Mauser BK-27

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Mauser BK-27
Mauser BK-27 LKCV.jpg
The Mauser BK-27
TypeRevolver cannon
Place of originGermany
Service history
Used bySee users
Production history
DesignerMauser (now Rheinmetall)
ManufacturerMauser (now Rheinmetall)
No. built3,100~
Mass100 kg (220 lboz)
Length2.31 m (7 ft 7 in)
Barrel length1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)

Shell27×145 mm
Caliber27 mm (1.063 in) caliber
BarrelsSingle barrel
Actionfive-chamber revolver
Rate of fire1,000–1,700 rpm (+/− 100 rpm), selectable
Muzzle velocity1,100 m/s (3,600 ft/s)[1]
Maximum firing rangeAir targets: 2,500 meters

Surface targets: 4,000 meters

High speed naval targets: 2,500 meters

The BK 27 (also BK27 or BK-27) (German acronym for Bordkanone, "on-board cannon") is a 27 mm (1.063 in) caliber revolver cannon manufactured by Mauser (now part of Rheinmetall) of Germany. It was developed in the late 1960s for the MRCA (Multi Role Combat Aircraft) program that ultimately became the Panavia Tornado.[2]

The BK 27 is a gas-operated cannon firing a series of 27×145 mm cartridges with a typical projectile weight of 260 g (9.2 oz), and a total weight for the complete round of 516 g (1.14 lb).[1] Most models use a linked feed system for the ammunition; however, the Eurofighter Typhoon makes use of a specially developed variant of the BK 27 that uses a linkless feed system instead, which is intended to improve reliability.[2]


The Mauser BK 27 is used in the Panavia Tornado, the Alpha Jet, the JAS 39 Gripen, and the Eurofighter Typhoon. At one time Lockheed Martin was considering a licensed-built version for the F-35 Lightning II.[3]

Rheinmetall has also developed remote controlled naval versions, the MN 27 GS and the MLG 27 fully automatic naval guns, which are installed on many ships of the German Navy. Ninety-nine MLG 27s have been ordered by the German Navy so far.[4] The cannon is a single-barrel, high performance, breech-cylinder gun operated by a fully automatic electrically fired gas-operated system at a selective rate of 1000 or 1700 rounds per minute(+/− 100 rpm).[2] The Mauser BK 27 utilizes pyrotechnic cocking charges to cycle the action.

The BK27 has a 3-4 times lower nominal fire rate than the M61 Vulcan, but its fire rate is constant throughout firing because the cannon does not need to start spinning the barrel/barrels. As a result, in conjunction with the larger caliber, the Mauser BK 27 fires in the first 0.5 s 4 kg of projectiles in contrast to the 2 kg of the M61 Vulcan which also needs about 25 kW electrical power on the maximum fire rate.[citation needed]

The gun mainly fires mine shells as these have the best effect against aircraft, there are also several types of armor piercing shells like the frangible armour piercing shell named Fap 27 mm x 145 mm ammunition/peb327 (DM103).


MLG 27 mounted on board an Elbe-class replenishment ship of the German Navy
MLG 27 on board a Berlin-class replenishment ship of the German Navy

Current operators[edit]

 Czech Republic
 Saudi Arabia
 South Africa
  • Swedish Air Force (under the designation 27 mm automatkanon m/85, 27 mm akan m/85): Gripen
 United Arab Emirates
 United Kingdom

Former operators[edit]

 United Kingdom


Helicopter-mounted Mauser BK-27

Data from Jane's Information Group[2]

  • Type: single-barrel, five chamber revolver cannon
  • Caliber: 27 mm × 145 (1.063 in)
  • Operation: revolver
  • Length: 2.31 m (7 ft 7 in)
  • Weight (complete): 100 kg (220 lb)
  • Rate of fire: 1,000-1,700 rpm selectable (+/− 100 rpm)
  • Muzzle velocity: 1,100 m/s (3,600 ft/s)
  • Muzzle energy: ~157,300 Joules
  • Projectile weight: 260 g (9.2 oz)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Germany 27 mm/145 MLG 27 - NavWeaps". Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Ian, V. Hogg; Terry, J. Gander (1998). "Cannon - 20 to 30 mm cannon: 27 x 145 B ammunition (Switzerland)". Jane's Ammunition Handbook. Jane's Information Group. ISBN 9780710617897.
  3. ^ Lockheed Martin favours German cannon for JSF
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-12-04. Retrieved 2010-05-26.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Algerian National Navy, Algeria Naval forces, القوات البحرية الجزائرية, naval defence industry, navy technology, frigates, corvettes, submarines, systems". 2012-07-25. Retrieved 2019-02-05.
  6. ^ "Saab Presents First Gripen E to Brazil". Saab. 10 September 2019.

External links[edit]