Butt Fan, R
Nose Fan, R
90 0 Twist
move in mass toward the exit end of the drum as the helix is rotated.
The ammo wrould fall out of the drum, as the helix turns, one round at a time, as the end of helix pushes the round past its restraining partitions. Actually, at the end of the helix is a sprocket. So, instead of the round falling it enters into the sprocket. In fact, the helix is a double helix and there are two sprockets, each catching a round as the end of the helix(s) passes each partition. The sprockets are 180° from each other.
The end of the drum has a cover inside of which is a ring of retainers which are geared to the helix. The retainers take the rounds from the sprockets and move the rounds to the fixed exit port on the cover. The drum exit unit is located outside this port, and has a sprocket that reaches into the port to pick up all the rounds, one at a time, from the retainers. This produces a continuous flow of ammo from the drum's storage area, through the exit area to the exit unit.
The exit unit simply places cach round into a conveyor as the conveyor passes through the exit unit. The belt of conveyors ride inside the flexible chuting to the transfer unit and to the gun.
If the system is "double-ended" the conveyor will bring the spent cases back to the entrance side of the drum where the entrance unit will place them into the drum in a reverse manner from which the new ammo left the exit end of the drum. The conveyors will proceed to the exit unit for a new round and repeat the cycle.
If the system is "single-ended" the spent cases or duds are ejected overboard from the gun. The empty conveyors will go back to the exit unit for a new round and repeat the cycle of exit unit to gun to exit unit, etc.
When loading a 4'single-ended system the rotation of the system is reversed and the system runs backward for "back-loading."
The linklcss ammunition feed system is used on Vulcan M61A1 20mm gun systems, on Minigun GAU-2/A 7.62mm gun systems and on the Avenger GAU-8/A 30mm gun system. The minigun also has two inventive variations, one for side-fire and the other for the AT-37 nose system. Linked rotary storage systems have been used on minigun programs, one called the MA ME on the Emerson XI11-28 turret (Cobras) and the other callcd the Universal Rotary Ammunition Storage System (GE experimental).
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