The Bushmaster is a 25mm autocannon of US origin. It was developed in the early 1970’s for the M2 Bradley mechanized infantry combat vehicle.

Recent videos of Ukraine’s Bradley M2A2s demonstrating their formidable combat effectiveness against Russia’s BMP-2 and T-90M have attracted special attention from the military enthusiast community. And what makes the Bradley’s strength is its powerful Bushmaster gun. Surprisingly results against the T-90M, proving that infantry fighting vehicles can engage and cause significant damage to modern main battle tanks. On the other hand, tactical strategy and situational factors play a central role in the engagement.

The Bushmaster is a 25mm autocannon of US origin. It was developed in the early 1970’s for the M2 Bradley mechanized infantry combat vehicle. The Bushmaster has proven to be a reliable and versatile weapon system that has been used on a wide number of vehicles, various naval applications and a few aircraft mountings. Later developments include the Bushmaster II and III that fire the more powerful 30mm and 35mm rounds respectively.

The Bushmaster is a single barrel chaingun with double belt feed. The externally powered chain driven mechanism results in an extremely reliable weapon with a limited rate of fire. The mechanism also ensures that little gasses escape into the crew compartment and that the shell cases are gently ejected forward.

The Bushmaster fires the 25mm NATO round that was first developed for use with the Swiss KBA autocannon. A wide variety of US and NATO ammunition is available. The rate of fire is selectable at 100 or 200 rpm. In theory 500 rpm is possible but most mounts cannon provide enough power. This rapid-fire capability is particularly useful in targeting fast-moving objects or in situations where a high volume of fire is needed to suppress or destroy enemy positions. The maximum effective range is about 2 km while the slant range for high explosive rounds is 3 km. With depleted uranium APDS rounds the Bushmaster was even used sucessfully against T-55 tanks.

While standard 25mm cannon rounds may not typically penetrate the advanced armor of a T-90M, the Bushmaster’s ability to fire specialized armor-piercing rounds is noteworthy. The M242 Bushmaster is compatible with a range of ammunition types, including armor-piercing rounds such as the M791 APDS-T and the M919 APFSDS-T round, which is made of depleted uranium.

The Ukrainian soldiers probably employed either the M791 APDS-T round, designed for armor penetration through high-velocity kinetic energy, or the M919 APFSDS-T round. These rounds, while not typically effective against modern main battle tanks like the T-90M due to their advanced armor systems, could have inflicted critical damage by targeting less protected areas of the tank or key components like vision blocks, sensors, or tracks. This damage could explain why the T-90M appeared to be ineffective in the video.

Modern tanks like the T-90M rely heavily on their sensors and optics for situational awareness. This includes not only locating enemy forces but also navigating terrain and coordinating with other units. Besides offensive operations, sensors and optics are essential for a tank’s self-defense. Damage to these sensors would severely limit the tank’s ability to detect and engage enemy forces, particularly in long-range and all-weather engagements. The M242 Bushmaster chain gun’s damages on this system could potentially affect the tank’s ability to fire accurately, potentially reducing its combat effectiveness. The 25mm Bushmaster chain gun, known for its high rate of fire, could have allowed the Bradley crew to exploit brief moments of vulnerability in the T-90M’s defenses.

Regarding Bradley, new images revealed on social networks show that Ukrainian IFVs are now equipped with explosive reactive armor, mounted on the front and sides of the hull and includes a counter-drone electronic warfare solution. The armor appears to be very similar to that mounted on the American M2A3 Bradley, which enhances protection against a variety of anti-armor munitions including RPG.

The use of drones in the Ukraine conflict underscores the evolving nature of warfare, where asymmetric tactics and technology play a crucial role. To counter these new threats the Bradley M2A2 IFVs of the 47th Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces are equipped with an anti-drone electronic warfare system. The jamming solution in counter-drone electronic warfare involves a series of steps designed to neutralize unmanned aerial vehicles or drones, which are becoming increasingly prevalent in various contexts. The primary objective of jamming is to disrupt the communication and navigation systems of a drone, rendering it ineffective or forcing it to land.

Strong in firepower, and now better protected, the Bradley is proving its capabilities on the battlefield. The US has pledged to provide nearly 190 M2 armored vehicles to Ukraine. According to Oryx, Ukraine lost at least 65 M2 armored vehicles, of which 30 were destroyed, 23 were damaged, 11 were abandoned and one was captured by Russian forces

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