Vulcan air defense system, Self-propelled air defense gun
The major components of the M163A1 20mm self-propelled air defense gun consisted of the M741 or the M741A1 tracked chassis, the M168 20mm gun, the M61 sight, the M157A1 mount, and the AN/VPS-2 radar set. In addition to the high firing rate of 3,000 rounds per minute, the M168 gun could fire at a low rate of 1,000 rounds per minute.
At the high rate, bursts were limited to 10, 30, 60, or 100 rounds. Full stowage of 20mm ammunition was 1,031 rounds. Combat loaded, the self-propelled Vulcan system weighed 27,542 pounds. Its performance was similar to that of the M113A1 and in water, the freeboard was 11 inches with the side flotation cells and the high displacement trim vane.
The Vulcan air defense system entered into service in 1969 parallel with the Chaparral guided missile system. Together, they armed the air defense artillery battalions in the armored divisions.
Later modifications included the product improved Vulcan air defense system (PIVADS) which was a kit developed by the Lockheed Electronics Company. Its major components were a director type sight, a digital microprocessor, and a low backlash azimuth drive system. Installation of this kit reduced the gunner's work load and eliminated inaccuracies in the existing Vulcan system.
The Vulcan Stinger hybrid combined a four tube Stinger missile launcher with the Vulcan gun system. It eliminated the Vulcan's range only radar reducing its vulnerability to electronic countermeasures and anti-radiation missiles. It was replaced by an integrated fire control sensor package. This package included an imagery sensor from the M1 main battle tank, the M65 laser augmented airborne TOW fire control system, and the automatic video target tracker from the Maverick missile.
Other self-propelled antiaircraft gun systems included the XM166. This consisted of a modified M4A1 twin 40mm gun mount installed on the M548 cargo carrier. The modifications reduced the weight of the standard M4A1 mount by about 1,000 pounds. The standard mount was that used on the twin 40mm self-propelled gun M42. Assembled by FMC, it was amphibious and was proposed as a low cost, highly mobile, self-propelled air defense weapon.
In 1979, Ares, Incorporated completed a prototype of the Eagle air defense system. Armed with two high velocity Talon 35mm guns, it utilized the modified chassis of the M548 cargo carrier. With a muzzle velocity of 1,175 meters per second (3,855 feet per second), the two guns had a combined firing rate of 1,200 rounds per minute. The self-propelled weapon was equipped with an optical sight, a laser range finder, a digital ballistic computer, a digital fire control system, and a hydraulic servo drive system.
The development program that resulted in the Hawk surface to air missile system began in 1954 and it became operational in the U.S. Army in 1959. The MIM-23A Hawk was a radar guided missile propelled by a dual grain solid rocket motor. The fast burning center grain boosted the missile to about Mach 2.5. When it burned out, the slower burning outer grain sustained the missile for the remainder of the flight.
The MIM-23A was 198 inches long with a diameter of 14 inches and it weighed 1,295 pounds. A later version, the improved Hawk, became operational in November 1972. The improved Hawk, the MIM-23B, was increased in length to 201.6 inches and in weight to 1,380 pounds. The maximum ranges for the MIM-23A and the MIM-23B were 22 miles and 25 miles respectively.
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