmk-30 autocannon which was supposed to go on West German attack helos and Wiesel mini AFV's)

What's interesting too though is where the test guns for both this and Cased Telescoped ammo cannon research are coming from and how much both technologies dovetail together remarkably well. These test guns are being pulled out and modified from old existing AAI and Ares CT test guns which were made in a lot of calibers and designs and in the case of their 76mm autocannon especially but really across the board, the initial performance is still classified. though it's been strongly suggested that the 76mm CT autocannon could lay down just as much hate and discontent as the 105mm smooth bore in the abrams at the time. The problem with the CT and semi CT weapons is they were all barrel burning way overpowered monsters to the point that as of 1996 CT weapons research was basically refunded and abandoned even though it was the requirements at the time that made them this way.

The big deal with RAVEN btw that I alluded to above but didn't outright say is that they've basically figured out a cheat to the recoilless thing which will allow fast cycle times, MASSIVELY reduced recoils (think abrams class gun on 8 ton platforms without flippy Smashy gi brain injuring consequences, sounds like something they're interested in right now right?), and finally 80%+ of the velocity to propellant load ratio of a standard closed breech gun! Traditional recoilless rifles are hilariously inefficient requiring massive propellant charges to get really mediocre velocity. These guns....weeelll combine a few little things etc and they could do some really neat stuff at some pretty freakishly low system and ammunition weights!

Plus, like I said, they and CT have a bunch in common. So yeah, from these perspectives alone we could and should and hopefully will have better cannons really soon.

Now though onto my other comment about the various versions of the 30mm Hughes chain guns in 30x103. What if I told you that we had something better, lighter, cheaper, simpler, lower recoiling, and with 250% the fire rate of rounds that were actually more powerful on a one for one basis?

We did.

You could literally drop this system in on any mount rated for a .50 m2 browning no less with it weighing less than 150 pounds and being able to fire at 500 rpm without stressing the mount more than an m2 firing at around the same rpm!

It was called the Colt CR26. It fired a 26.5mm shell. It was built using standard small arms production techniques and technology and all steel, meaning it didn't get it's lightness like the $20,000+ each titanium m240 L (hey good news they're going to do this same trick to m2 Browning's too which will likely get the weight ALMOST down to where the dual feed .50 caliber but hot swappable to up to 20mm Vulcan in under 15 minutes m2 replacement we could have had would've weighed! That gun btw would've cost literally less than 20% of what an all steel m2 browning cost at the time!)

Now I bring in cost here because these 30mm chain guns run well over $100k a pop before feed system and mount, whereas the cr-26 would have been more in line with the prices of m2's (at worst double)

We can definitely do better though, because we already have... That's why I'm so confident!

P.s. Even if CT and CT adjacent ammunition technologies still want to eat the throats etc out of their barrels we're also closing in on being able to recondition the damaged insides of the barrels and chambers back to factory new condition! This along with a few other things, as well as new threats/the reemerging of old ones should be making for an exciting time in gun technology shortly as we see several decades worth of shelved advances suddenly become worth pursuing.

posted on Feb, 1 2018 @ 07:33 PM
a reply to: Blackfinger

It's all about the super shot baby!

Which is basically CT but don't tell anyone we told you!!

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