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PGU-14 30mm API Round

US 30mm Armour piercing incendiary round used in the A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft

  • The most frequently fired DU ammunition
  • Fired by A-10 aircraft, typically in a mix of 5 DU rounds to 1 high explosive
  • Manufactured by both General Dynamics and Alliant Techsystems

PGU-14/B 30mm round horizontal

The PGU-14 is the most frequently fired uranium munition. It was developed with the intention of being able to penetrate tanks, with development completing in the mid 1970s, and deployment to NATO forces in europe in 1978. It is known to have been fired in Iraq, Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo.

Although it was developed for the A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft (colloquially known as the 'Warthog'), it is part of a family of 30 x 173 mm ammunition. Guns which shoot rounds of this type include:

  • GAU-8/A, found in the A-10 and used in the Goalkeeper Close In Weapons System on numerous ships
  • MK 44 Bushmaster II, found in the Bionix II Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV), and planned for the US Marines Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV)
  • Mauser MK 30, found on German and Itallian Ships

However, the PGU-14/B is only thought to have been used with the A-10. The round is manufactured by both General Dynamics-Ordnance Tactical Systems in Marion, Illinois,  and Alliant Techsystems in New Brighton, Minnesota. The round contains a penetrator made with uranium alloyed to another metal.

In the A-10, the PGU-14 is used alongside the PGU-13 High Explosive Incendiary round in a single belt feed. A ratio often described as 'typical' is 5 PGU-14 for every PGU-13, but different ratios appear to have been used in different conflicts. A third round, the PGU-15/B Target Practice round, is ballistically matched to the other two rounds, in order to allow trainees to practice with a low cost alternative. General Dynamics state that, taking these three types together, they have produced more than one hundred million rounds. Figures for the total number produced by Alliant Techsystems are not known

In early 2010, ICBUW broke the story that the United States was moving away from using uranium in medium calibre rounds. The Joint Strike Fighter, planned to replace the A-10, is being tested with the Rheinmetal all purpose Frangible Armour Piercing round containing tungsten. However, the PGU-14/B is expected to remain in active service for some time.

In 2009 General Dynamics was awarded a contract to remanufacture 126,090 PGU-14 rounds. In March 2010 a notice was posted in the local press stating ATK were hoping to use Radford Army Plant to assemble, load and package PGU-14/B rounds using penetrators shipped in from elsewhere, which was approved by the Virginia department of health.