Combat Vehicle Armaments

The definition of an Infantry Combat Vehicle (ICV) was established in the late 1960s with the introduction of the Soviet Army's BMP. A few years later the German Army followed suit with the fielding of the Marder ICV. These vehicles, in addition to providing armored protection for an infantry squad, were equipped with turret-mounted cannons to provide suppressive fire to protect infantry dismounts. The Army's Bradley Fighting Vehicle System (BFVS) expanded these capabilities even further by providing mobile protected transport of an infantry squad to the battlefield, providing overwatching fires to support dismounted infantry and possessing the ability to suppress or defeat enemy tanks and other fighting vehicles.

Examples of Combat Vehicle Armaments Being Developed and/or Fielded by Picatinny

Bradley Fighting Vehicle Unlike the M113 "battlefield taxi" that it replaces, the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV) is a sophisticated weapons platform whose armament includes an M242 25mm "Bushmaster" Chain Gun, an M240C 7.62mm Coax machine gun and a 2-tube TOW antitank guided missile launcher. The M242 is a single barrel, automatic cannon capable of firing two types of ammunition in single shot and in burst fire mode at rates up to 200 shot per minute. Either armor piercing (AP) or high explosive (HE) ammunition can be selected by the Bradley gunner to engage all types of battlefield targets. Picatinny was instrumental in the selection and development of the Bradley's main gun armament, the M242 25mm Bushmaster Cannon.

The M242 25mm Bushmaster Cannon has proven to be an outstanding gun system seeing service on the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the USMC Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) and on numerous surface ships of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard. At the present time there are over 14,000 Bushmaster weapon systems in service in 23 countries worldwide. Development on this weapon system began in May 1972, the weapon system was Type Classified Standard in December 1979, and received it Full Material Release in July 1984. Picatinny's significant engineering activities included a Breech Life investigation conducted after breech failure in 1983. Results of this study found the original design to be acceptable. Later, much more advanced engineering design tools showed that the breech, while acceptable as designed, had limited life in excess of its required replacement requirement of 25,000 rounds.

25mm, Armor Piercing, Fin Stabilized, Discarding Sabot with Tracer (APFSDS-T) M919 Cartridge - Picatinny has done extensive work to increase the penetration against Bradley Fighting Vehiclelight armored vehicles; the M919 is a good example. It was designed to defeat the current enemy light armored vehicle threat and shows promise against future light armored threats at ranges more than double that of the current service round. This greatly enhances the survivability of the BFV, a capability achieved through higher on-target strike velocities and improved penetrator geometrics and materials. The M919 uses a long rod penetrator, a technology borrowed from large caliber weapons, to provide enhanced armor piercing performance.

The cornerstone of the Army's transformation is the Future Combat System (FCS), a "system-of-systems" employing advanced concepts in armaments, robotics, sensors, communications and armor. An advanced medium caliber automatic cannon may see application on FCS robotic "hunter/killer" vehicles as well as future infantry carriers. Technologies being explored for these applications include airburst high explosive ammunition for personnel targets, advanced kinetic energy penetrators for antiarmor engagements and guided projectiles for high value targets both within and beyond line-of-sight. Through the years, Picatinny has been instrumental in all aspects of developing small caliber and infantry weapons, medium caliber munitions and aircraft armaments. Picatinny's expertise in doing so will be applied effectively to the Future Combat System needs and beyond.