Christopher F Foss talks about Orbital ATK’s XM813 Bushmaster Chain Gun, to be installed in the Kongsberg Medium Calibre Remote Controlled Turret (MC-RCT) on the latest General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) 8×8 Stryker XM1296 as part of the US Armys Stryker Lethality Upgrade Programme (Stryker LUP).
The XM813 Bushmaster is based on the Mk44 and is offered as an upgrade for M1126 Stryker and M2 Bradley vehicles, as well as having been a contender to be the primary armament of the GCV Infantry Fighting Vehicle. Improvements include a one-inch longer barrel, integral mount to increase first round hit probability by up to 10 percent, and dual recoil system to enhance accuracy and cope with future hotter propellants. It can have a next-round select, linkless feed system. The 30 mm chain gun can fire Mk310 Programmable Air Burst Munition rounds to attack targets in defilade. The United States Army Research, Development and Engineering Command helped enhance the XM813 mainly for safety and turret integration. By changing five parts, the gun caliber can be increased to 40 mm. As of November 2013, the XM813 was being tested at Aberdeen Proving Ground over three months to ensure reliability levels of 40,000 mean rounds between failures. Long-term plans are to equip vehicles with the Bushmaster III 35mm/50mm cannon.
In early 2015, the U.S. Army approved an upgrade for 81 Stryker vehicles of a Stryker Brigade Combat Team deployed in Europe to be upgunned with the Mk44 30 mm Bushmaster cannon to increase their lethality against other light armored vehicles used by Russia in the theater. The cannons will be installed by 2018, and may be the first step in adding the Bushmaster to the entire active fleet of about 1,000 Strykers; the XM813 variant will be used with the Strykers. The XM813 has a demonstrated firing ability out to 3,000 metres (1.9 mi) for precision firing, nearly twice as far as the M2 .50 caliber machine gun that has a maximum effective range of 1,830 metres (1.14 mi) as an area suppression weapon. The first upgunned Stryker, known as the “Dragoon” for the 2nd Cavalry Regiment the vehicles will be part of, was delivered in October 2016.