The ShKAS (Shpitalny-Komaritski Aviatsionny Skorostrelny, Shpitalny-Komaritski rapid fire machine gun for aircraft; ШКАС - Шпитальный, Комарицкий, Авиационный, Скорострельный) is a 7.62 mmmachine gun widely used by Soviet aircraft in the 1930s and during World War II. It was designed by Boris Shpitalniy and Irinarkh Komaritsky and entered production in 1934. ShKAS was used in the majority of Soviet fighters and bombers and served as the basis for the ShVAK cannon.
ShKAS is a gas-operated revolver-type machine gun. The high rate of fire is achieved thanks to the revolving 10-chamber drum fed by metal disintegrating link ammunition belt and the recoiling portion of the gun weighing only 921 grams (2.07 lb). ShKAS combat effectiveness was markedly improved thanks to N. M. Elizarov's armor-piercing and incendiary ammunition. Initial production consisted of cable-charged wing-mounted and turret-mounted ShKAS with a synchronized version entering service in 1936. In 1939, a small number of Ultra-ShKAS were produced featuring a firing rate of 3,000 rounds per minute but these saw only limited use due to reliability problems. A one-second burst from four ShKAS in Polikarpov I-153 or Polikarpov I-16 placed 120 bullets within 15 angular mils at 400 meters (1,312 feet) giving a firing density of 5 bullets per square meter of the sky. This was significantly higher than contemporary aircraft from other nations, especially... Read More