Munitions / Pods / UPK-23

UPK-23

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Gun pod

  • ORIGIN
    USSR

  • NICKNAMES
    UPK / Unifitsirovannyj Pushechnyj Kontejner, universal gun pod

  • DESIGNED
    1970's

  • DESIGNER
    MMPP design bureau

  • PRODUCTION
    1970's - present

  • PRODUCERS
    Russia
    USSR

  • QUANTITY
    Unknown

  • UNIT COST
    Unknown

  • CHARACTERISTICS
    Good firepower
    Lower weight than SPPU-22
    Simpler design than SPPU-22
    Difficult to aim
    Less suitable for fixed wing aircraft

Introduction

The UPK-23 is a late Cold War era basic and powerful gun pod of Soviet origin. It was developed in the 1970's to provide the Mi-24 Hind attack helicopter with more firepower and can be used on most fighter aircraft as well. The UPK-23 sometimes referred to as the UPK-23-250 with the number 23 denoting its 23mm caliber and the 250 being its ammunition capacity. The name UPK stands for Unifitsirovannyj Pushechnyj Kontejner, which is Russian for universal gun pod.

Design

The UPK-23 is a gun pod of a fairly simple design. The round aerodynamic pod houses a single fixed twin barrel GSh-23L autocannon at the front and associated ammunition at the rear. For operation the pod requires external power which is provided by the aircraft. Since the cannon is fixed it is aimed by pointing the aircraft in the direction of the target. Compared to the SPPU-22 pod with similar but flexible armament the UPK-23 is much lighter.

Firepower

The UPK-23 features a single twin barrel GSh-23L autocannon and 250 rounds of 23x115mm ammunition. The cyclic rate of fire is 3.000 rpm and the maximum effective range is 2 km. The 23mm rounds are effective against infantry, soft skin vehicles and light armored vehicles.

Users

The UPK-23 is most commonly found on the Mi-24 Hind attack helicopter and armed version of the Mi-8 Hip transport helicopter, but is used ground attack fighters such as the Su-17, Su-25 and MiG-23 as well. For fixed wing aircraft the slightly heavier SPPU-22 gun pod with flexible armament usually is a better option. The UPK-23 remains available although it is unknown if these are newly produced or refurbished pods.

Variants

UPK-23

UPK-23: The UPK-23 is a gun pod with the twin barrel GSh-23L with 250 rounds of ammunition as armament. The gun is fixed and the flight path must be adjusted to aim the UPK-23. There are no derivatives or variants.

TypeGun pod
PlatformAircraft, helicopters
Length3.2 m
Diameter0.395 m
Weight218 kg loaded
Armament23mm GSh-23L autocannon with 250 rounds
Remarks250 mm lug spacing

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