Russian Army is currently involved in a test programme, related to introduction of the new 30 mm ammunition, equipped with the plastic driving bands. Introduction of this type of ammunition may significantly improve the burst fire accuracy and lifetime of the barrels, which is a relevant problem in case of the weapons characterized by a high rate of fire. 30 mm cannons are being used by most of the Russian attack helicopters, infantry fighting vehicles and anti-aircraft artillery.
NPO “Pribor”, facility which is the main manufacturer of the 23 and 30 mm ammunition for the Russian Armed Forces, announced that new plastic driving bands for the 30 mm ammunition have been developed. The driving band is the element of the projectile which introduces the spinning motion, as the round is propelled down the barrel. Secondly, it constitutes an additional sealing element between the barrel and the projectile. Traditionally, the driving bands are usually made out of copper. As a result of friction, the rifling of the barrel is exposed to mechanical wear, and additional heat is generated as well.
This is a problem which is particularly pronounced in case of the weaponry with a fast rate of fire, such as the 30 mm cannons, in case of which rate of fire exceeds 500 rounds per minute. This calibre is being utilized by numerous Russian AAA systems – both land-based, as well as maritime. The ammunition of this type is also used by combat aircraft, attack helicopters (including Mi-28 and Ka-52) and infantry fighting vehicles.
Using the solution which reduces the thermal load imposed on the barrels, when the weapon fires long bursts of shots, prolongs the barrel lifetime. Not only is the solution above cost-effective, but it also has a beneficial impact on accuracy and weapon’s reliability.
New 30 mm ammunition features specially designed plastic driving bands which enhance the gas-tightness of the barrel, and which, at the same time, reduce friction, especially in comparison with the previously used bands, made out of soft alloys. Precision of the band is comparable with the older solution. Until the end of the year, this type of ammunition is going to go through the state-test programme in the Army, and be certified. The new rounds are going to be usable with the 2A42, 2A72 and 2A38 cannons, all of which are used by the Russian Land Forces.
In the future, the new ammunition is also going to be received by the Navy and by the Air Force. 30 mm cannons constitute the armament of the latest Russian PAK-FA fighters, and BMD-4M, Kurganets and Armata land platforms.