Daily Archives: July 13, 2016

ZBL-09 / VN-1 IFV

The new Chinese ZBL-09 Snow Leopard armored personnel carrier was developed by NORINCO. It is a new family of 8×8 armored vehicles. Development commenced in the 1990s. This vehicle was heavily influenced by both Western and Russian armored personnel carriers. This APC was first seen in 2006 undergoing road tests. It was first publicly revealed in 2009. It is a successor to the whole host of ageing Chinese armored vehicles. It might also replace the Type 92 APC and Type 92 IFV. Currently it is being produced in large numbers for the Chinese Army. The ZBL-09 is also being proposed for the export customers as the VN-1. It has been exported to Venezuela and possibly some other countries.

Type 92/WZ551


The design looks similar to the VAB but is consistantly heavier (basic configuration of the VAB is 4×4), and larger. The hull is made of welded steel RHA, protected against 12.7 mm cal. rounds, with an overall combat weight of 15.3t, divided in three sections (front driver compartment, middle left engine compartment, rear troop compartment). The hull is NBC-proof, with an automatic fire suppression system and is fully amphibious, thanks to two rear propellers. A nose-mounted trim vane can be erected when swimming. The crew of three comprise the driver, commander and gunner, and 9 infantrymen are seated at the rear.


Six firing ports are available to the infantry on each side. There are large windscreens with armoured shutters at the front, a right-rear door, and four roof hatches (front and rear). The powerplant is of German origin, the BF8L413F 4-stroke, 8-cylinder, turbo-charged, air-cooled diesel giving 235kW (320hp) at 2,500rpm. It is connected to a 5fwd/1rvs 5S-111GPA mechanical (automatic?) gearbox with assisted steering. All wheels have independant coil spring suspensions, and hydraulic disc brakes. There is a central inflation system, and tyres are of the run-flat type (capable of 30 kph even if all are damaged). Source tanks-encyclopedia.com


WZ551/Type92 APC specs

Dimensions 6.63 x 2.80 x 2,80 m
(21.7 x 9.1 x 9.1 fts)
Total weight, battle ready : 12.5 to 14.9 tonnes fully loaded
Crew 3+9 (Commander, Gunner, Driver, 9 troops)
Armament 25 mm AC QF, 400 rounds (IFV) + 7.62 mm coax
or 12,7 mm HMG 1500 rds (APC) + 7.62 mm coax. See notes.
Armour Overall 12.7 mm ballistic protection (0.5 in).
Propulsion Deutz TD 8 cyl. 320 hp
Top speed 85 km/h (53 mph)
Range 600 to 800 km (500 miles)
Suspension Independent 4×4 or 6×6 WD
Total production Unknown – 1,000 to 2,200 range

WZ551/Type92 Data tanks-encyclopedia.com

VN-1 export model


VN-1  Amphibious Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicle of Venezuelan Marines Corps – Image @venemil.net

The VN1 are part of a package acquired from Chinese company North Industries Corporation (Norinco) in 2012 for $500 million. The purchase included other amphibian armoreds, such as infantry fighting vehicles VN18 (ZBD-05) and light tanks VN16 (ZTD-05).

dff3n6VN-1  Amphibious Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicle of Venezuelan Marines Corps – Image: venemil.netml2m36VN-1  Amphibious Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicle of Venezuelan Marines Corps – Image: venemil.netkdnbyhVN-1 extereior @interdefensa.argentinaforo.net24q38quVN-1 extereior @interdefensa.argentinaforo.netVenezuela-VN-1-8x8-armoured-vehicle-Chinese-ZBL-09-8ek4l5VN-1 intereior @interdefensa.argentinaforo.net13zri1xVN-1 intereior @interdefensa.argentinaforo.netjfks9lVN-1 intereior @interdefensa.argentinaforo.net

Venezuela also bought and received in 2014 SR-5 122/220mm Multiple Rocket Launcher Systems (MRLS), SM-4 81mm self-propelled mortars, VN-4 light Armored Personnel Carrier (APC), communications systems, ammunition and logistical supplies and campaign. In 2015, Venezuela should begin to receive Z-9C ASWhelicopters. Source armyrecognition.com

The ZBL-09 was developed from a 6×6 armored personnel carrier, which was revealed in 2006. This vehicle had advanced modular design. Its construction consisted of 6 modules, including engine module, transmission, control, suspension, hull and weapon station module. It was aimed at the export customers, but received no production orders. Development of the 8×8 which became the ZBL-09 followed immediately.



