The sound of the ship's guns is impressive. 170 rounds per second - a wild howl, intolerable to the human ear. Because of this, our naval officers prefer the AK-306 mounts with a lower rate of fire than the AK-630 and Broadsword.
In October 1943, near Yalta, German Ju-87 bombers sank the leader "Kharkov" and the destroyers "Merciless" and "Capable". Their anti-aircraft guns turned out to be useless against low-flying aircraft, and 70K assault rifles had a low rate of fire and after 80-100 shots they heated up to 350-400C. After this battle, Stalin banned the exit of large ships "without sufficient air cover." The admirals were reinsured, and until the end of the war, not a single ship from the destroyer or higher left the ports in the Black Sea.
American 40-mm Bofors submachine guns were no better than our 70K, and the Yankees decided to take by numbers. On their ships, wherever possible, they stumbled anti-aircraft guns. There were over a hundred of them on battleships, and up to 60 on cruisers, half of which were 40-mm caliber, and half were 20-mm. A forest of trunks created a sea of fire. Nevertheless, kamikazes broke through it and hit the decks and superstructures of the ships. They managed to sink relatively few ships, but dozens were turned into huge bonfires, which, although they remained afloat, were then only suitable for scrap.
With the advent of jet aircraft and cruise anti-ship missiles (ASM), operating at low and ultra-low altitudes, the role of classic anti-aircraft guns has practically been reduced to zero. I was struck by a photograph of 1967: an Egyptian MiG-17 is flying over the Israeli anti-aircraft gunners, and they do not even react to it. You can see from their faces that they don't see or hear anything.
To effectively protect ships, fully automated installations with a rate of fire of several thousand rounds per minute were required. In them, fire is opened and conducted without any participation of calculation. The fire control system itself detects the target, the “friend or foe” auto interrogator is triggered, the most dangerous target for the ship is selected, its trajectory and cannon advance are calculated, the barrels are automatically guided and fire is opened.
A further increase in the rate of fire is associated with almost insurmountable technological and design difficulties. Therefore, the designers decided to move away from the classic scheme of the machine "one barrel - one breech" and go to other schemes: revolving (drum) and with a rotating block of barrels. Such schemes combine operations that are impossible for the classical scheme.
According to the drum scheme, the Soviet double-barreled AK-230 installation was created. But her maximum rate of fire was only 1000 rds / min. on the barrel, which was not enough to guarantee the defeat of a small target flying at a transonic speed. Meanwhile, in 1982, one relatively small Argentine rocket "Exoset" was enough to sink the newest British frigate "Sheffield" with a displacement of 4,200 tons.
As a result, all the leading maritime powers began to create short-range self-defense systems with a rotating block of barrels.
In 1963, the USSR began designing a six-barreled machine gun AO-18 (GSh-6-30K). Six barrels, enclosed in a block, have a single automation. A characteristic feature of this weapon is the continuous operation of automation during the firing process, which is provided by a gas engine that uses the energy of powder gases. Food - continuous tape.
A serious problem at a rate of fire of 5000 rds / min. becomes cooling of the trunks. Several cooling methods were tested, including a special cartridge with coolant made and fired. In the final version, all methods of internal barrel cooling were abandoned and only external cooling was left, which occurs by running water or antifreeze between the casing and the barrels.
The AK-630 unit is fully automated. Shooting is determined by the Vympel system. Here, for example, is one of the shooting options. Vympel calculates the time when the target and the projectiles fired from the AK-630 will be at a point 4000–3800 m from the ship (maximum range of the installation in automatic mode). At the moment when fire opens, the target can be at a distance of 5-6 km. Initially, firing is carried out in short bursts of 40 shots with intervals of 3-5 seconds, and then, if the target is not shot down, the installation switches to continuous fire until the target is hit. After that, she automatically begins to fire at the next target.
Initially, 30-mm assault rifles were equipped with shots with high-explosive fragmentation shells weighing 390 g and fragmentation tracer shells weighing 386 g. The six-barreled 30-mm domestic gun mount AK-630 was adopted in 1980. AK-630 and its simplified version AK-306 still remain the main means of self-defense of our fleet.
