A cannon is a primitive projectile weapon that fires cannon balls or other projectiles. The term cannon has also been applied to some types of mounted directed energy weapons with a fixed or limited firing arc. (TOS: "Arena"; ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II"; Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)
Projectile cannonsEdit
Gorn Kirk cannonJames T. Kirk uses a makeshift cannon

Cannons were in use in the American Civil War, as witnessed in the Time stream. (ENT: "Storm Front, Part II") Cannons were also part of the history of the mirror universe Earth, where they were used as artillery and on sailing ships. (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II")

In 2267, James T. Kirk managed to defeat a Gorn by creating a primitive makeshift cannon. He made gunpowder out of potassium nitrate, sulphur and coal, and used a bamboo stick as the cannon and a diamond as the projectile. (TOS: "Arena") In 2293, the president of the Federation had a model of a cannon on his desk. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

In 2364, a Q recreation of a Napoleonic marshal's camp included a cannon. (TNG: "Hide and Q")

Some aspects of the 2373 Q Civil War were represented by cannons when it was perceived by Humans. (VOY: "The Q and the Grey") During 2376, cannons were in use on Kelemane's planet, where the Central Protectorate was attacked by a neighbor state using cannons, destroying several buildings, and starting a short war. The Central Protectorate's Tactical Air Command responded. A new treaty was signed after a few weeks. (VOY: "Blink of an Eye")

During the Dominion War, the Remans were used by the Romulan Empire essentially as "cannon fodder" against the Jem'Hadar. (Star Trek Nemesis)
Directed energy cannons Edit
Phase cannon firing (close up)-ShockwaveIIA 22nd century phase cannon
Klingon Bird-of-Prey, disruptor cannonA 23rd century disruptor cannon
USS Defiant, First Contact24th century phaser cannons

The term cannon has also been applied to several types of directed energy weapons. These have ranged from smaller vehicle-mounted turrets (Star Trek Nemesis) to starship-mounted weaponry. (ENT: "Broken Bow") A common feature in these directed energy cannons is that their emitter needs to be physically aimed at the target (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier) where as directed energy weapon banks and arrays usually have a more omnidirectional firing arc and the direction of fire can be programmed without moving the actual weapon. (TNG: "The Arsenal of Freedom", et al.)
List of directed energy cannonsEdit

Disruptor cannon
Isokinetic cannon
Laser cannon
Particle cannon
Phase cannon
Pulsed phase cannon
Phased ion cannon
Phaser cannon
Photonic cannon (fictional technology)
Plasma cannon
Pulse cannon
A cannon is any piece of artillery that uses gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellants to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees, depending on their intended use on the battlefield. The word cannon is derived from several languages, in which the original definition can usually be translated as tube, cane, or reed. The plural of cannon is also cannon, though more commonly in America, cannons. In the modern era, the term cannon has fallen out of common usage, replaced by "guns" or "artillery" if not a more specific term such as "mortar" or "howitzer". In aviation, cannon generally describes weapons firing bullets larger than 0.5 inches (12.7 mm) in diameter.

First used in China, cannon were among the earliest forms of gunpowder artillery, and over time replaced siege engines—among other forms of aging weaponry—on the battlefield. In the Middle East, the first use of the hand cannon is argued to be during the 1260 Battle of Ain Jalut between the Mamluks and Mongols. The first cannon in Europe were probably used in Iberia in the 11 and 12th centuries, and English cannon were first deployed in the Hundred Years' War, at the Battle of Crécy, in 1346. On the African continent, the cannon was first used by the Somali Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi of the Adal Sultanate in his conquest of the steppes of Ugaden in 1529.[1] It was during this period, the Middle Ages, that cannon became standardized, and more effective in both the anti-infantry and siege roles. After the Middle Ages most large cannon were abandoned in favor of greater numbers of lighter, more maneuverable pieces. In addition, new technologies and tactics were developed, making most defences obsolete; this led to the construction of star forts, specifically designed to withstand artillery bombardment though these too (along with the Martello Tower) would find themselves rendered obsolete when explosive and armour piercing rounds made even these types of fortifications vulnerable.

Cannon also transformed naval warfare in the early modern period, as European navies took advantage of their firepower. As rifling became commonplace, the accuracy and destructive power of cannon was significantly increased, and they became deadlier than ever, both to infantry who belatedly had to adopt different tactics, and to ships, which had to be armoured. In World War I, the majority of combat fatalities were caused by artillery; they were also used widely in World War II. Most modern cannon are similar to those used in the Second World War, although the importance of the larger caliber weapons has declined with the development of missiles.
The first documented installation of a cannon on an aircraft was on the Voisin Canon in 1911, displayed at the Paris Exposition that year. By World War I, all of the major powers were experimenting with aircraft mounted cannon; however their low rate of fire and great size and weight precluded any of them from being anything other than experimental. The most successful (or least unsuccessful) was the SPAD 12 Ca.1 with a single 37mm Puteaux mounted to fire between the cylinder banks and through the propeller boss of the aircraft's Hispano-Suiza 8C. The pilot (by necessity an ace) had to manually reload each round.[133]
Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVI with 20mm cannon protruding from the leading edges of the wings.

The first autocannon were developed during World War 1 as anti-aircraft guns, and one of these - the Coventry Ordnance Works "COW 37 mm gun" was installed in an aircraft but the war ended before it could be given a field trial and never became standard equipment in a production aircraft. Later trials had it fixed at a steep angle upwards in both the Vickers Type 161 and the Westland C.O.W. Gun Fighter, an idea that would return later.
The GAU-8/A Avenger autocannon, mounted in an A-10 Thunderbolt II
GSh-23 autocannon mounted on the undersides of a MiG-23

During this period autocannon became available and several fighters with the German Luftwaffe and Japanese Air Forces were fitted with 20mm cannon. They continued to be installed as an adjunct to machine guns rather than as a replacement as the rate of fire was still too low and the complete installation too heavy. There was a some debate in the RAF as to whether the greater number of possible rounds being fired from a machine gun, or a smaller number of explosive rounds from a cannon was preferable. Improvements during the war in regards to rate of fire allowed the cannon to displace the machine gun almost entirely.[10] Cannon was more effective against armor so they were increasingly used during the course of the Second World War, and newer fighters usually carried two or four versus the 6 .50 MG for US aircraft or 12 .303 MG on British Aircraft. The Hispano-Suiza HS.404, Oerlikon 20 mm cannon, MG FF, and their numerous variants became among the most widely used autocannon in the war.

Cannon, as with machine guns, were fixed to fire forwards (mounted in the wings, in the nose or fuselage, or in a pannier under either) or mounted in turrets on heavier aircraft. Both the Germans and Japanese mounted cannon to fire upwards and forwards for use against heavy bombers, with the Germans calling it "Schräge Musik".

Preceding the Vietnam War the high speeds aircraft were attaining led to a move to remove the cannon due to the mistaken belief that they would be useless, but combat experience during the Vietnam War showed conclusively that despite advances in missiles, there was still a need for them. Nearly all modern fighter aircraft are armed with an autocannon and they are also commonly found on ground-attack aircraft. One of the most powerful examples is the 30mm GAU-8/A Avenger Gatling-type rotary cannon, mounted exclusively on the A-10 Warthog[10][134] The Lockheed AC-130 gunship (a converted transport) can carry a 105mm howitzer as well as a variety of autocannon ranging up to 40mm.[135] Both are used in the close air support role.

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