Superficially, the ZBD 09 looked like Mowag’s (now BAE systems) Pirahna III, with the same broken front beak, added armour plates, same location of the main engine (right hand side), driver (left), commander and gunner (center), and same rear troop compartment arrangement with doors and two pistol ports per side. The inspiration is even more pronounced with the previous Type 07P 8×8 105mm earlier export vehicle which strongly recalls the Mowag Spy (it was sold to the Tanzania and Cameroon military). The driver’s hatch (folding left) however has an interesting arrangement with a large frontal window and two smaller side ones, and no periscopes contrary to the commander’s hatch.

The hull is all-welded made in high-resistant steel RHA, providing full protection against 12.7mm API (armour-piercing incendiary) rounds on the frontal arc at 100m, and 7.62mm light rounds on the sides, roof and rear and against artillery shell splinters. In addition modular add-on armour panels seems to be generic on production vehicles, procuring protection against 25 mm API rounds (frontally, 1,000m) and 12.7mm API (sides, 100m). Source tanks-encyclopedia.com

screenshotAtUploadCC_1517301745054ZBL 09 IFV – Image: tarotinroZBL-09
ZBL 09 APC – Image: tanks-encyclopedia.com

Armor of the Snow Leopard provides all-round protection against 7.62-mm armor-piercing rounds. Front arc withstands 12.7-mm armor-piercing rounds. Protection can be enhanced with add-on modular composite ceramic armor. Chinese sources claim, that maximum level of all-round protection with add-on armor is against 12.7-mm armor-piercing rounds. Front arc withstands 25-mm armor-piercing projectiles. With add-on armor fitted the ZBL-09 can be considered as a wheeled IFV. It is speculated that vehicle utilizes design elements and technologies protecting occupants from landmines and IED blasts. Vehicle is also likely to have NBC protection and automatic fire suppression systems.

1626185597_e5da8538fddab51ff04fd8e97046292bImage @club.mil.news.sina.com.cn

Most numerous version of this new Chinese APC is armed with a turret-mounted 30-mm cannon and coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun. The 30-mm cannon is similar to a Soviet 2A72, which is used on a number of Soviet/Russian armored vehicles and attack helicopters. The Snow Leopard can be also fitted with two rails for HJ-73 anti-tank missiles. This missile is out-dated comparing with modern Western designs, however it still poses threat to armored vehicles. Other turrets and weapon options are also available. Vehicle is probably fitted with electronic battlefield management system.

30mm 2A72 automatic cannon

Russian 30mm 2A72 automatic cannon

Minimum gas contamination of the manned compartment

Delayed unlocking due to single-barrel long recoil action and forward case ejection provides for minimum gas contamination of the manned compartment.



Caliber ………………………………………. 30 mm
Rate of fire …………………………………. 350-400 rds./min
Muzzle velocity ……………………………. 960 m/s
weapon ……………………………………. 84 kg
barrel ……………………………………….. 36 kg
round ……………………………………….. 0.858 kg
projectile (APT) ………………………… 0.4 kg

2A72 automatic cannon data kbptula.ru


AMMUNITION 30mm x 165 ANTI-AIRCRAFT GUN 30mm 2A72, 2A42 AND 2A38M


This family of ammunition was designed within new generation medium-calibre cannon-based weapon systems used in IFVs/APCs, self-propelled AD systems, as well as in attack helicopters.
2A42 cannon is a part of armament system of Russian BMP-2, BMD-3 IFVs and Ka-50 and Mi-28 attack helicopters.
2A72 cannon is a part of armament system of Russian highly advanced BMP-3 IFV, as well as a part of armament system of the KLIVER turret, designed for mounting on the old-design IFVs and APCs.
2A38 cannon is a part of armament system of self propelled, advanced AD gun/missile weapon systems 2S6/2S6M TUNGUSKA and PANTSYR-S1.

