BAE Systems Installs Defensive Weapon System on CV-22 Osprey for Testing
BAE Systems has now installed a remotely operated "defensive weapon system" - aboard a U.S. Air Force CV-22 Osprey . (see post Wednesday, November 28, 2007 for more details V-22 Osprey / Albatross now deployed in Iraq - will have a gun real soon now
Having spent over a decade and many squillions (US$100 Mn each) without any form of defence, you might think that fitting such a weapon AFTER deployment in the battlefield was a bit arse uppards...but...
Using a GAU-2B 7.62 mm mini-gun mounted to the belly of the aircraft, the weapon is designed to provide 360 degrees of accurate, sustained suppressive fire throughout the CV-22’s flight envelope.
The weapon is based on BAE Systems’ Remote Guardian System™, a company-funded effort to develop a common airborne defensive capability for the V-22 and other special-mission rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft. BAE Systems did not initially have access to aircraft drawings or solid models, relying in part on its knowledge of the CV-22 as provider of the platform’s flight control system. Which, considering the size of the pork barrel (US$15 Bn.) to build this flying turkey in all 72 States of the Union was a bit arse uppards... but ...
The hardware installation and ensuing fit-check, completed in January, has quickly followed BAE's recent selection to develop an interim all-quadrant defensive weapon system for the Osprey.
The U. S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), which awarded the contract to integrate and test the weapon mission kit on the CV-22, is currently performing ground testing, with flight testing to follow. SOCOM oversaw the successful installation of the system hardware aboard the aircraft in January at Hurlburt Field, Florida.
BAE Systems has been developing the Remote Guardian(TM) System (RGS), a 2 part sensor / gun , for more than two years and unveiled the system in October 2007 at the Modern Day Marine military exposition in Quantico, Virginia. It was only in January that the company announced its selection by SOCOM to provide the defensive weapon solution for their CV-22 aircraft.
Bit of History
The primary weapon for the Bell UH-1 Huey series in Vietnam was the 7.62 mm M60 machine gun, (effectively the same gun but without automated ammunition feed) although 70 mm rocket pods were skid-mounted on some aircraft. The M60 was effective to around 700 metres range, but US Army helicopters were soon outgunned by the Vietcong insurgents, who in 1963 introduced the 12.7mm Degtyarev-Shpagin DShKM38/46 Calibre, mm 12.7 x 109 (.50) Muzzle velocity, m/s 850 600 rounds per minute weight 34 kg Largo, 16 metres X 1 metre. This was later augmented by the 14.5 mm KPV-14.5 (see pics here) , at that time quite possibly the most powerful machine gun in the world.