GIAT M781 (30 mm)

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The Model 781 (also known as the Nexter 30) is a 30 mm revolver cannon with electrical ignition and automatic recocking, which was introduced in the late 1980s. Unlike the DEFA cannon, the M781 is electrically operated rather than gas operated. This increases both reliability and lifetime of the cannon, but also fire rate.

There were 2 variants of the GIAT 30 cannon, the M781 and the M791. The Model 781 was primarily meant to be mounted on helicopters, such as the EC-665 Tiger HAD, while the latter one being intended for fighters such as the Dassault Rafale.

The turret of an EC-665 Tiger with the M781 autocannon

The M781 is offered in multiple installations, such as being mounted as a turret or as a pod, or just fixed to the vehicle. It is 1.87 m long and it weighs roughly 65 kg, and its fire rate is roughly 750 rounds per minute with a muzzle velocity of around 810 m/s. Due to the somewhat heavy recoil of the cannon, single shots or bursts are preferred over fully automatic fire.

Vehicles equipped with this weapon

General info

Due to the M781 being limited to only HEF-SAPI rounds that have barely any penetration power, it will prove to be inadequate at dispatching hostile tanks. However, soft targets such as open top vehicles or light vehicles (or even aircraft if the user is comfortable with using the M781 for AA purposes), will get shredded in mere seconds by the M781 thanks to its high fire rate and high velocity.

Available ammunition

Penetration statistics
Belt Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)
10 m 100 m 500 m 1,000 m 1,500 m 2,000 m
Default 26 24 16 10 7 4

Comparison with analogues

Comparable autocannons to the M781
Name Year of Production RPM Maximum Penetration (mm)
2A42 (30 mm) 1973 200 - 300 (Low)

550 - 800 (High)

M230E-1 (30 mm) 1975 625 51

Usage in battles

As mentioned above, the M781 severely lacks in the penetration power. This makes it very difficult to engage hostile tanks, so the user should be careful about picking out targets if one is equipped only with the cannon. If one is engaging with only the cannon, the user should be very careful about their surroundings and use nearby cover, such as buildings or mountains, to flank around the enemy. Be careful about enemy AA as it will shred the user almost instantly if not enough awareness is given to them. If the user manages to flank the enemy, they should focus on dispatching soft targets such as enemy light tanks or AA vehicles if they are caught off-guard.

The other way of using the M781 is to be a "support" for your teammates. Due to the M781's low penetration but high explosion power HEF-SAPI rounds, one can use this to cripple the tanks, which would otherwise shrug off the HEF-SAPI rounds, by destroying the modules such as the tracks. This way, you can save your teammates from an imminent destruction and even score yourself an assist.

Pros and cons


  • High fire rate; being 750 RPM
  • High velocity of rounds
  • HEF-SAPI rounds shred soft targets and aircraft alike


  • Restricted to only HEF-SAPI rounds; engaging armor will be difficult
  • Thanks to its fire rate and relatively low ammo capacity, it isn't uncommon to run out of rounds rather quickly


Examine the history of the creation and combat usage of the weapon in more detail than in the introduction. If the historical reference turns out to be too long, take it to a separate article, taking a link to the article about the weapon and adding a block "/History" (example: and add a link to it here using the main template. Be sure to reference text and sources by using <ref></ref>, as well as adding them at the end of the article with <references />.


Excellent additions to the article would be video guides, screenshots from the game, and photos.

See also

External links

France aircraft cannons
20 mm  GIAT M.621 · Hispano 404 · Hispano HS.9 · M50
30 mm  DEFA 541 · DEFA 551 · DEFA 552 · DEFA 552A · DEFA 553 · GIAT M781
20 mm  AN/M2 (USA) · M3 (USA) · M24A1 (USA) · M39A1 (USA) · MG 151 (Germany) · ShVAK (USSR)
37 mm  M10 (USA) · NS-37 (USSR)