HMGs firing shells?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by tomo pauk, Nov 7, 2015.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Fairly spread among Axis nations was the practice of producing and using exploding ammo for their heavy machine guns. Did it really improved the firepower of a fighter or bomber (vs. the usual ammo used), to justify the investments? Granted, in most cases the 20 mm stuff will not fit where an HMG will.
    The 13 mm HMGs of Belgian and French production also fired explosive ammo.
     
  2. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    #2 fastmongrel, Nov 7, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2015
    I have read somewhere that the US experimented with an explosive round for the .50 but found it wasnt worth the effort, the tiny amount of explosive made a barely noticeable difference yet cost about 10 times more to make than API round.

    I have seen sectioned Italian .50 rounds and with the fuse there is about as much explosive as a party popper. MG131 projectile was roughly the same size as a Browning round and the MG131 HE round had a grand total of 1.34 grams of explosive.

    FG127Breda.jpg

    from left to right, Ball (aluminium tip), API, API-T and HEI-T.
     
  3. BiffF15

    BiffF15 Well-Known Member

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    Tomo,

    Today we fly with a mix of AP and HEI. I think that would have been good back then as well because you don't know which part of the target your rounds will impact prior to launching on the mission. And when strafing an airborne target you want him to go down ASAP with as few rounds expended as possible!

    Cheers,
    Biff
     
  4. thedab

    thedab Member

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    Biff does the USAF still used the 50 cal in their planes??
     
  5. rinkol

    rinkol Member

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    The question of whether HE rounds were worthwhile in 0.50 or similar sized ammunition is a reasonable one.

    Possibly there are two issues to consider:

    - the type of structure in the target (for example, would HEI ammunition be more effective against a self sealing fuel tank?);
    - the relative contributions of the kinetic energy and the chemical energy of the explosive (if any) contained in the projectile. The US 0.5 round had a high muzzle velocity and it is reasonable to suppose that a small amount of explosive wouldn't add a worthwhile effect. For the MG 131 round which has a much lower muzzle velocity the explosive probably adds a relatively greater effect. It is noteworthy that the Germans replaced the MG 17s installed in many fighters (Bf 109, FW 190, Me 410) with MG 131s and avoided deleting the fuselage armament on the FW 190 as delivered, even when four 20 mm cannon were fitted.
     
  6. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    What type target are you shooting at?
    Airframes are mostly aluminum sheet metal. Unless they hit engine, fuel tank or structural member solid projectiles tend to pass through without doing a lot of damage.

    Does the projectile contain a useful size HE burster? Assuming the fuze works properly airframe damage is directly proportional to HE burster size. So don't use HE shells unless you are willing to spend resources required to design and mass produce effective exploding projectiles.
     
  7. BiffF15

    BiffF15 Well-Known Member

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    TheDab,

    The only fighter attack aircraft that I know of that carrys a .50 cal is the A-29B. And these planes are going to be turned over to Afghanistan eventually. Would be cool to fly! Sort of a modern version of WW2 fighter...

    Cheers,
    Biff
     
  8. Token

    Token Active Member

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    If I am not mistaken these are not really USAF assets, but rather are in holding for foreign application. I mean yes, they are in the US, and they are at a USAF base flown by US pilots, however they were specifically purchased for transfer to Afghanistan.

    T!
     
  9. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    They were spec'd and purchased by the USAF for a total of 100 aircraft and are currently in service with the 81st FS at Moody. Only 20 will be transferred to the AAF at the end of 2015.

    Regardless, they are USAF assets.
     
  10. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    I would love to have the chance to get in one of those....
     
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  11. BiffF15

    BiffF15 Well-Known Member

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    BobbySocks,

    I flew OV-10s and am familiar with the MC-12 which leads me to think this would be a great plane to do the combined missions of both. Also it looks like a blast to fly!

    Cheers,
    Biff
     
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  12. Greyman

    Greyman Active Member

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    Extensive testing by the British at Woolwich in 1942 concluded that the only advantage (over British ammunition) the exploding ammunition had was the psychological effect on those under fire.
     
  13. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    What was the caliber of the ammo tested in the UK? Were the tests also performed on aircraft, the most likely targets of MG 131 or Breda 12.7 mm?
     
  14. Token

    Token Active Member

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    #14 Token, Nov 9, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2015
    We may have different definitions of assets. The aircraft are currently owned by the USAF, and are being flown by the USAF as part of the training of Afghani forces and before the aircraft are turned over to Afghanistan. This, in my mind, does not make them USAF assets, but rather they are, as I said, in holding before transfer to the AAF.

    My understanding, and I readily admit I have no first hand contact with this specific project so this is just what I have read, is that to date the only deliveries have been the assets destined for Afghanistan or transfer to foreign governments. Further, the original plan of 100 units, some of them for the USAF, was trimmed down (because of budget issues) to only the units being provided to Afghanistan.

    So the question becomes, have other aircraft than the 20 going to the AAF been received? Are there currently funded plans to purchase, with delivery dates, aircraft beyond those 20? Is there a plan to field a combat USAF unit based on these aircraft?

    T!
     
  15. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Think of the USAF as the "lienholder" on the title.

    So much like an auto dealership, the USAF purchases the aircraft from the factory and retains ownership until such time, as the new owner takes delivery.

    As far the rest of the A-29Bs, it might be quite possible that the 81st FS may remain active with additional aircraft for training and joint exercises.
     
  16. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    BiffF15. I always liked the looks of the OV-10s...then again I like the Cessna O-2 Skymaster's looks too. I cant say how they flew tho...lol. like the embraer another plane I thought might be fun to fly is the Pilatus pc7. its 100 mph slower but also about half the weight.....would like to wring one of these out too.

    Pilatus_PC-7_2008-06-KLu_0001_800.jpg
     
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  17. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    The COIN aircraft that I'd love to run through it's paces, is the AT-802U...it looks like it would be a real hoot. It's not terribly fast, but since it's actually a crop-duster, you know it can do some tricks...

    AT-802U.jpg
     
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  18. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    #18 bobbysocks, Nov 9, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2015
    lol...I was going to say it looked like a suped up pawnee...
     
  19. Greyman

    Greyman Active Member

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    Most data is on 7.7mm and 12.7mm rounds. Some 20mm data and a little bit of 6.5mm and 13.2mm information. The basic tests all seem to be done in Africa, but the extensive testing done in Britain.

    Judging by the description of targets I don't think it was actual aircraft - targets were sheets of duralumin, armour plate, petrol tins and german self-sealing tanks.
     
  20. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Sounds interesting. Is the test report avalable on-line?
     
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