Armor-piercing - fire
However, firing at cruise anti-ship missiles at ranges and during local wars showed that it is not enough to damage a missile that flew up to the target ship by several hundred or even tens of meters - it is necessary to destroy its warhead. But the warheads of many anti-ship missiles are armored. Therefore, abroad, the ammunition of a number of shipborne automatic small-caliber installations includes shots with sub-caliber armor-piercing shells. Among them are the 20-mm American six-barreled gun mount "Volcano-Falanx", the 30-mm Anglo-Dutch seven-barreled "Goalkeeper" and others.
At the State Scientific and Production Enterprise "Pribor", the "Kerner" and "Trident" armor-piercing sub-caliber projectiles were created, intended for the 30-mm army assault rifles 2A38, 2A42 and 2A72. These projectiles are capable of penetrating 25-mm armor at an angle of 60 degrees from a distance of 1000-1500 m. Taking into account the standardization of 30-mm rounds, this sub-caliber projectile can be easily complemented with shots for 30-mm marine assault rifles of the GSh-6-30K type.
Multiply by two
In the 1970s, the development of anti-ship cruise missiles, flying at ultra-low altitudes at supersonic speeds, began, which were supposed to have a multi-layer warhead protected by armor and the ability to perform complex anti-aircraft maneuvers in the final section of the trajectory. With such maneuverability, it is practically impossible to calculate the aiming point with the required accuracy, therefore, to reliably repel attacks from such missiles, it is necessary to significantly increase the rate of fire of the installation in order to create a sufficiently dense field of shells in the design "window" of the anti-ship missile approach. Studies carried out in KBP, NII-61 and other organizations have shown that the maximum rate of fire for a six-barreled machine gun of the AO-18 type is 5000 rds / min. To further increase the rate of fire, there could be two ways: firstly, to apply new design schemes of the machine gun - for example, to combine a multi-barrel scheme with a revolving one, and secondly, to use a liquid explosive as a propellant charge, which immediately solves a number of problems, including including extraction of liners. There was a study of telescopic ammunition, where the projectile was placed inside a sleeve surrounded by an explosive propellant. Other options for the design of an assault rifle and ammunition were also considered abroad and in our country. But the simplest way to increase the rate of fire was to increase the number of 30-mm barrel blocks from one to two.
In one cradle
The development of the 30-mm AK-630M1-2 two-automatic unit was started in June 1983. The characteristics of the AK-630M1-2 made it possible, when it was adopted by the Navy, to stop the production of the AK-630M, as well as to place it on previously built ships instead of the AK-630M gun mount without changing ship structures, except for attaching the second store in the standard ship's barbet AK-630M for 2000 cartridges. This was permissible due to the rational placement of two standard GSh-6-30K assault rifles in the vertical plane, as well as due to the maximum possible use of parts and assemblies from the AK-630M (about 70%).
Targeting is carried out remotely from the MR-123AM2 radar system or from the "FOT" optical sighting station. The MP-123 / 176M2 is an upgraded system of the MP-123/176, in which a new anti-missile mode of operation has been introduced. The control system has laser projectors KM-11-1 and a laser rangefinder LDM-1 "Cruiser". Both GSh-6-30K assault rifles are located in one cradle, in the lower and upper planes. The firing mode of one machine gun GSh-6-30K is 6 bursts of 400 shots with breaks of 5-6 seconds or 200 shots with breaks of 1-1.5 seconds.
Death of the imitators
From March 19 to November 30, 1984, a prototype AK-630M1-2, manufactured at the Tula Machine-Building Plant, passed factory tests. Later, it was installed on the R-44 torpedo boat of project 206.6, and the replacement of the AK-630M with the AK-630M1-2 was carried out not in the factory, but in ship conditions. During the shooting in the summer of 1989 in the Black Sea, the AK-630M1-2 proved to be a fairly effective tool. As targets were used LA-17K and ATGM "Falanga-2", imitating anti-ship missiles "Harpoon". The installation successfully shot down Phalanxes flying at an altitude of about ten meters, spending about two hundred rounds per missile. However, the installation did not go into mass production and remained in service with only one boat.
