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M163 VADS Vulcan Air Defense System
M163A2 PIVADS Product Improvement Vulcan Air Defense System

The M163 is a self propelled variant of the General Dynamics 20mm M61 rotary cannon mounted in most US aircraft since the 1960s used for air defense. Long the standard mobile light anti-aircraft gun of the US Army, the Vulcan's only limitation was that it could not cannot be used for night time operation.

From 1984 many M163 were upgraded under the M163 PIVADS Product Improved Vulcan Air Defence System program. Modification include new linked digital fire-control computer with range-only radar, and adding the new APDS round which increases range to 2,600m. The ill-fated M247 SGT. YORK DIVAD (Division Air Defence gun) was born of the U.S. ARMY'S need for a state-of-the-art mobile Anti-Aircraft gun system to replace the ageing M163 20mm Vulcan A/A gun and M48 Chaparral missile systems.

With the Mi-24 Hind attack helicopters of the Soviet Army being fitted with the longer range AT-6 SPIRAL Anti-tank missiles and twin barrelled 23mm cannon, and with the newer Mi-28 Havoc nearing deployment, it was obvious by the early 1980s that the M163 and M48 systems would be totally out-classed in any future conflict. The U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery (ADA) branch has retired its M163 Vulcan tracked and towed 20mm Gatling gun systems, replacing them with Avenger HMMWVs with Stinger SAMs.

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 02:45:33 ZULU