The Direction générale de l'armement (DGA) has placed an order for 49 30M791 cannons from Nexter-KNDS for the Rafale aircraft, an order that has been placed ahead of an official confirmation of 42 additional Rafale aircraft orders.
The expected additional orders consist of 30 aircraft from the 5th batch and 12 replacements for those delivered to Croatia, as proposed in the 2023 Finance Act. This most recent order, however, has initiated a study into treatments that comply with the REACH regulation for this ‘combat proven' weapon.
REACH regulation has been effective since 2007 and mandates industries to detail all chemical substances utilized based on their level of potential harm. The regulation allows for the prohibition of substances deemed particularly detrimental to health and the environment.
30M791 Cannon Characteristics
The 30M791 cannon, manufactured in Bourges, is a single-barrel, gas-operated weapon capable of firing 2500 rounds per minute. This implies it can propel 42 rounds in one second, equivalent to 1.5 kg of explosive. The ammunition used is a semi-armor-piercing incendiary round of 30×150 caliber, also developed by Nexter-KNDS.
The ‘profiled' rounds used in the 30M791 cannon are launched ‘at over 1000 meters per second to considerably enhance the likelihood of hitting their target', according to the manufacturer. These rounds also offer exceptional safety to Rafale pilots and operators, even in extremely restricted environments such as the ‘Charles de Gaulle' aircraft carrier. This is primarily due to a double safety fuse and a primer that is not sensitive to electromagnetic radiation.