These weapon/ammunition systems are capable of engaging the following targets:

Low-flying aerial targets (fixed and rotary wing aircraft, UAV’s, cruise missiles, stand-off weapons)
Lightly armoured targets (APC’s, IFV’s)
Wide range of ground targets – field fortifications, dismounted infantry etc.
Wide range of targets in urban warfare

3_2Basic features:

Advanced propellant charge design, providing for high ballistic performances of the projectile, low weight and small dimensions of the cartridge case, as well as for small cannon dimensions and weight and high weapon system ammunition capacity.
Highly reliable mechanical gun primer
Advanced steel cartridge case manufacturing technology, providing for high mechanical stress resistance and extremely high rate of fire weapon capabilities
Modern HE projectile design, providing extremely high interior and exterior ballistic performance and terminal efficiency against wide range of aerial and ground targets
Highly effective explosive charge ( RDX or RDX / Al mixture )
Effective range against aerial targets at more than 3000 m
Effective range against ground targets at more than 4000 m
Advanced impact fuzes with highly reliable self-destruction device
Highly reliable tracers with long burning time, enabling visual control of projectile’s flight
High flexibility of tactical use
Target practice/target practice with tracer rounds for training purposes

30mm ammunition data yugoimport.com


HJ-73 anti-tank missile

9m14.h16K11 Malyutka – Image: anaga.ru

The 9K11 Malyutka is an anti-tank missile system of Soviet origin. It was developed in the early 1960’s as a man portable and more capable follow up for the 3M6 Shmel (AT-1 Snapper). In the West it is known under the NATO reporting nameAT-3 Sagger. Although considered obsolete, it remains in widespread use while it is cheap and simple to use compared to modern anti-tank guided weapons.

The Malyutka is a wire guided missile with a relatively simple design. The HEAT warhead is located in the front and has an impact fuze. Most of the body consists of the solid propellant rocket motor. Two exhaust nozzles are fitted since the wire and control section for the four foldable wings are located at the end. The original models used MCLOS guidance and later models switched to the more effective SACLOS guidance. These were only used on vehicles and helicopters. The manpack control box consists of a joystick and periscope.


The Malyutka is effective against most early Cold War era tanks. The latest versions have a much improved performance, but cannot be considered top of the line. The minimum range of 500 meters results in a dead zone that must be covered with unguided rockets. The maximum range is 3 km. The MCLOS versions have shown a hit ratio of about 25 percent and the SACLOS version of over 60 percent.

The HJ-73 is a Chinese development of the Malyutka and was a direct copy of the 9M14M at first. The designation stands for Hong Jian 73 which translates to Red Arrow 73. It is used with MCLOS and SACLOS manpack launchers and various vehicles.

HJ-73: Original HJ-73 introduced in 1979. Direct copy of 9M14M with MCLOS guidance.
HJ-73B: SACLOS version of original HJ-73 using components developed for HJ-8. Has a selectable MCLOS mode for short range targets and use with MCLOS launch posts.
HJ-73C: SACLOS only version with extended nose probe for increased effectiveness against ERA.
HJ-73D: HJ-73C with small fins on nose probe.


Type Anti-tank missile
Diameter 0.12 m body, 0.39 m wingspan
Length 868 mm
Weight 11.3 kg
Guidance SACLOS, wire guided
Warhead HEAT warhead, penetration >500 mm RHA
Propulsion Single-stage solid propellant rocket motor
Speed 120 m/s
Range 0.5 km minimum, 3 km maximum
Engagement envelope

Missile data weaponsystems.net


It seems that this vehicle is fitted with digital battlefield management system, as well as positioning and navigation systems. It exchanges data between similar vehicles and command posts.

This ZBL-09 has a crew of three and capacity to carry 7 to 10 troops. Passengers enter and leave the vehicle through the rear doors. Some versions are fitted with power-operated ramps. In case of emergency troops leave the vehicle via roof hatches. There are some firing ports and associated vision devices provided for the troops.

Vehicle is powered by a Deutz BF6M1015C diesel engine, developing 440 hp. It is a German engine, produced in China under license. Engine compartment is located at the front of the hull. Vehicle is fitted with a central tyre inflation system for improved cross-country mobility. The new Chinese APC is fully amphibious. On water it is propelled by two waterjets.


Deutz BF6M1015C diesel engine

1388649709157 (1)

1) engine model: Deutz BF6M1015C
2) rated output: 273KW
3) rated speed: 2100 rpm
4) max torque/speed: 1800 N.m/1200 rpm
5) idling speed: 600+-50 rpm
6) bore*stoke: 132*145(mm)
7) displacement: 11.906 L
8) compression ratio: 16.5: 1
9) aspiration: turbocharger intercooler

Engine data engine-trade.com

A whole host of variants were developed. A number of them are in service with Chinese army. It seems that China operate these vehicles in rapid deployment units, similar to American Stryker Brigade combat teams. Each unit consists of various armored vehicles with different battlefield roles, based on the same platform. Other variants of the ZBL-09 are being offered for export. Also there is a number of unidentified variants.


