Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-6-23

Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-6-23

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The Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-6-23 (GRAU designation: 9A-620 for GSh-6-23, 9A-768 for GSh-6-23M modernized variant) is a powerful, fast-firing six-barreled 23 mm Gatling gun
Gatling gun
The Gatling gun is one of the best known early rapid-fire weapons and a forerunner of the modern machine gun. It is well known for its use by the Union forces during the American Civil War in the 1860s, which was the first time it was employed in combat...

 used by some modern Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n military aircraft.

The GSh-6-23 differs from most American multi-barreled aircraft cannon in that it is gas-operated, rather than externally powered via an electric
Electric motor
An electric motor converts electrical energy into mechanical energy.Most electric motors operate through the interaction of magnetic fields and current-carrying conductors to generate force...

, hydraulic, or pneumatic system. Although the engineering difficulties involved in producing a gas-operated rotary cannon with such a high rate of fire are considerable, they create less of a drain on the aircraft's power systems, and they accelerate to their maximum rate of fire much more quickly. There is less "spin-up" time for the barrels than with an externally powered rotary cannon, a significant advantage in aerial combat, where the window of opportunity to place multiple rounds on target can be vanishingly short.

The GSh-6-23 uses the 23x115 Russian AM-23 round, fed via linked cartridge belt or a linkless feed system. The linkless system, adopted after problems with the belt feed, is limited to 8,500 rpm. Fire control is electrical, using a 27v DC system. The cannon has 10 pyrotechnic cocking charge
Pyrotechnic cocking charge
A pyrotechnic cocking charge is a device used to cock or re-cock a gas-operated automatic cannon, such as the Mauser BK-27 or the Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-6-23. Such devices are not necessary in an externally powered cannon, such as the electrically driven M61 Vulcan, where the external power source is...

s, similar to those used in European gas-operated revolver cannon
Revolver cannon
A revolver cannon is a type of autocannon commonly used as an aircraft gun. It uses a cylinder with multiple chambers, like those of a revolver handgun, to speed up the loading-firing-ejection cycle. Some examples are also power-driven, to further speed the loading process, but this is by no means...

s such as the DEFA 554
DEFA cannon
The DEFA cannon is a family of widely used French-made aircraft revolver cannons firing the standard 30 mm caliber NATO rounds.-Design history:...

 or Mauser BK-27
Mauser BK-27
The BK 27 is a caliber revolver cannon manufactured by Mauser of Germany...


The GSh-6-23 has an extremely high rate of fire, with maximum cyclic rates of 9,000 to 10,000 rounds per minute. Compared to the U.S. M61 Vulcan
M61 Vulcan
The M61 Vulcan is a hydraulically or pneumatically driven, six-barreled, air-cooled, electrically fired Gatling-style rotary cannon which fires 20 mm rounds at an extremely high rate. The M61 and its derivatives have been the principal cannon armament of United States military fixed-wing aircraft...

, the GSh-6-23 fires 50-66% more rounds per minute, has a heavier projectile, but lower muzzle velocity. The weapon is also lighter and shorter. The rapid rate of fire exhausts ammunition quickly: the MiG-31(800 rounds maximum) aircraft, for example, with 260 rounds of ammunition, would empty its magazine in less than two seconds.

The GSh-6-23 is used by the now-obsolete Sukhoi Su-15
Sukhoi Su-15
The Sukhoi Su-15 was a twin-engined supersonic interceptor developed by the Soviet Union in the 1960s to replace the Sukhoi Su-11, which was becoming obsolete as the United States and Britain introduced newer and more capable strategic bombers...

 'Flagon', the Sukhoi Su-24
Sukhoi Su-24
The Sukhoi Su-24 is a supersonic, all-weather attack aircraft developed in the Soviet Union. This variable-sweep wing, twin-engined two-seater carried the USSR's first integrated digital navigation/attack system...

 'Fencer' attack aircraft, the MiG-31 'Foxhound' interceptor aircraft
Interceptor aircraft
An interceptor aircraft is a type of fighter aircraft designed specifically to prevent missions of enemy aircraft, particularly bombers and reconnaissance aircraft. Interceptors generally rely on high speed and powerful armament in order to complete their mission as quickly as possible and set up...

, and others. However, after two Su-24 were lost because of premature shell detonation in 1983, plus some different problems with gun usage (system failures, etc.), usage of the GSh-6-23 was stopped by a decision of the Soviet A.F. Command. For now all aircraft in the Russian A.F. are flying with fully operational guns, but without ammunition.

It is also used in the SPPU-6 gun pod
Gun pod
A gun pod is a detachable pod or pack containing machine guns or automatic cannon and ancillaries, mounted externally on a vehicle such as a military aircraft which may or may not also have its own guns....

, which can traverse to -45° elevation, and +-45° azimuth.

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