This weapon was introduced in 1965 and the designation GSH stands for Gryazev-Shipunov 23mm after its designers V. Gryazev and A. Shipunov.  Its works on the so-called "Gast" principle which was invented in Germany during the First World War by Karl Gast at the Vorwerk company (today one of the leading producers of vacuum cleaners in Germany).

 A "Gast" weapon has twin barrels and the recoil from the firing of first barrel reloads and fires the second barrel via a lever mechanism.  This system is simple, extremely reliable and results in a lightweight weapon having a very high rate of fire between 3 000 and 4 000 rounds per minute with the automated mechanism is based on use of powder gases energy (this is surpassed only by the much heavier and complicated guns with multiple rotating barrels). The GSh-23L is the only "Gast" gun that is still manufactured in large numbers today.

This cannon first appeared on the second generation MiG-21 fighter aircraft where it was carried in a large GP-9 gun pod with 200 rounds of ammunition under the central fuselage.  The system was later replaced by a much more streamlined semi-internal installation.  The GSh-23L cannon can also be carried in a UPK-23 pod (UPK:  Unifitsirovannyj Pushechnyj Kontejner) on the external hard points of an aircraft.  The cannon can be used on right or left feed and is installed on the “Tu”, “MiG”, “Su”, and “Yak” aircraft as well as on the “Mi” and “Ka” type helicopters.

The GSh-23L 23mm Cannon fires the High Explosive, Armour-Piercing-Explosive and Armour-Piercing-Tracer shells.


Calibre :   23mm
Projectile Weight :  180g
Rate of Fire: 3 000 to 4 000 Rounds per minute
Muzzle Velocity: 720 meters per second
Weight: 52kg