Automatic cannon round

I had previously posted this on another forum. This inert automatic cannon round, given to me, has an overall length of 11-1/2 inches with the red driving band diameter of 1-1/4 inches. The case is inert blue. The case head is stenciled with NOR-4-12-77 and 28107310 N. It was identified as the 30X173mm cannon round, but a question arose as to the color bands. Jane’s book indicates yellow is depleted uranium and the red band on yellow is depleted plutonium. I’m not quite sure what this means. Does red band on yellow mean the entire projectile is depleted plutonium or is it just the driving band that is depleted plutonium and the rest of the projectile is depleted uranium? What is the tip of the projectile, which is colorless, made of? Any other information would also be helpful.

Clermont, I can not say what Jane’s was stating there and if it was missunderstood fort some reason.

You have here a HE or HEI projectile, no relation to DU at all.

The “DU” would relate to AP projectiles where the core inside would consist of DU.

Indeed - yellow is the commonly-used colour for HE, the red band could indicate a tracer or an incendiary element (practices vary between nations and over time).

To which Jane’s book are you referring?

The red “band” here is a bit confusing since it is the material of the driving band so it may have no significance.

The Janes book that was being referred to was Janes, Pacific Defence Report, Ammunition Section.

“Depleted Plutonium”?

LOL, just noticed it. Clearly a missunderstanding somewhere.

Strange, I’ve never heard of that one.

Jane’s is a big organisation which publishes many different books, periodicals and reports, but if any part of it was writing specifically about ammunition, you’d think the authors would refer to their own Ammunition Handbook, wouldn’t you?

Do you think you could post or send me a scan of the page with that “information” on it? I’ll follow this up…

The only information I have is from the thread I started, previously, on another forum. I have no additional information. Here is the link.

This is a 30x173mm PGU-13/B HEI (High Explosive Incendiary) round for the GAU-8/A cannon used on the A-10 “Warthog”. As others have stated, the yellow projectile indicates high explosive and the red driving band indicates incendiary.

When the GAU-8/A was first put into service, the Air Force required two industry sources for ammunition in order to ensure the security and safety of the ammunition supply. Aerojet and Honeywell were the companies who were selected to supply the ammunition; your round looks like it was loaded by Honeywell.

Honeywell cartridges for the GAU-8/A typically have a single wide plastic driving band like yours, while Aerojet cartridges typically have two smaller plastic driving bands. Additionally, Honeywell used colored driving bands as part of the projectile’s color code scheme, while Aerojet typically painted the secondary identifying band on the projectile.

Here’s a page that shows a PGU-13/B from Aerojet:

The PGU-14/B API (Armor Piercing Incendiary) round has a depleted uranium penetrator inside of an aluminum projectile body. Honeywell PGU-14/B projectiles would be black with a red driving band, while Aerojet PGU-14/B projectiles would be black with a red painted band (or a red wind screen on later loadings).

Here’s a photo of a PGU-14/B and a few PGU-15/B TP (Target Practice) cartridges loaded by Aerojet:

The information stamped on the case head relates to the manufacturer of the cartridge case. The cartridge case for your round was made by Norris Industries in 1977. Loaded rounds would have additional information stamped on the side of the case with information on the load/manufacturer/etc. This is not always present on inert-loaded rounds.

If anybody has additional information on driving band/color code differences between Aerojet and Honeywell cartridges, I’d be grateful if you could pass that on to me. I’m currently doing research for an article on the development of GAU-8/A ammunition, and my statements regarding the projectile differences are based on observations of cartridges in my collection and in the Woodin Lab collection. I have yet to find definitive documentation that states “Honeywell always used colored driving bands” or “Aerojet always used 2 small driving bands”. I would be particularly interested if anyone has cartridges that deviate from this scheme. Thanks in advance!

Addressing the color code, there apparently was none that lasted for more than a batch run. These rounds make for a most colorful collection, if nothing else.

A '70s era DU is 2nd from the right.

For those who don’t know and were wondering where the Incendiary would be in the DU round, DU is naturally Pyrophoric (i.e., burns when it hits the target at high speed). That’s why there is a light show when you watch videos of A10’s hitting a target. Also explains the high incidence of radiation exposure for U.S. Service Personnel who come in contact with said targets.

Rick, outstanding collection!!! Thanks for sharing the images.

In case if it is not known, the cases are color coded and each color is indicating a particular case manufacturer.

Here’s one you don’t see every day. Rocket assisted.

And a closeup of the DU.

Rick, you are killing me!!!

Here is the joint US-Canada all purple version.

I think that’s more of a fucia.

Nice Rocket Assisted 30MM, Rick! WOW! Never heard of or seen one of those. Sweet! Nice that is sectioned also. That is one sweet 30!


Sounds like an Italian curse word.

[quote=“SlickRick”]Here’s one you don’t see every day. Rocket assisted.

Rick, here what Dale Davis wrote about your round: