Having sold its BUSHMASTER chain guns to 62 militaries around the world, Northrop Grumman finds itself in a position where the majority of the business is in Europe, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
The MK44 cannon uses Northrop Grumman's 30mm and 40mm ammunition, the latter offering greater stand-off range and increased firepower. With newer MK44 sales in the pocket, Spain and Japan moving forward, the company told MONCh that the MK44 BUSHMASTER chain gun is well established in the Polish Army and is integrated on the ROSOMAK ground combat vehicle, representing the largest installed base of the 30x173mm chain guns worldwide.
“The MK44 is quickly becoming the most sought-after medium-calibre cannon as it is the most reliable cannon on the market," company officials told MONCh during a visit at Northrop Grumman's Mesa, AZ facility. "If you take care of them, they'll last forever.”
Northrop Grumman is closely watching the Australian Land 400 Phase 3 competition, where the company's guns are on three of the four contenders.
In its own country, Northrop Grumman has finished fielding 83 canons to the US Army last year and is now waiting for the second STRYKER brigade order to come out.
In other news, Northrop Grumman is developing new proximity fuzed air bursting 30x113mm ammunition for the M230 series BUSHMASTER Chain Gun. This proximity technology will eventually take the place of current air bursting munitions that use a times and turns counting fuze, the company tells MONCh ahead of its Bushmaster Conference.
The new development will use a sensor to identify potential targets prior to bursting. This round’s technology is being developed with scalability to 30X173mm and beyond. Airbursting rounds are highly effective for engaging targets in defilade as well as countering the proliferating drone threat on today’s battlefield.
Next week, 9-10 April, Northrop Grumman will host its BUSHMASTER User Conference, as an opportunity for industry and military users and acquisition decision makers to meet to discuss the future direction of the medium calibre guns and ammunition industry and how better to support allied militaries around the world. As in previous conferences, this year’s event will culminate with a live fire demonstration of systems (platform, weapons station or turret, gun and ammunition) at Big Sandy Range located near Kingsman, AZ. This year’s day-long event will showcase Northrop Grumman’s developments in creating advanced ammunition types (air bursting and proximity fused) as well as the company’s 50mm BUSHMASTER Chain Gun which is currently being evaluated by ARDEC as a contender for future combat vehicle programme integration. Additionally, the company will demonstrate other members of its family of chain guns (M230LF, MK44, MK52) on various platforms and weapons stations/turrets provided by BAE Systems, General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS), EOS, Kongsberg, Oshkosh and Polaris.