Resurrected Weapons: CVAST turret

In my article on the many Bradley Variants, I mentioned that there have been a number of efforts to upgrade the gun on the Bradley, including utilizing the 35 x 228 mm caliber. One such design was the CVAST1 demonstrator. I found a good bit of detail on it in a 1986-1987 copy of Jane’s Armour and Artillery.

As a brief side note, I can’t recommend old copies of the Jane’s Information Group yearbooks enough. They’re packed with information, much of which you can’t get anywhere else, and while prices on the latest copies are eye-watering, older ones can be had for a song. This one came to my door for under $10, shipping included.

Anyway, the turret. The CVAST Bradley (there was also a CVAST turret on an M113) was designed around an ARES Talon 35 mm gun. This was a dual feed cannon, and it was compatible with all existing Oerlikon stocks of ammo, plus an (at the time) brand new APFSDS round. The CVAST turret was a “cleft turret” design, which put the turret in two separate manned sections with the gun in between. The gun mechanism itself was in a compartment behind the two crewed sections. This allowed the gun to have an elevation range of -10 degrees to + 60 degrees, and not have to worry about the turret roof getting in the way (or making the Bradley taller still) The commander sat on the left, and the gunner sat on the right. Elevation and traverse were all-electric. The 35 mm gun was fully stabilized.

The CVAST turret had an interesting wedge-shaped front and sides, and provided better protection than the then-current M2A1 turret (especially on the side where the TOW launcher took up some space for armor on the basic model). The CVAST turret could still mount the two-tube TOW launcher on the right side, but the launcher no longer folded down. It could pivot 45 degrees for loading, but remained in the horizontal “fire” position of the folding launcher during transit.

The CVAST turret matched the then-current Bradley for electrics and fire control components, having a thermal viewer, integrated laser rangefinder as well as cant, crosswind, air temperature, and propellant temperature sensors. A fully computerized fire control system was also provided. No independent commander’s thermal viewer was fitted yet (the M2 would not get this capability until the -A3 model was introduced in 2000).

Here’s where it gets very interesting. Listed ammunition capacity for the CVAST turret was 500 rounds. Five Hundred Rounds of the big 35 x 228 mm. Outstanding. That’s the same capacity of a BMP-2, but in a much bigger caliber. I’m not quite sure how this was done, since I don’t have internal turret diagrams. But there you have it. 500 rounds. Damn.

And that pretty much spoils what I think of the turret, doesn’t it? More rounds and bigger rounds? Sign me up. Even if we have to redo the optronics to bring them out of the 80s and augment the armor protection. I don’t care.

Verdict: Approved for Production by the Borgundy Armored Systems Board

1.) Combat Vehicle Armament System Technology

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