NSWC Dahlgren Engineers Deliver Upgraded Fighter Plane Unit for Fighters Deadliest Fighter> Naval Sea Systems Command> Registered News Mod

Engineers from the Dahlgren Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWCDD) designed, developed and delivered an improved 105mm Gun Aircraft Unit (GAU) specifically designed for the AC-130 gunship.

The 105mm GAU enables combatants on the ground to carry out their missions more efficiently and safely, while the AC-130 provides close air support, air interdiction and force protection.

The new weapon replaces the old cannon system and has a positive impact on the ability of fighters to operate and maintain the system in the field.

“It has become a much more reliable system with less maintenance,” said Matthew Buckler, senior mechanical engineer for the combat management system (BMS) of the NSWCDD’s firearms system. “If we can get a system that’s more reliable, more repeatable, that works and that allows the fighter to complete their mission every time, that’s a huge benefit to the fighter.

From the start of the design effort, the Dahlgren engineers behind the 105mm gun worked directly with the fighter to gain real-time feedback from experienced gunners and technicians.

Project GAU engineers traveled to Wright-Patterson, Robins, Eglin, Hurlburt Field, and Cannon Air Force bases throughout development for testing and direct combat with the fighter. Gunners and technicians also came to Dahlgren to provide insight into the performance of the equipment after testing.

“Personally, this is the most rewarding job I have done in my engineering career with flying colors,” said Gregory Fish, NSWCDD’s chief GAU analyst. “It’s a fantastic place to work – an incredible sense of accomplishment and accomplishment. And when we get information about the weapon’s effectiveness in the field, you feel like you’ve done something that makes a difference because these [GAU’s] are literally the tip of the spear.

The previous iteration of the AC-130 105mm gun system included the M102 howitzer and the M137A1 recoil mechanism, which are no longer supported by the military, which means an upgrade was necessary due to obsolescence and technological advancements since the design of the original recoil mechanism.

The improvements to the 105mm GAU are significant, however, Dahlgren engineers have ensured that the weapon’s functionality, accuracy, and usability remain largely the same.

Throughout the iterative design process, Buckler said the team encountered difficult but navigable obstacles and addressed each problem as it went.

“We have described [the development process] like peeling an onion, ”Buckler said. “You get the most immediate problem and solve it. Then when you fix that one something else becomes more important and you kind of keep pulling it off until you’ve basically fixed all of your major issues and can live with whatever it is. maintenance interval.

When a weapon fires thousands of rounds and its recoil accelerates to 350G, or 350 times the force of gravity, maintenance is a natural consequence of operation. Engineers who led the development of the GAU also oversee the maintenance training of combatants.

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