- Coaxial weapon
A coaxial weapon is a weapon system that is mounted side-by-side with the main weapon system, usually on a
main battle tankshave a coaxial machine gunmounted to fire along a parallel axis to the main gun. Coaxial weapons are usually aimed by use of the main gun control. It is usually used to engage infantryor other "soft" targets when the main gun collateral damage would be excessive, or to conserve main gun ammunition. In some cases, especially on earlier tanks, ballistically matched ammunition was used in the coaxial machine gun to sight the main gun using tracer rounds.
An example of this kind of arrangement can be seen on the U.S.
M1 Abramsmain battle tank and the M2 Bradleyfighting vehicle. The coaxially mounted weapon on these vehicles is the M240 machine gun, giving the tank commander a choice between using either the main gun or the lighter machine gun, as the situation dictates. The Russian BMP-3takes the idea of coaxial weapons to the extreme, with both a 30 mm autocannonand a 7.62 mm PK machine gunmounted on either side of the main 100 mm gun.
recoilless riflesand rocket-propelled grenades use a coaxially mounted rifle to sight the weapon onto target. A modern day example of this is the British LAW 80which has a small spotting rifle, mounted underneath the main tube, which can fire up to five pre-loaded tracer rounds.
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