ATK’s modified variant of its Mk44 BushmasterÂ® Automatic Cannon was recently type classified as the GAU-23 by the U.S. Air Force for integration on AC-130W gunships.
A rapid prototyping effort quickly provided the USAF with cannons for operational use.
ATK’s Mk44 BushmasterÂ® Automatic Cannon has long been the medium-caliber weapon of choice for the world’s ground combat vehicles and naval weapon stations. This most recent type classification now establishes the cannon as an airborne weapon for gunship platforms.
“Due to its versatility and ease of modification and optimization, the GAU-23 is uniquely positioned as a proven solution for aircraft to perform armed overwatch missions,” said ATK Defense President, Mike Kahn. “Combined with our 30mm PGU-46/B ammunition, the GAU-23 cannon provides unequaled range and accuracy for integration on airborne platforms for any number of allied countries. This is just one example of our affordable and innovative technologies and services that provide enhanced solutions and capabilities to our customers worldwide.”
In June 2011, the U.S. Air Force announced the conversion of 12 of its Special Operations Command MC-130W Combat Spear aircraft to the Dragon Spear configuration. ATK also developed and produces the 30mm PGU-46/B High Explosive Incendiary ammunition used on this gun system.
In February 2012, ATK expanded its aviation weapons solution through the development of a Roll-On/Roll-Off pallet and weapons mount that integrates with the GAU-23 cannon. The resulting weapons package will allow medium lift platforms the ability to install the system in less than four hours without airframe modification.