Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Countdown for OTO Gunship Concept

OTO Melara's gunship concept, a development for a roll-on/roll-off palletised gunship system for use in modern transport aircraft, awaits results from next phase of live airborne trials. The Italian manufacturer provided additional details on its OTO Gunship demonstrator in December 2014, saying that the system is now under evaluation at the Italian Air Force’s test facility (Reparto Sperimentale di Volo) at Pratica di Mare Air Base, with live airborne firing tests scheduled for February/March 2015. NAVAL FORCES was invited to see the demonstrator in September 2014 and first reported on the concept in issue V/2014 (page 50/53). The 20mm GATLING cannon (designated M61 A1) fitted to the demonstrator is a very precise weapon: at 2km slant range, 50% of the rounds hit within 3m from the target. In anticipation of the upcoming live airborne trials, OTO Melara expects a high lethality and a minimum of possible collateral damage. NAVAL FORCES understands that the system has a CEP (Circular Error Probable) of 4-5m when firing from an altitude of some 1,500m. RIVISTA ITALIANA DIFESA, in its February 2015 issue, speaks of an CEP of 3-4m, when firing from a slant range of 2,000m. NAVAL FORCES also understands that the demonstrator will be fired from a higher altitude during the course of the testing. The Italian Air Force is presently testing the gunship concept for a possible installation on its Alenia-Aermacchi C-27J transports, but the weapon system is also fully compatible with the Lockheed Martin C-130 HERCULES, including the oldest variants. The C-27J, armed with the OTO Gunship, could be available for deployment in an operational theatre by spring 2015.

The OTO Gunship technology demonstrator pictured here at OTO Melara’s manufacturing site in Brescia consists of a 20mm GATLING cannon (designated M61 A1) that is mounted on a roll-on/roll-off pallet together with the gunner panel (from OTO Melara), Central Processing Unit (CPU), and two-axis, stabilised sensor turret (EOST 46 family) provided by SELEX ES. The M61A1 cannon offers a rate-of-fire of 4,000rpm.
(Photo: OTO Melara)

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