PGU-14/B API Armor Piercing Incendiary [DU]
The 30mm x 173 GAU-8/A ammunition was among the most effective ammunition used in Operation Desert Storm with proven performance against all targets, including tanks, armored and light vehicles. The 30mm lightweight family of ammunition was developed to optimize the air-to-ground mission of the U.S. Army AH-64 Apache helicopter. This ammunition family is also compatible with all 30mm x 113 gun systems.
The PGU-14/B API Armor Piercing Incendiary round has a lightweight body which contains a sub-calibre high density penetrator of Depleted Uranium (DU). In addition to its penetrating capability DU is a natural pyrophoric material which enhances the incendiary effects. Depleted uranium results from the enriching of natural uranium for use in nuclear reactors. Natural uranium is a slightly radioactive metal that is present in most rocks and soils as well as in many rivers and sea water. Natural uranium consists primarily of a mixture of two isotopes (forms) of uranium, Uranium-235 (U235) and Uranium-238 (U238), in the proportion of about 0.7 and 99.3 percent, respectively. Nuclear reactors require U235 to produce energy, therefore, the natural uranium has to be enriched to obtain the isotope U235 by removing a large part of the U238. Uranium-238 becomes DU, which is 0.7 times as radioactive as natural uranium. . Since DU has a half-life of 4.5 billion years, there is very little decay of those DU materials. When manufactured as 30mm rounds, each DU projectile contains approximately 4,650 grains [0.66 pounds (lbs)] of extruded DU, alloyed with 0.75 weight percent titanium. The projectile is encased in a 0.8 mm-thick aluminum shell as the final DU round.
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