Rarden United Kingdom

(Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment)

30mm Rarden Ammunition

30mm X21E2 Automatic Gun


In the late 1960's, Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment, Fort Halsted and the Royal Small Arms Factory in Enfield began jointly developing a new 20mm gun for use in the 1970's. Research showed that guns of 20mm and 25mm would have insufficient punch to be effective in the 1970's, and the requirement for the new gun, therefore, demanded first the defeat of light armour at ranges up to at least 1,000 meters, and secondly, infantry support and a limited capability against low-flying aircraft. It was designed to attack with individually-aimed single shots which require a much lighter mounting than most automatic weapons.

Description and Purpose

The Rarden 30mm is designed to arm light armored vehicles and give them the capability of defeating other light to medium armored vehicles. It is primarily used as a semi-automatic weapon.

The ammunition used is the Oerlikon manufactured HS831L 30mm round (1080 m/sec) and a special RARDE Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot round (1200 plus m/sec).

The overall length of the gun is 117 inches (only 9 inches must be inboard) and the weight is about 210 pounds. The quick-change barrel, 96 inches long, weighs 59 pounds with flashhider. The gun is capable of automatic fire at 120 rounds per minute for a maximum of six rounds (those six are one in the chamber and five in the feedway). The gun is fed with three round clips.

The method of operation is long recoil and locking is with a sliding breech block.

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