New 50mm Bushmaster Chain Gun at AUSA

Northrup-Grumman has unveiled the XM913 50mm Bushmaster at this year’s AUSA (Association of the United States Army) trade show and conference. The XM193 is based on the proven Bushmaster III 35/50 design and is intended to provide increased capability against Russian infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) designs along with counter-UAS (unmanned aerial systems).

The XM913 was designed expressly for the US Army’s original Next Generation Combat Vehicle programme seeking to replace the Bradley IFV currently under the guise of the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) programme. The OMFV has been reduced to just one contender with the General Dynamics Griffin III as previously reported by Overt Defense. The Griffin will mount the XM193 in an unmanned, remote control turret.

The 50mm chain gun offers far increased range (up to 4200 meters with conventional ammunition), armour penetration and lethality over its ageing 25mm cousin the M242, currently equipping the Bradley family of IFVs. 50mm ammunition includes airburst and proximity fused, the latter particularly useful in engaging enemy UAS. In the near future, Northrup-Grumman hope to integrate guided 50mm ammunition again almost doubling the range to an estimate 7 kilometers and offering an indirect and non-line of sight capability.

Armour piercing 50mm rounds will penetrate all current Russian and Chinese armoured fighting vehicles short of a T-90 or T-14. It will likely have difficulty against the frontal armour of the next generation Russian T-15 IFV however, which itself will be armed with a 57mm cannon, also recently seen demonstrated on a BMP-3 variant.

The Russians are moving toward a larger calibre cannon for the same reasons as the US Army – penetration of current and next gen IFVs and increased counter-UAS capability. The in-service 30mm Shipunov 2A42 reportedly cannot penetrate the frontal armour of Warrior or Bradley for example.

The British Army by contrast is continuing with their 40mm CT40 (Cased Telescoped) from CTA International (a joint venture between BAE and NEXTER) with the intention to mount the gun on both the new Ajax and the Warrior as part of the long-delayed Warrior CSP or Capability Sustainment Programme. The CT40 will also be incorporated into the French Army EBRC Jaguar 6×6 reconnaissance platform.

Image kindly provided by Gregory Knowles