Works 11 has been active on the market for 11 years and company provides products mainly for special forces and specialized uniformed services. Within the Nowa Dęba range, the company organized, together with its partners, a demonstration of a number of products it offers. The event lasted a couple of days. Milkor M32A1 and Nexter P20 cannon were among the presented products.
Works 11, by constantly enriching its offer. The company also makes a continuous effort to present the equipment’s capabilities in collaboration with the manufacturers, reaching the widest audience possible, in the military or in the specialized uniformed services. Meeting at the Nowa Dęba training range constituted one of the opportunities to get acquainted with a couple of the latest products in practical use. Not only were the participants allowed to get to know the equipment, as they also had a chance of testing it themselves.
Field Testing in Nowa Dęba
The Katowice-based Works 11 company remains the sole dealer of the Dillon Aero 7.62 mm Gatling guns in Poland. The latest M134D-HHB system was thus being showcased during the event. The weapon has a rate of fire of 3000 RPM, which translates into 50 rounds per minute. On average, up to 30 000 shots were fired without any malfunctions. Hence, the theoretical rate of fire has been increased up by 35 to 50%, and practical rate of fire has been increased 3 to 5 times, in comparison with conventional designs.
The design itself does not create recoil when shooting, which means that the rounds shot form tighter groups. The system features a power-efficient drive allowing to diminish the potential usage problems in case of set ups based on a variety of platforms. The empty cases, together with belt segments, are ejected via a single pipe.
In case of this design, some of its elements have been created out of titanium, it is thus lighter and more durable in comparison with the formerly utilized steel design. Moreover, heavy barrel has been used, with a greater heat capacity, which significantly extends the weapon’s lifetime.
In Nowa Dęba the test firing was conducted with the use of special-purpose rounds manufactured by the ZM Mesko company (7.62x51 DA165), with rapid ignition and fast-burning powder. It shall also be noted that the higher rate of fire, in comparison with its single barrel counterparts, also forms a requirement to carry larger quantities of ammunition for the system. This also increases its weight. Thus, the ammunition is provided in containers housing 1500 rounds each.
Works 11 also offers a universal MMC-R rotatable gun platform which is a derrivate of the MMC model tailored to mount heavy machine guns, machine guns, automatic grenade launchers and motorized guns. Platt MR550 is another gun station with the minigun shield embedded. It also comes in a variant tailored for being used in case of the E725/H225M, AS332/532 helicopter platforms. Dillon Aero also developed a gun pod with 3000 7.62x51 mm rounds inside, housing the M134D system.
Two M3D .50-cal. machine guns were yet another type of the showcased armament, delivered by the US Ordnance company, mounted on a double-coupling station, with left-side feeding system. Utilizing two machine guns enhances the firepower available in case of the special operations forces vehicles, ensuring local advantage over the potential adversary. At the same time, the personnel required to carry out a single task may remain quantitatively the same (carrying extra heavy machine gun).
M3D is a lighter derivate of the M2HB gun, also being more reliable and simpler to use. It shoots from a closed bolt and is short-recoil operated. The ability to change the feeding side allows for using a great variety of mounting options. The gun features a replaceable barrel with stellite inserts and chromed bore, and a flash suppressor.
The gun, during the demonstration, was using the new hybrid .50-cal ammunition: MK323 MOD 0. Not only are the rounds 30% lighter than the ones with fully brass cases, but they also transmit less heat to the barrel.
The idea to develop such ammunition was born as a result of requirements issued by and collaboration established with the US Marine Corps. The hybrid casing is made out of metal and composites may be used in case of virtually any weapon available in .50-cal. Standard 1200 rounds load is 36 kilograms lighter, in comparison with conventional ammo. Further weight savings were created by utilizing plastic ammunition belt, with a single nexus weighing 3 grams, in comparison with 15 grams weight in case of the steel sections.