ZSL-09 armored personnel carrier, armed with a 12.7-mm machine gun;

Infantry fighting vehicle, fitted with a smaller turret and 25-mm cannon;

ZBL09Chinese ZBL-09 with 25-mm cannon

Command vehicle, with the turret removed and raised superstructure over the troop compartment;

Reconnaissance vehicle;

Armored recovery vehicle, fitted with a crane;

1262240433_72450Chinese ZBL-09 variant – Image: china-defense.blogspot.com

ZTL-09 105-mm fire support vehicle;

PLL-09 122-mm self-propelled howitzer;

PLL09_122mm_howitzer_1Chinese ZBL-09 -122 mm self-propelled howitzer

155-mm self-propelled howitzer;

120-mm twin-barrel mortar system;

Self-propelled anti-aircraft vehicles;

ZBL-09 Self-Propelled 30mm & MANPADS Short Range Air Defense (SHORAD) pla plaaf army missile 30mm  (radar aesa  (1)Chinese ZBL-09 Self-Propelled Short Range Air Defense (SHORAD) @chinesemilitaryreview.blogspot.com

Armored bridgelayer;

Engineering vehicle, fitted with a dozer blade and excavator bucket;

ae24151cda2cChinese ZBL-09 Engineering vehicle

Assault breacher vehicle, fitted with mine ploughs and possibly demolition line charge;

Communication vehicle;

Armored cargo vehicle, fitted with a small crane. Its main role is to transport ammunition and other supplies to the frontline.

Entered service 2009 (?)
Crew 3 men
Personnel 7 – 10 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 15 ~ 20 t
Length ~ 8 m
Width ~ 3 m
Height (roof) ~ 2.1 m
Main gun 30-mm cannon
Machine guns 1 x 7.62-mm
Ammunition load
Main gun ?
ATGW 2 missiles
Machine guns ?
Engine Deutz BF6M1015C diesel
Engine power 440 hp
Maximum road speed 100 km/h
Amphibious speed on water 8 km/h
Range 800 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 40%
Vertical step 0.55 m
Trench 1.8 m
Fording Amphibious


Image: the-blueprints.com

Main material source military-today.com



Saab Eyes Canadian Fighter Aircraft Competition


July 12, 2016, 10:18:00 AM EDT By Dow Jones Business News

By Robert Wall

FARNBOROUGH, England–Saab AB (SAAB-B.SK) Chief Executive Hakan Buskhe Tuesday said the maker of Sweden’s Gripen combat jet would consider entering a potential competition in Canada to provide a new fighter if the process is deemed truly open.

Canada is mulling how to meet its needs for a future combat plane. The last time the country went through the process, Saab stayed on the sideline, assuming the competition was skewed to favoring the Lockheed Martin Corp. ( LMT ) F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Canada is a partner on the massive, U.S.-led F-35 development program.

“We will go for it” if Saab believes it is a fair fight, Mr. Buskhe said.

Other combat jet makers, including Boeing Co. ( BA ), also are targeting an export of planes to Canada. Lockheed Martin similarly remains in the running.

Mr. Buskhe said he remains hopeful to secure further sales of the newest version of the Swedish combat plane, called the Gripen E, before the first of the planes is delivered in 2019. Sweden and Brazil are the lead customers for the single-engine warplane.

The Saab boss said sales of the older version of Gripen also remain a possibility.

One of the potentially biggest target markets is India. The country has long sought to buy a new fighter. Mr. Buskhe said the company was finalizing industrial plans to meet Indian requirements for domestic production.

Separately, Mr. Buskhe said the company was on track to achieve a target of 10% profitability. That would be attained “in the next years,” he said, without giving a more precise timeframe.

The profitability target would be met without sacrificing research and development spending, he added. Saab’s profitability last year and this year has been hurt by heavy investments in its involvement with Boeing to develop a candidate plane for the U.S. Air Force T-X advanced trainer competition.

The two partners have been coy about detailing their development progress, wary about showing their hand to rivals. Mr. Buskhe said the aircraft and its associating training system are going “according to plan.” The Pentagon is expected to pick a winning supplier next year.



