Dassult Rafale Fighter Jet
Dassult Rafale Fighter Jet

Nexter to Deliver 300th 30M M791 Revolver Cannon for Dassult Rafale Fighter Jet

This year, Nexter, a company of KNDS, will deliver the 300th revolver cannon (autocannon) for the Dassult Rafale fighter jet. The 30M M791 revolver cannon, manufactured at Nexter’s Bourges site, is the latest in a long line of 30mm DEFA guns dating back to the post-war period. The capabilities of this single-tube gun are unrivalled to date. Thanks to numerous innovations, its rate of fire is the highest in the world: 2,500 rounds/minute. It fires 42 shells in one second, equivalent to 1.5kg of explosive. This performance enables a single M791 gun to be as effective as the Mirage 2000’s two M550 guns, which each fire 1,200 rounds/minute. Designed for on-board use, the gun is gas-operated to limit the need for electricity on the aircraft.

The Nexter 30 is a series of 30 mm cannon developed to replace the DEFA 550 series weapons on French military aircraft. Introduced in the late 1980s, the GIAT 30 is a revolver cannon with electric ignition and automatic recocking. Unlike the DEFA cannon, the revolver chamber is electrically operated, rather than gas operated, improving both reliability and rate of fire. Two versions of the Nexter 30 are offered. The Nexter 30 M781 is primarily intended for helicopter use and offered in several fixed, podded, and turreted installations. The Nexter 30 M781 is primarily intended for fighter aircraft such as the Dassault Rafale.

Nexter 30M M791 revolver cannon
Nexter 30M M791 revolver cannon. (Photo by KNDS)

Nexter, a company of KNDS, has developed a special ammunition for this gun: the semi-perforating explosive incendiary round in 30x150mm. These profiled shells are fired at over 1,000 meters per second, to reach their target more quickly and to considerably increase their hit probability. Thanks to a double-safety fuse and a primer insensitive to electromagnetic radiation, this ammunition ensures perfect safety for Rafale pilots and operators, even in environments as demanding as the aircraft carrier “Charles de Gaulle”. Today, this gun is “combat proven” for many years. Initially designed for air-to-air combat, it has proved as effective for ground support missions, ensuring precision and reducing collateral damage.

Nexter Systems (formerly known as GIAT Industries or Groupement des Industries de l’Armée de Terre, Army Industries Group) is a French government-owned weapons manufacturer, based in Roanne, Loire. The GIAT group was founded in 1973 by combining the industrial assets of the technical direction of Army weapons of the French Ministry of Defense. The company was nationalized in 1991. On 22 September 2006 GIAT became the core of the new company Nexter. Nexter continues to produce several former GIAT small arms, cannon, and anti-armour weapons. In 2015, Nexter and Krauss-Maffei merged under a single structure. The new KMW+Nexter Defense Systems (KNDS) will be the European leader of terrestrial defense with more than 6,000 employees.

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