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M163 SP Vulcan Air Defense System (VADS) Battery Operations

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Uploaded on Apr 26, 2009

The M163 Vulcan Air Defense System (VADS) is a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun (SPAAG) that was used by the United States Army. The M168 gun is a variant of the General Dynamics 20 mm M61 Vulcan rotary cannon—the standard cannon in most US combat aircraft since the 1960s.

The weapon is either mounted on a modified M113 vehicle (the M741 carrier) or on a towed trailer, which is designated the M167. The systems were designed to complement the M48 Chaparral missile system. The M163s uses a small, range-only radar, the AN/VPS-2, and an M61 optical lead-calculating sight. The gun fires at 3,000 rounds per minute in short bursts of 10, 30, 60, or 100 rounds, or it can fire in continuous fire mode at a rate of 1,000 rounds per minute. In the M163 a linkless feed system is used, in the M167 (towed) linked ammunition is used. The system is suitable for night operations with the use of AN/PVS series night vision sights that mount above the sight reticle. VADS was slated to be replaced by the M247 Sergeant York DIVADS (Divisional Air Defense System), but that system was cancelled due to cost overruns and technical problems.

Although it was designed primarily as an air defense weapon, it is not very effective against modern fast moving fixed wing aircraft. Consequently the Vulcan gun system was in use throughout the late 80's and early 90's primarily as a ground support weapon. For example, VADS guns were used to support American ground assault troops in Panama in 1989 during Operation Just Cause. One Vulcan of B btry. 2/62 ADA even sank a PDF Vosper PT boat.

Eventually the M48 and M163 were both replaced in US service by the M1097 Avenger and the M6 Linebacker (M2 Bradley with FIM-92 Stinger missiles instead of the standard TOW anti-tank missiles).

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