This type of ammunition also enhances the weapon’s operational safety, as after firing 400 rounds no threat emerges of self-firing, should another round be introduced into the chamber. So far the ammunition has been available with M33 FMJ, M17 tracer round, M8 armour-piercing incendiary round, M20 armour-piercing-incendiary tracer round (API-T) and MK257 night tracer round. Meanwhile, multi-purpose rounds are available in MK211 AP/HE/I, MK300 ballistic daytime tracer and NM231 AP/HE/I/DT variants. Currently works are in progress, the goal of which is to develop 7.62x51 mm hybrid ammunition.
Milkor Multiple Grenade Launcher – Approval for Domestic Manufacturing in Poland
Modified 40 mm Milkor M32A1/MGL-AV140 multiple grenade launcher was a product which was extensively presented in Nowa Dęba. The system, besides being used by the USMC, is also operated by several other countries. It is the most common MGL-class system in the world. The weapon is characterized by 100% interchangeability of parts which simplifies the spare parts supply chain and enhances the usability in conflict scenarios.
The operator using such launcher may empty the magazine in 3 seconds and cover an area of 20×60 metres with rounds fired straight to the front of him. The area that may be covered with fire is almost 1200 square metres.
The launcher may be used with both the 40x46 mm SR low velocity grenades (76÷82 m/s – 40 LV), with a length of 140 mm, as well as the medium velocity 40x51 mm SR grenades (up to 125 m/s – medium velocity – 40 MV). The former ammunition has a range of 350÷400 metres (125 metres against single-point targets), with the latter type being effective at distances of 600÷800 metres (250 metres against single point-targets; it is said that some solutions are effective at ranges of up to 1000 metres, nonetheless the effect on target is dubious in this case).
Not only do the MV grenades have a longer range, as the round trajectory is more flat, which also translates into insignificantly stronger recoil. Both types of ammunition may be used interchangeably, which has been demonstrated during the show.
MGL-LTL (non-lethal rounds launcher), MGL-AV140 multiple grenade launcher and MFGL hydra automatic magazine-fed grenade launcher are also included within the offer of the company which is complemented by sights - AV-MRDS reflector sight or M2A1 sight.
The LV ammunition is being manufactured in Poland by the ZM Dezamet company. The Polish Armed Forces use, primarily, the NGO-NI fragmentation rounds. In the meantime, works are in progress with a purpose to initiate manufacturing of the MV ammunition. The participants had a chance to observe firing of the Dezamet S.A. rounds, without any problems with flawless post-shooting case extractions. This may also be a proof that the Dezamet’s ammunition is qualitatively equivalent to the best products on the market, delivered by the foreign manufacturers. 40x47SR round had been developed in Poland earlier for the wz. 47 Pallad underslung grenade launcher - with ballistic profile being equivalent to LV grenades. Nonetheless the aforesaid grenade is not interchangeable with the new rounds.
Numerous countries are also being increasingly more interested in a system that would act as a support weapon, allowing the user to utilize a variety of rounds (HE, smoke, illumination, non-lethal etc.). Weapon as such should also be usable at a distance corresponding with a range of a standard infantry assault rifle. Its design should remain very light and compact, so that individual soldier could use it, also carrying a proper quantity of ammunition with him.
Not only are the MGL-class systems used by the USMC, as special operations forces or other specialist units also utilize multiple-grenade launchers. The recent decision to introduce 200 similar RGP-40 launchers, manufactured by ZM Tarnów, into the inventory of the Polish Army forces the commanders to define the rules for operational use of such systems, and create training basics for the soldiers who would be using such weapons.
It shall be noted that having an ability to rapidly fire six grenades is not a must, and thus in case of the land forces it is often sufficient to use single-shot under-barrel grenade launchers. In case of the special operations forces or recon units, 30-40 seconds of break required to load another round may be of critical importance. System selection flexibility, with regards to the specific task, does not limit the ability to fire the weapon by a single operator. This does not happen to the extent that may be noted in case of an individual infantry soldier using a MGL and carrying with 12 to 18 rounds.
FN Herstal FN FCU fire control unit was one of the accessories for the launcher presented during the event, in the latest Mk3 variant.
