ⓘ MK 103 cannon


ⓘ MK 103 cannon

The Rheinmetall-Borsig MK 103 was a German 30 mm caliber autocannon that was mounted in German combat aircraft during World War II. Intended to be a dual purpose weapon for anti-tank and air-to-air fighting, it was developed from the MK 101. Compared to the MK 101 it was faster firing, and was originally intended to develop a higher muzzle velocity than the MK 101. Unlike the MK 101, the MK 103 used a belt feed, allowing it to potentially carry a larger ammunition load. The MK 103 used electrically-primed rather than percussion-primed ammunition. The operating mechanism differed from the recoil-operated MK 101 in that it used a combination of gas and recoil operation. After firing, gas pressure served to unlock the breech, while barrel recoil was used to cycle the action.

Due to the combination of low quality steels and lighter components, the mechanism of MK 103 was not as strong as the MK 101. To counteract this weakness he ammunition with a reduced load of fuel, resulting in the loss of about 100 m / s muzzle velocity compared to the MK 101, but the rate of fire was increased. The MK 103 entered service in 1943 as the primary weapons from the Hs 129 b-1 ground-attack / tank destroyer aircraft, mounted on the bottom of the fuselage in a conformal gun pod.

The original specification for the MK 103 called for him to fit inside of an aircraft engine mounts possibly as a Motorkanone, firing through a hollow propeller but it was too big and heavy to fit into small fighters, like Bf 109. If mounted elsewhere, for example in the wing, asymmetric recoil force of guns, as a rule, the yaw of the aircrafts nose in one direction. The only known use of the MK 103 Motorkanone was in the Do 335. Was developed a modified version with a reduced profile of the barrel, the MK 103M, and perhaps tested for use as a Motorkanone cannon on single-engine fighters such as the BF 109 investors in the thousands, but probably never saw active military service. As a consequence, the MK 103 was largely confined to the role of "air-ground" weapon for use against armored vehicles.

The projectile Weights of the MK 103 was 330 g / 12 oz) He / m ammunition and 355 grams 12.5 oz) for subcaliber ammunition. Armor penetration for apcr 42-52 mm 1.7–2.0 in / 60° / 300 m or 980 ft 75-95 mm 3.0–3.7 In / 90° / 300 m 980 ft.

Limited serial production of the fighter 190А MF and Fw 190F engine ground attack fighter, who used a particularly strong wing / fuselage design includes two MK 103 cannons, one mounted under each wing in a conformal gondola style. Later in the war the MK 103 was also used as ground anti-aircraft AA weapon with single or double mounts. It was also used as an anti-aircraft autocannon in the flakpanzer IV "Kugelblitz".

Developed in conjunction with the MK 103 was lighter MK 108 cannons which had a shorter barrel and used a modified blow-back operating system. He was fired the same projectile using a smaller sleeve less fuel, at a relatively low initial velocity of the projectile. The shorter the barrel, made her more adjusted to it has seen much wider application.

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