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Oerlikon Contraves is a Swiss anti-aircraft artillery manufacturer made famous by its Oerlikon 20 mm autocannon design of 1914, used in the First and Second World Wars, and still in use today. Copies and derivatives of these designs were used by the Germans, French, British and Japanese weapon manufacturers.

Oerlikon was established in 1906 in Switzerland in the machine tool industry. In 1923 it acquired a factory in Germany. It entered the anti-aircraft defence field in 1924. In 1936 it founded a purely anti-aircraft development company called Contraves (Latin for against birds).

Nowadays the company is known as Oerlikon-Contraves and employs 2,100 worldwide with a yearly turnover of 522 million Swiss francs. Oerlikon is now a subsidiary of Rheinmetall-DeTec AG, a large German armament manufacturer.

Product Areas Edit

Today Oerlikon Contraves is specialized in the areas of Ground Based Air Defence (GBAD) and Naval Air Defence. Products range from Search and Tracking Sensors to 35mm Air Defence Guns including Command and Control Posts, Battle Management and ship based Combat Systems.

Naval Systems Edit

Current Oerlikon Naval Products:
Search and Acquisition Radar: Oerlikon X-TAR3D/M
Radar and Electro Optical Tracking Modules: Oerlikon TMX/EO NT and Oerlikon TMX/EO Mk2
Naval Gun Systems: Oerlikon Millennium 35 mm Naval Revolver Gun System together with Rheinmetall
Command and Control: Oerlikon Seaguard Command and Control Console and Oerlikon Weapon Control Module

Ground Based Air Defence Edit

Latest Oerlikon Ground Based Air Defence Products:
Ground Based Air Defence Unit:
Oerlikon Skyshield consisting of 1 sensor unit, 1 command post and 2 Oerlikon Skyshield 35 mm Revolver Gun System
Mobile Air Defence: Oerlikon Skyranger

Further Products:
Oerlikon 35 mm twin cannon in various configurations
Air Defense Anti-Tank System

Historic Products Edit

File:HMAS-Castlemaine-gun-2-1.jpg
Oerlikon 20 mm:

American versions such as the Mk 4, Mk 10, and Mk 24, were used extensively from the World War II era to the of Vietnam era. Originally used as anti-aircraft weapons by the U.S. Navy, they were frequently the last line of defense against kamikaze attacks. Most combat ships from aircraft carriers to PT boats were equipped with Oerlikon guns. In Vietnam they were widely employed by riverine forces as anti-personnel weapons. They remained in service until the 1970s when they were replaced by the Mk 16 20 mm cannon.

External linksEdit


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