40 mm grenade launchers utilizing a variety of ammunition types – 40LV/40MV – are a reliable and effective weapon, nonetheless probability of firing the first shot accurately remains low, even in case of highly experienced operators. Usually the launcher or ammunition design do not pose a problem. Iron sights used in case of such weapon - do. Thus there is a need for the shooter to set the sights properly and adjust his firing solution, taking into account distance, type of ammunition, elevation, temperature, windage, or the Magnus effect. In stressful battlefield conditions this may turn out to be quite difficult.
To make it easier, FN FCU unit has been developed allowing for automatic target lock-on. The device ensures quick and accurate hits at night and during the day, also enhancing the battlefield effectiveness of the weapon. The system itself is easy to use, light and compact (550 grams, 123×74×96 mm dimensions) and weather resistant (IP68). There is also an option to upload new ballistic characteristics within the system.
The sight features a miniaturized ballistic computer with a laser rangefinder and inclinometer. The system calculates the round trajectory that is then transposed onto the target grid of the sight. FCU sight is available with IR-visible and IR-invisible laser sight (635 nm, 1/3B class and 850 nm, 1/3B class) respectively and a laser range-finder, with a range of more than 1500 metres. The sight may also be used with numerous types of firearms too.
Nexter’s Light Cannon for the Special Forces
P20 was the most impressive system tested on the range, weighing 167 kilograms. The said system is designed for vehicular use and for use on small special-purpose vessels. The system fuses a dedicated 88 kg mount with a light 20 mm 20M621 cannon. It is being offered by the French Nexter company. As of now, 2000 such cannons were delivered for 25 countries.
The system features an electronic control panel, allowing the operator to use five settings: safe, single shots, automatic, burst and closed bolt single shot (sniper shot function). The gun station may feature fixed or attachable ammunition box - lightweight variant weighs 119 kilograms. The cannon may fire 16000 rounds, barrell’s lifetime has been defined as 8000 rounds, while the P20 system may withstand up to 40000 shots.
The 20M621 low-recoil cannon has a rate of fire of 750 rounds per minute (low rate of fire setting of up to 300 rounds per minute). It is characterized by the effective range of 2000 metres – for example 14.5 mm KPV system has a range of 1200-1600 metres, while .50-cal. heavy machine guns remain effective at distances of up to 1200 metres. The cannon uses the standard 20x102 mm NATO, M50 or PGU rounds, including the ammunition used in case of the M61A1 Vulcan gun installed onboard the F-16C/D fighter aircraft.
Automatic operation takes place with open bolt, with an option of firing single rounds in a closed bolt setting, which is much more accurate. Design-wise it is a simple and easy to use system. Not only has it been designed for vehicular use, as it may also be utilized on helicopters or naval vessels.
The maximum recoil for the M621 cannon is defined as 4500 N, with 3500 N for single shots. In case of automatic fire the recoil equals around 2500 N - which is a value equivalent to the .50-cal. M2HB machine gun.
Here it shall also be stressed that the automatic cannon did not fully replace the .50-cal. machine guns. This is caused mainly by their weight, dimensions and recoil. 20x102 M50 round weighs around 250 grams, with the .50 BMG round weighing around 120 grams.
However, 20 mm cannon with ammunition quantity identical to the .50-cal. machine gun weighs twice as much. Its size and recoil make it difficult to install it on any vehicle (including logistical or support platforms). Whereas the profile and objectives defined for close support weapons virtually eliminates the ballistic advantages a small calibre cannon may have over the heavy .50-cal. machine gun.
The cannons offer more firepower, as the ammunition contains additional explosives. In case of the MR221 (HE-incendiary ammunition with a fuse) round used by the P20 cannon, the range is greater than in case of the .50-cal. MP ammunition, and effect on target is more significant than in case of the 14.5 mm MDZ fragmentation-incendiary round.
Participants of the event organized in Nowa Dęba could have witnessed the effectiveness and firepower of the system, experiencing the effect of hitting cars with the aforesaid ammunition at ranges from 200 to 1000 metres.