Volkov-Yartsev VYa-23

Volkov-Yartsev VYa-23

Volkov-Yartsev VYa-23 (Волков-Ярцев ВЯ-23) is a 23 mm autocannon used on Soviet aircraft during World War II.


In 1940, A.A. Volkov and S.A.Yartsev created an autocannon called TKB-201 for the new 23 mm round. It was intended to be the primary weapon of the Ilyushin Il-2 ground attack aircraft. Due to unavailability of Il-2, the first airborne testing was performed using a German Messerschmitt Bf 110 heavy fighter. After testing on Il-2 in 1941, TKB-201 was accepted into service as VYa-23. A total of 64,655 VYa-23 were built.


VYa-23 is a gas-operated belt-fed autocannon with a high rate of fire for the caliber. Its main disadvantages are powerful recoil and very abrupt functioning of the firing and reloading mechanisms which decreased service life and often caused jamming that could not be fixed in mid-air. The 23 mm (0.9 in) ammunition consisted of fragmentation-incendiary, fragmentation-incendiary-tracer, and armor piercing-incendiary rounds. The rounds weighed 200 g (7 oz) and fragmentation rounds contained 10 g (0.35 oz) of explosive material, both characteristics about twice greater than in 20 mm ammunition used by the ShVAK and Berezin B-20 cannons. The armor-piercing round could penetrate 25 mm (1 in) of armor at 400 m (1,300 ft). In spite of the large round and heavy recoil, VYa-23 proved to be a disappointment in its intended anti-tank role. Light German tanks could be defeated from the side or rear only, with front armor of all tanks impervious. Medium tanks could be defeated if hit into the top of the turret or the engine compartment from under 400 m (1,300 ft) in a greater than 40-degree dive -- a very difficult maneuvre in Il-2 even under the most ideal conditions compounded by the difficulty of aiming at a small target.

pecifications (VYa-23)

* Caliber: 23 mm (0.9 in)
* Overall length: 2.15 m (7 ft 1 in)
* Barrel length: 1.66 m (5 ft 5 in)
* Empty weight: 66 kg (145 lb)
* Rate of fire: 550-650 rounds/min
* Muzzle velocity: 905 m/s (2,970 ft/s)


* Широкоград А.Б. (2001) "История авиационного вооружения" Харвест (Shirokograd A.B. (2001) "Istorya aviatsionnogo vooruzhenia" Harvest. ISBN 985-433-695-6) ("History of aircraft armament")

Related content

Related developments:

Similar weapons:
* ShVAK cannon
* MG FF cannon
* MG 151 cannon
* Hispano HS.404 cannon
* Berezin B-20 cannon
* Nudelman N-37 cannon
* Nudelman-Suranov NS-37 cannon

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