Video: The Apache’s Chain Gun Goes Naval

ATK has modified its 30mm chain gun carried by the U.S. Army’s AH-64 gunship for use on Navy patrol craft and helicopters. ATK officials showed off the company’s new M230LF 30mm chain gun at the Navy League’s Sea, Air and Land show. The M230LF features a percussion-primed firing system rather than the electrically-primed system on the M230.

Apparently the Navy has strict safety regulations that prohibit the use of electrically-primed weapons aboard ship. The M230LF operates like a more traditional machine gun and includes a new linked ammunition feeding system. The Apache’s M230 features a link-less feeding system that relies on a magazine box that must be loaded by hand. ATK is working with the Navy to develop the M230LF as a possible replacement for the .50 caliber machine gun on small surface vessels — where it could fend off swarms of attacking boat — and some helos, according to ATK.

— Matt Cox

Click through the jump to see a video of the new gun.

  • DGR

    Anyone know why the Army system is linkless and electronically primed? Just curious as to the rational behind it, and why the Navy wants to move away from those componants. Just curious, im guessing the Army system is more reliable?

  • Sulaw

    Sounds like perfect weapon system for handling pesky Iranian speedboats that try and swarm any carrier group.

    PS…I want one on my car for commute home

    • matt

      beat the gypsy

  • Pat

    Put this on the LCS…!

  • Riceball

    I don’t get the prohibition against electrically primed weapons on board Navy ships, aren’t the CIWS electrically primed and the M61s on the Hornets too? I’ve always believed that all of the rotary cannons in our inventory are all electrically powered and don’t use percussion priming to operate and I’ve never heard of any the gatling type guns used by the Navy being any different.

  • Nicky

    Didn’t sikorsky came up with an add on mod for the existing Blackhawks and Seahawks called the S-70 Battlehawk. Maybe this is something the US Navy should be looking at

  • Sgt_Buffy

    Soon we’ll have videos of these taking out pirate boats the same way we have videos of them taking out dirtbikes. Can’t wait!

  • Lance

    Best weapon to chew Drug Runners Boats up into pieces.

  • M167A1

    Isn’t the CIWS a link-less m61 which is electrically primed….??

    It could certainly be linked system like the towed vulcan was but I thought it was fed from a drum like the self propelled vulcan.

  • SoldierGeek

    CIWS is electrically operated but still uses percussion primers, as does all 20mm ammo both air and ground. The Navy generally doesn’t use electrically fired ammunition, for reasons that remain classified. There is work to go to a laser-initiated system in lieu of percussion primers.

    The linked feed system was qualified first, but linkless feed is significantly more reliable, which is particularly useful when you can’t get at the gun (like on the Apache).

  • Stephen Russell

    anyone see Act of Valor Hot Riverine Extract, Imagine what one of these guns would do to those trucks alone,.aside the Dillion Minigun.
    No more baddies.

  • Max

    Why not fit civilian versions on all cargo ships going in the Indian Ocean/ Somalia area? Give them some firepower to sink any pirates coming after them.

  • d. kellogg

    Years ago a weapon called the ASP30 was developed (firing the same 30x113mm ammo as the Apache’s M230).
    They had hopes it could swap in place of an M2 50-cal, but even with refinements to its recoil system, the gun still had a wicked recoil for a crew-served or pintle- or tripod-mounted weapon.

    The M230 would be more preferrable: the Chain Gun principle of operation has many features in its mechanical function cycle,
    which include sufficient control over the ammunition feeding, loading, firing, and extraction processes so that it’s impossible to have a runaway gun if the weapon malfunctions in any way.
    In the Chain Gun, the thing simply stops firing: either the feeder quits working and won’t send any more rounds to the gun chamber,
    or the chain mechanism inside stops operating and the gun itself won’t accept any new rounds.

    It seems complex when its operation is explained, but the design is certainly American ingenuity at its finest.
    The entire Bushmaster family (25mm up thru developmental 50mm) has proven very reliable over the years.

    • Thomas L. Nielsen

      The main obstacle with the Chain Gun in “light-weight” installations is that it requires external power, and that power has to come from somewhere.

      Not a problem if you fit it to a helicopter, an aircraft or a warship, since they already have a good power distribution system. Fitting it to a small/light vehicle, or a ground mount, that’s a whole different ball of ear-wax.

      Regards & all.

      Thomas L. Nielsen

    • Thomas L. Nielsen

      PS: ATK has even come out with a .50 cal version :

      Regards & all,

      Thomas L. Nielsen

  • Hickelbilly

    Here Am I. Kilroy Was Here.

  • Andrew

    What’s the possibility to mount something like this to the top of a stryker?. Besides ammo storage (maybe along the side of the hull in a blow out panel?), what else would restrict it? It does seem like a small enough mount.

  • Mastro

    I hope its more reliable than the Apache’s gun- which has a pretty spotty record (G forces probably play a part)

    Might not be good to count on holding off speedboats with a gun that jams every 100 rounds or so.

  • carrpit

    Sea Hawks and small small (CB90s) are probably the main candidates.

    The 25mm Mk38 (M242 Bushmaster), has greater range, and a higher muzzle velocity.

  • nraddin

    Isn’t the CIWS electrically fired? There is one or more of those on pretty much all our fighting ships right?

    • we2rborg

      Electrically fired, but not electronic ignition of the round. The percussion caps are electrically fired. Bit of a difference there.

  • M&S

    To my knowledge, both the M242 and Mk.44 are also chain guns and offer vastly improved ballistic performance deriving from the use of 25X137 and 30X173 magnum case rounds respectively.
    The M230 was designed in the1970s with an eye towards commonality with the NATO DEFA/ADEN munitions stockpiles which had in common a large explosive round derived from the German wartime minenschell. As use from Mirage and Ouragan fightes in 1967 and 73 had showed, they were excellent AT weapons because they blew great flaming holes in engine decks and shredded tracks.