Related Canadian fighter post:

Lockheed Threatens Canada, Again: Will Cut 10k Jobs if Ottawa Discards F-35

The F-35s Fatal Flaw: It Might Need to Win a Dogfight (But Can’t)

FARNBOROUGH: F-35 faces tough fight for global sales

Canada talks to bidders to map out fighter jet competition

Fourth-generation Super Hornets just can’t do the job in the Arctic, retired U.S. Air Force general insists

Boeing has thrown in a sweetener for Canada to pick F-18E/F


Norway interested in 5-6 Boeing P-8 maritime spy planes: U.S. Navy


Mon Jul 11, 2016 4:04pm EDT

Norway has expressed interest in buying five to six Boeing Co (BA.N) P-8 maritime surveillance planes, a senior U.S. Navy official said on Monday.

Rear Admiral Dean Peters, program executive officer for anti-submarine warfare, assault and special missions programs, said the Navy had asked potential P-8 buyers to express their interest by next summer.

The P-8 is entering its last three years of production, so international partners would need to place orders relatively soon to get in on the program before production halts.

“People are showing their interest in the plane,” Peters told Reuters.

In addition to a 3 billion pound ($3.9 billion) order announced by Britain on Monday, Boeing is also building P-8 planes for Australia, and will deliver that country’s first plane in September.

Leanne Caret, president of Boeing Defense, Space & Security, said the order reflected strong and growing interest in the P-8A aircraft. Boeing had lowered the cost of the plane by 30 percent in recent years, and saw a potential market of 100 aircraft that needed to be replaced or modernized in coming years.

“We have a unique position to take advantage of the economies of scale that only Boeing can provide,” she told Reuters in an interview.

Peters said there was also growing interest in countries joining forces to train for, operate and maintain the planes, which could play a role if Norway decided to procure the planes.

“The synergies you get from operating the same equipment can’t be overestimated,” Peters said.

He said Norway, which is also buying the F-35 fighter jet, was keen to expand its military cooperation with the United States.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Mark Potter)

Original post reuters.com


Nobody interested in the Japanese P-1?

Related post:

U.K. Buys Boeing Patrol Planes, Attack Helicopters in More Than $6 Billion Deal

India clears acquisition of 4 U.S. surveillance, anti-submarine warfare aircraft

Poseidon-8A: Details635826721863767284-P-8-Poseidon-Boeing

LockMart explores Adaptable Weapons Kit for S70i Black Hawks


12 Jul, 16, Source: LockMart

Lockheed Martin is exploring options to bring its weapons integration expertise to bear on the European-built S-70 BLACK HAWK helicopters made by Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company. The goal is to produce an armed kit scalable to the requirements of customers that procure International BLACK HAWK aircraft direct from Lockheed Martin.

“Last year’s acquisition of Sikorsky by Lockheed Martin has widened the aperture of possibilities for arming the BLACK HAWK helicopter,” said Bill Gostic, vice president, Sikorsky Global Military Systems & Services. “Lockheed Martin brings integration expertise that will allow us to customize an armed configuration — for defensive or offensive operations — to the specific preferences of current and future BLACK HAWK customers, and with weapons of their choice.”

During the ongoing Farnborough International Airshow, Lockheed Martin is displaying outside its pavilion an armed BLACK HAWK aircraft manufactured at Sikorsky’s PZL Mielec factory in Poland, and with the cockpit section manufactured at Aero Vodochody in theCzech Republic. The display represents the types of weapons Lockheed Martin can integrate onto the medium-lift military utility platform that’s renowned for its multirole capabilities.

Armed external wings on either side of the displayed aircraft feature a total of four weapons stations, with launchers for a mix of Hellfire™ and DAGR™ air-to-ground missiles, a 19-shot Hydra-70 rocket pod, and an FN HERSTAL Belgium manufactured machine gun pod. For laser designating of a future weapons system, the aircraft’s cockpit chin features the INFIRNO™ sensor system.

Crew-served weapons inside the displayed aircraft include an FN HERSTAL 50-caliber (12.7mm) machine gun mounted to the cabin floor, and window-mounted 7.62-mm mini-guns. The mini-guns can also swing into a fixed forward firing position operated by the pilot.

Depending on the chosen weapons configuration, the cabin will seat troops for a combined armed assault, fire suppression and support mission. Alternatively, the cabin can store additional ammunition for the guns and rocket pods, and an internal 200 gallon auxiliary fuel tank system for extended range and endurance.



Related post:

Armed S-70i breaks cover in Poland

DAGR™ air-to-ground missile


The 2.75-inch/70mm DAGR missile is a precision-strike, multi-role, multi-platform munition that effectively neutralizes lightly-armored and high-value targets close to civilian assets or friendly forces. DAGR offers strike capability with the reliability of a HELLFIRE II missile while further limiting collateral damage.

