Linkless Ammunition Feed Systems

Problem and Solution

Since the early days in the development of the Vulcan guns, it was realized that the standard links and methods of storing and moving ammunition belts was limiting the successful operation of the guns. The time to accelerate the guns to full rate of 6000 spin was less than 0.4 second. The time to stop the gun from full rate was the same 0.4 second. These operations, together with the need for numerous short bursts in quick sequence with ammunition loads of up to 1000 rounds demanded the conception of new ammo storage and conveyance systems.

The Vulcan feeders pulled the ammo belts apart. Links would stretch, increasing their pitch and causing misfeeds at the entrance to the feeders. Links passing through the feeders at a rate of 100 per second would deform and break. Ammo belts going through fans, twists and bends created too much friction and would stall, snap and break. Conventional ammo box stacking methods of folds and loops caused extremely high accelerations and 4,S" bends of the free belts inside the boxes. These caused breaks and jams at the exits of the boxes.

Heavier and stronger links were tried and seemed to help, except they increased the stripping loads inside the feeders, causing more problems. Loading new rounds into these links became more difficult, sometimes damaging the ammo.

Soon, better link metallurgy and quality control, together with new ammo boosters and belt reservoirs and unique ammo storage containers were developed that allowed quite successful Vulcan firing up to rates

Rotating Scoop Disc Assembly

Rotating Retainer Gear

Chuting

Stationary Drum Rails

Stationary Drum Rails

Rotating Scoop Disc Assembly

Rotating Retainer Gear

Chuting

Linkless Feed System

Helical Inner Drum

To Gun Exit Unit

Helical Inner Drum

To Gun Exit Unit

Double-Ended Linkless Feed System of 4000 spin. However, full firing rates of 6(X)0 spm were still marginal and very unreliable.

General Electric, Roy S. Sanford and Co., Nobles Engineering Co., and other industries with Springfield Armory and Eglin Air Force Base continued to work for new solutions. The conditions became critical in the middle 1950's when Vulcan gun installations were being made on the F104 and on the F105, the Air Forces new fighter aircraft.

The F104 became limited to fire only up to 4000 spm. The F105 fired at 6000 spm but in order to do so, it had a dual feed system, with two ammo boxes and ammo belts. These fed into a dual feeder on the gun that cleverly mixed the two incoming ammo belts into one single stream of ammo into the gun for an acceptable but for a less than desirable and complicated teed system of questionable reliability with high maintainability.

During this time, the Roy S. Sanford and Co. conceived the Linkless Feed Drum. It was soon rec ognized as the missing solution for successful Vulcan firing at 6000 spm. This drum was then taken under development by General Electric through Springfield Armory and Eglin Air Force Base, and it was soon turned into an ammo feed and storage system for the F105D fighter for successful firing at 6000 spm for the first time.

Nobles Engineering and General- Electric also worked on improving the ammo flexible feed chuting, the new links (now called conveyor elements) and the element flexible chuting. The new conveyor elements were stronger but no longer gripped the ammo. They merely encompassed each round forming a chain that moved the ammo through the flexible chuting.

Description and Operation

The Linkless Ammunition Feed System stores new ammunition without links in its drum, up to 1000 rounds or more. At the exit of the drum, the ammo is

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Responses

  • maximilian
    How linkless feed systems work?
    2 years ago
  • Casey Watt
    How a linkless feed system works?
    2 years ago
  • david jones
    How does a linkless feed system work?
    2 years ago

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