Advanced Metalworking Solutions for
Naval Systems that Go in Harm's Way

Comanche Gun Barrel Modeling and Analysis


Determine options for design modifications that will allow the Army’s RAH-66 Comanche helicopter to meet the 500-round fire-out capability for its 20mm Gatling gun.

Technical Approach

A phased approach will support activities at ARDEC and will be coordinated with ongoing development work by the gun manufacturer, General Dynamics Armament Systems (GDAS). First, condition of the bore surface will be assessed on a condemned barrel through a detailed metallurgical examination. These data will support development of an analytical model that will calculate barrel temperature profiles. The model will be based on geometry, internal ballistics, and heat transfer mechanisms. In Phase II, this model will be validated using data from an instrumented 30mm barrel. A two-dimensional ANSYS model will allow advanced material property input and thermomechanical analysis capability. These results will help to pinpoint critical wear-prone regions in the bore. Subsequent design modifications will include modeling and development of alternate bore surface/barrel jacket materials. Phase III will involve design, manufacture, and testing of a prototype barrel.


Successful materials/design modifications will provide the RAH-66 helicopter with life extension and reliable fire-out capability for the 20mm three-barrel gun system.


Design and development at the NCEMT and at GDAS with coordination through ARDEC will assure a rapid, cost-effective transition of the gun system modifications to successful deployment on the weapons platform.