The DAGR system puts HELLFIRE II missile and Joint Air-to-Ground Missile technology in a 2.75-inch guidance section that integrates seamlessly with legacy Hydra-70 rockets. Like HELLFIRE, DAGR offers lock-on-after-launch (LOAL) and lock-on-before-launch (LOBL) capability, target handoff, enhanced built-in testing on the rail, and laser coding from the cockpit. The result is a laser-guided missile that offers capabilities beyond those of a simple guided rocket.


DAGR has proven itself in over 30 successful guided flights, launched from such rotary-wing platforms as the AH-64D Apache, AH-6 Little Bird and OH-58 Kiowa Warrior. And every DAGR target strike has hit within 1 meter of the laser-designated aimpoint. The seeker’s ±8 degree field of view provides a large engagement envelope, enabling DAGR to acquire and launch at targets off-axis, maintain contact with a laser spot in high winds while in flight, and zero in on pop-up or moving targets.DAGR is compatible with digital smart launchers—ready to integrate with HELLFIRE systems today and modernized rocket launchers tomorrow. DAGR missiles can also be launched from legacy or modified M260/M261 launchers.


Image @defenceindustrydaily.com

The DAGR rail-mounted canister (RMC) mounts to HELLFIRE-compatible digital and analog launchers (e.g., M299/M310 and M272). The RMC readily integrates with all HELLFIRE platforms, including unmanned aerial vehicles and Apache, Kiowa, Little Bird, Cobra, and Tiger helicopters.

Plug-and-play HELLFIRE II compatibility allows aircrews to mix loadouts between HELLFIRE and DAGR missiles on the same launcher, providing the flexibility to meet any challenge on an ever-changing battlefield. When increased loadout or reduced weight is a must, DAGR delivers. @lockheedmartin.com

19-shot Hydra-70 rocket pod


FN HERSTAL Belgium manufactured machine gun pod


Image @fnherstal.com
  • Specially-Designed Machine GunThe .50 cal FN® M3P machine gun has been especifically designed by FN Herstal for airborne applications.
  • High Hit Probability

    A high rate of fire guarantees short time on target (1,025 +/- 75 RPM, per pod, adjustable)
  • Improved Accuracy and SafetyThe FN® M3P machine gun features a Flash Hider and is installed on a soft mount that absorbs most recoil forces for increased accuracy.  
  • Accurate suppressive and defensive fire against troops up to 3,000m
  • Suppressive fire against light armored vehicles up to 1,000m (.50 cal APEI round)
  • Ignition of fuel tanks and containers up to 2,500m (.50 cal APEI round)
  • Aerial threat suppression (.50 cal APEI round)

Data @fnherstal.com 

FN HERSTAL 50-caliber (12.7mm) machine gun mounted to the cabin floor


Image @technowinki.onet.pl

The M3M is a .50 caliber (12.7mm) machine gun suitable for rotary-wing aircraft applications manufactured by FN Herstal of Belgium. This .50 caliber machine gun provides suppressive fire to counter light armored vehicles, support fire in landing zones, ground and aerial threat suppression, and training. Its short time maximum firing rate is 1,100 rounds per minute or 600 rounds in a single burst against targets at ranges of over 2,000 meters. The weapon’s design with the hands on the pintle and an elastic craddle (recoil forces absorbed) allow for high accuracy. The weapon system is provided with ammunition boxes with the capacity ranging from 100 rounds (14.4 kg) to 600 rounds (96.4 kg).

In January 2004 the US Navy awarded FN Herstal a contract for the procurement of 136 M3M .50 caliber machine guns and 24 spare M3Ms. The new weapon system was designed the GAU-21 and was slated for use by the US Navy and the US Marine Corps rotary-wing aircraft assault groups. In September 2006, the US Navy awarded a $22 million contract to FN Herstal for 519 GAU-21 weapon systems with related equipment and services.

The GAU-21 specifications are as follows: firing rates of 1,000 rounds per minute, barrel life of 10,000 rounds, the ability to use 100, 300 and 600 round ammunition cans, compatibility with all NATO .50 caliber ammunition, and the capability of dismounting the machine gun by a person within 2 minutes. The US Navy and the US Marine Corps plans call for integration of the GAU-21 machine gun on the following platforms: CH-53 (rear ramp), CH-46, H-60, UH-1 and MV-22 aircraft. @deagel.com

7.62-mm mini-gun