Tuesday, May 15, 2018

AF ponders A-10 DU replacement

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Florida – The Air Force is pondering how best to acquire more PGU-14 ammunition, currently made by Orbital ATK, for the A-10. Its existing bullet inventory, averaging 32 years old, is aging out, said Bob DuPont of the 780th Test Squadron's guns and missiles department. It's unknown if the Air Force will stick with 30mm depleted-uranium (DU) rounds or if it will switch to tungsten. Depleted uranium, 60 percent more dense than lead, is used for its ability to pierce armored vehicles. Tungsten is comparable to uranium but a bit less dense, so manufacturers must balance out the weight to match today's PGU-14 rounds, which each weigh some 14 ounces. DuPont said the service is reaching out to the defense industry to see if adding a mix of alloy samples will allow tungsten to meet requirements. DU PGU-14 bullets are tested every two years on Eglin's northern range in a controlled fire exercise, required by the Pentagon for the ammo to be recertified for use in combat. (Source: Military.com, 05/14/18)