Citing lower costs, greater lethality and improved supportability, The Boeing Company this week targeted the Advanced 27mm Aircraft Cannon for its next-generation Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) combat aircraft. Boeing will use the 27mm cannon, being developed by a Boeing-led team, as the basis for the design of the gun system aboard the JSF.
Boeing in Mesa, Ariz.; Mauser-Werke Oberndorf of Germany; Primex Technologies, Inc. of St. Petersburg, Fla.; and Western Design, of Irvine, Calif., will jointly develop the 27mm cannon system, based on the combat-proven BK27 cannon, developed by Mauser.
The gun also is a candidate for the Lockheed Martin version of the JSF. The JSF next-generation combat aircraft will replace fighter planes in the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Navy and the U.K. Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. The U.S. government will select one of the two teams to build the JSF in 2001.
The 27mm cannon is a single barrel, gas-operated lightweight revolver gun that fires electrically primed 27mm ammunition at 1,800 shots per minute.
"It's the lightest, most accurate and reliable gun based on our initial studies," said Dennis Muilenburg, JSF weapon system director for Boeing. "Our comparative assessment found the 27mm cannon to be more affordable, more lethal and more supportable than any of the competitors."
The next step is for JSF and ordnance engineers at Boeing to evaluate detailed gun integration into the Boeing JSF design, Muilenburg said.
"Our goal has been to give the JSF the best gun option available," said Lee Ainley, Boeing program manager for the 27mm cannon. "The decision moves us one step closer to that goal."