Trisha Shetty (Editor)

ADEN cannon

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Type  Revolver cannon
Used by  See users
Place of origin  United Kingdom
Designed  1946
ADEN cannon
Designer  Armament Development Establishment
Manufacturer  Royal Small Arms Factory

The Royal Small Arms Factory ADEN is a 30 mm revolver cannon used on many military aircraft, particularly those of the British Royal Air Force and Fleet Air Arm. Developed post-WWII primarily to meet British Air Ministry's requirement for increased lethality in aircraft armament, the cannon was fired electrically and is fully automatic once it is loaded.


Design & development

The ADEN (named for the Armament Development Establishment, where it was designed, and Enfield, where it was produced) was developed in the late 1940s as a replacement for the older Hispano-Suiza HS.404 20 mm cannon used in British aircraft of World War II. It is based (as are the French DEFA cannon and American M39 cannon) on the mechanism of the German Mauser MG 213C, an experimental revolver cannon designed for the Luftwaffe, but never used in combat. The ADEN entered service on the Hawker Hunter in 1954, and subsequently used on every British gun-armed aircraft until the advent of the Panavia Tornado in the 1980s.

The current version is the ADEN Mk 4. Although its muzzle velocity of 2,592 ft/s (790 m/s) is lower than the Hispano's 2,789 ft/s (850 m/s), the substantially larger and heavier projectile makes the ADEN more lethal, and it has a higher rate of fire of about 1,300 rounds per minute.

An improved version, the ADEN Mk 5, incorporates a multitude of small changes to improve reliability and increase rate of fire slightly to 1,500–1,700 rounds per minute. No new Mk 5s were built, but many older weapons were converted, being redesignated Mk 5 Straden.

Aircraft using the ADEN 30 as in-built armament have included the A-4S Skyhawk, English Electric Lightning, Folland Gnat (and HAL Ajeet), Hawker Hunter, Gloster Javelin, Saab Lansen, Saab Draken, SEPECAT Jaguar, Supermarine Scimitar, and CAC Sabre. Several podded versions exist, including the installations scabbed below the fuselage of British Hawker Siddeley Harrier (and USMC AV-8A/Cs) and Sea Harriers and the Swedish FFV Aden, which is used (among others) on the BAE Hawk. The FFV Aden contains the weapon and 150 rounds of ammunition, is 151.57 in (3.85 m) long, and weighs 802.5 lb (364 kg) fully loaded.

The ADEN is very similar to the French DEFA cannon, and the two weapons use the same range of 30 mm ammunition.


The ADEN Mk 5 became the basis for the planned ADEN 25, which was to be a somewhat larger weapon (length: 90 inches (2,290 mm), weight: 203 pounds (92.1 kg)) firing the new range of NATO 25 mm ammunition (as in the American GAU-12 Equalizer) at a much higher muzzle velocity of 3,445 feet per second (1,050 m/s). The lighter ammunition was also to produce a higher rate of fire, 1,650 to 1,850 rounds per minute. Unfortunately, severe development problems plagued the ADEN 25, which proved unable to meet its design weight target. It was finally cancelled in 1999. As a result, RAF Harrier GR.7 and GR.9 aircraft did not carry cannon, no attempt apparently having been made to retrofit the older ADEN 30 mm pods. Fleet Air Arm Sea Harriers retained the 30 mm weapon until their retirement in 2006.


  • Royal Australian Air Force
  •  Bahrain
  • Royal Bahraini Air Force
  •  Belgium
  • Belgian Air Component
  •  Chile
  • Chilean Air Force
  •  Denmark
  • Danish Air Force
  •  Finland
  • Finnish Air Force
  •  Iraq
  • Iraqi Air Force
  •  India
  • Indian Air Force
  • Indian Naval Air Arm
  •  Indonesia
  • Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU)
  •  Jordan
  • Royal Jordanian Air Force
  •  Kenya
  • Kenyan Air Force
  •  Kuwait
  • Kuwait Air Force
  •  Lebanon
  • Lebanese Air Force
  •  Netherlands
  • Royal Netherlands Air Force
  •  Malaysia
  • Royal Malaysian Air Force
  •  Oman
  • Royal Air Force of Oman
  •  Peru
  • Peruvian Air Force
  •  Qatar
  • Qatar Emiri Air Force
  •  Rhodesia (now  Zimbabwe)
  • Royal Rhodesian Air Force (later to Air Force of Zimbabwe)
  •  Saudi Arabia
  • Royal Saudi Air Force
  •  Singapore
  • Republic of Singapore Air Force
  •  South Africa
  • South African Air Force
  •  Republic of Korea
  • Republic of Korea Air Force
  •  Somalia
  • Somali Air Corps
  •  Spain
  • Spanish Naval Air Arm
  •  Sweden
  • Swedish Air Force
  •   Switzerland
  • Swiss Air Force
  •  Thailand
  • Royal Thai Navy Flying Unit
  •  United Arab Emirates
  • United Arab Emirates Air Force
  •  United Kingdom
  • Fleet Air Arm
  • Royal Air Force
  •  United States
  • United States Marine Corps Aviation
  • Please note that this list is not exhaustive.


    Data from Jane's Information Group

  • Type: single-barrel automatic cannon
  • Caliber: 30 mm (1.18 in) × 113 mm
  • Operation: revolver chamber
  • Length: 1.64 m (5 ft 5 in)
  • Weight (complete): 87.1 kg (192 lb)
  • Rate of fire: 1,200 - 1,700 rpm
  • Muzzle velocity: 790 m/s (2,592 ft/s)
  • Projectile weight: 220 g (7.76 oz)
  • References

    ADEN cannon Wikipedia

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