What Makes M242 Bushmaster Chain Gun Lethal?

What Makes M242 Bushmaster Chain Gun Lethal?

In modern warfare, the M242 Bushmaster chain gun has emerged as a formidable weapon, providing military forces with an incredible advantage on the battlefield. Developed by the famous firearms manufacturer Alliant Techsystems, now known as Northrop Grumman, this chain gun has become a crucial component of various armored vehicles and naval vessels. This article delves into the features, capabilities, and applications of the M242 Bushmaster chain gun, showcasing its significance in the ever-evolving landscape of military technology.

A Brief History of the M242 Bushmaster

The development of the M242 Bushmaster chain gun traces back to the 1970s when the need for a reliable and powerful cannon for military vehicles became apparent. The United States Army initiated the search for a suitable weapon to replace its aging M39 and M61 Vulcan machine guns. After a rigorous evaluation process, Alliant Techsystems’ prototype emerged as the winner, eventually leading to the adoption of the M242 Bushmaster in the Bradley Fighting Vehicle. Since then, it has undergone several upgrades, solidifying its position as a cutting-edge weapon system.

Design and Specifications

What Makes M242 Bushmaster Chain Gun Lethal?

1. Caliber and Ammunition

The M242 Bushmaster is a 25mm chain-driven, single-barrel weapon that can fire various munitions. Its caliber ensures a balance between firepower and precision, making it versatile in different combat scenarios. The gun can employ high-explosive, armor-piercing, and even airburst munitions, offering a comprehensive solution to engage various targets effectively.

2. Firing Rate and Range

One of the key features of the M242 is its impressive firing rate, capable of reaching up to 200 rounds per minute. This rapid rate of fire allows for suppressive fire, enabling friendly forces to maneuver or advance safely. Moreover, the gun has an effective range of approximately 2,000 meters, providing a considerable standoff distance against potential threats.

3. Stabilization and Targeting

The M242 Bushmaster is equipped with advanced stabilization and targeting systems, allowing for accurate firing on the move. This feature is especially vital in armored vehicles that traverse rough terrains, as it ensures precise targeting and minimal dispersion, significantly enhancing the gunner’s ability to neutralize threats.

Applications in Armored Vehicles

The M242 Bushmaster has found widespread use in various armored vehicles worldwide. One of its most prominent applications is in the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, where it serves as the primary armament. The chain gun’s versatility enables the Bradley to engage infantry and light armored vehicles effectively. Additionally, the gun’s rate of fire and ammunition options provide suppressive capabilities, aiding the infantry carried by the vehicle during dismounted operations.

Naval Integration

Beyond land-based applications, the M242 Bushmaster has successfully made its way onto naval vessels. It has been installed on patrol boats, corvettes, and other small craft to bolster their offensive capabilities. The gun’s reliable performance in harsh maritime conditions has made it a valuable asset for naval forces, offering an added layer of defense against potential threats at sea.

Advantages on the Battlefield

1. Versatility and Adaptability

The M242’s ability to fire various ammunition makes it adaptable to combat situations. The chain gun proves its effectiveness and reliability when engaging infantry, light vehicles, or fortified positions.

2. Suppressive Fire

With its high rate of fire, the M242 can lay down suppressive fire, pinning down enemy forces and creating opportunities for friendly troops to maneuver or retreat.

3. Precision and Accuracy

Thanks to its advanced stabilization and targeting systems, the M242 ensures accurate fire, maximizing the probability of hitting the intended targets even while moving.

Future Upgrades and Innovations

As military technology continues to evolve, the M242 Bushmaster is not exempt from upgrades and advancements. Engineers and developers constantly explore opportunities to enhance the gun’s performance, ranging from improved ammunition to more advanced fire control systems. The future iterations of the M242 promise even greater capabilities and effectiveness on the battlefield.


The M242 Bushmaster chain gun stands as a testament to the continuous evolution of military weaponry. Its versatility, firepower, and adaptability have solidified its position as a crucial asset in armored vehicles and naval vessels. With ongoing advancements and innovations, the M242 remains at the forefront of modern warfare, empowering military forces to maintain their superiority on the battlefield.


  1. What is the firing rate of the M242 Bushmaster chain gun? The M242 Bushmaster has an impressive firing rate of up to 200 rounds per minute.
  2. What types of ammunition can the M242 Bushmaster use? The M242 can fire various munitions, including high-explosive, armor-piercing, and airburst rounds.
  3. Which armored vehicle is commonly equipped with the M242 chain gun? The M242 is frequently used as the primary armament in the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.
  4. What range does the M242 Bushmaster have? The M242 has an effective range of approximately 2,000 meters.
  5. What sets the M242 Bushmaster apart from other chain guns? The M242’s versatility, adaptability, and advanced targeting systems distinguish it as a powerful and effective weapon on the battlefield.