The main reason for the failure of the AK-630M1-2 was the emergence of serious competitors - the 3M87 Kortik and Broadsword artillery and missile systems, which were supposed to take the place of the AK-630M. Nevertheless, in 1993-1995, the AK-630M1-2 gun mounts were successfully advertised by various Russian export organizations.
Under a pseudonym
In the late 1970s, the KBP under the leadership of General Designer A. G. Shipunova, work began on the creation of the Kortik 3M87 missile and artillery complex, which later received the "pseudonym" "Kashtan". Who started the fashion of inventing "pseudonyms" remains unknown. I will only note that this did not happen even under Stalin.
The Kortik complex is designed to hit targets with missiles at the range from 1.5 km to 8 km, and then finish shooting the surviving targets with 30-mm machine guns at a distance of 500 to 1500 m. The Kortik includes one command module and from one to six combat stations. The command module consists of a target detection radar and an information processing system, target distribution and target designation. Combat missile and artillery installations are equipped with their own control system, consisting of a radar and television-optical channel.
The artillery part of the complex consists of two 30-mm six-barreled 6K30GSh submachine guns with a total rate of fire of about 10,000 rounds per minute, created on the basis of the GSh-6-30K and using the same rounds. The ammunition load is not located in the turret area, as in the early installations, but in two drums of 500 rounds each, located next to the barrel blocks. The belt feeding of the machines was replaced with a screw (linkless) one.
On the rotating part of the complex, two blocks of four missiles are mounted, placed in cylindrical transport and launch containers. The 9M311 missile is unified with the missile of the 2K22M Tunguska air defense military complex. The missile control system is semi-automatic with a radio command line.
The 9M311 is the only domestic shipborne missile defense system with a fragmentation-rod warhead. When the warhead breaks, the rods form something like a ring with a radius of 5 m in a plane perpendicular to the missile axis. At a distance of more than 5 m, the action of rods and fragments is ineffective.
Small dimensions allow placing the complex on any ships, from missile boats to aircraft carriers, as well as on ground objects.
Admiral with eight dirks
The Kortik entered service in 1989. Eight 3M87 modules were installed on the aircraft carrier "Admiral Kuznetsov", six modules on the nuclear cruiser of project 1144 "Admiral Nakhimov", two modules each were installed on two SKR project 1154 of the "Fearless" type. By the end of 1994, the production of "Kortik" ceased. Initially, it was planned to replace most of the AK-630 gun mounts with "Kortik" both on ships under construction and on ships, for which the ball strap and other mounting parts of the AK-630 and 3M87 were unified. However, on ships of a number of projects, the "Kortik" does not pass in height (2250 mm compared to 1070 mm for the AK-630).
In the early 1990s, information appeared about the development of the Central Research Institute "Tochmash" - the "Palash" missile and artillery complex, which also figured under the name "Palma". "Broadsword" favorably differs from "Kortik" by half its weight and dimensions, which allows it to be placed on ships of small displacement and boats. The rate of fire is the same as that of the AK-630M1-2 and "Kortik" - 10,000 rounds / min. with an increased muzzle velocity from 900 m / s to 1100 m / s. The "Broadsword" uses two six-barreled AO-18KD assault rifles developed by the KBP.
Optoelectronic assault rifle guidance systems are located in the ball above the installation. The system has television and infrared channels, laser rangefinder. The firing module of the "Broadsword" complex provides for the installation of eight light hypersonic missiles "Sosna R", guided by a laser beam using a laser beam channel. In this case, the combat capabilities of the firing module are doubled, the range is increased to 8 km for the aircraft and up to 4 km for anti-ship missiles.
In November 2005, a prototype of the "Broadsword" complex in a purely artillery version (without missiles) was delivered to Sevastopol, where by February 2006 it was installed on the R-60 missile boat. The P-60 spent the spring of this year behind Cape Khersones, where the first firing took place: six bursts of 480 high-explosive fragmentation shells each. Further tests, according to the assumption of Ukrainian specialists, will take place at the Feodosiya test site, if, of course, the government of Ukraine allows it. The main intrigue is whether the "Broadsword" will be able to effectively use sub-caliber shells and how effective its control system is.