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There Was This Gun

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by grange, Aug 31, 2011.

  1. Then there was this gun ......

    It was developed by General Electric, the "We bring good things to life" people. It's one of the modern-day Gatling guns. It shoots very big bullets. It shoots them very quickly.

    Someone said, "Let's put it in an airplane."

    Someone else said, "Better still, let's build an airplane around it."


    So they did.
    And "they" were the Fairchild-Republic airplane people.

    They had done such a good job with an airplane they developed back in WWII ..

    ...called the P-47 Thunderbolt,
    they decided to call it the A10 Thunderbolt.

    They made it so it was very good at flying low and slow and shooting things with that fabulous gun.

    But since it did fly low and slow, they made it bulletproof, or almost so. A lot of bad guys have found you can shoot an A10 with anything from a pistol to a 23mm Soviet cannon and it just keeps on flying and shooting.

    When they got through, it looked like this ....


    It's not sleek and sexy like an F18 or the stealthy Raptors and such, but I think it's such a great airplane because it does what it does better than any other plane in the world..

    It kills tanks.

    Not only tanks, as Sadam Hussein's boys found out to their horror, but armored personnel carriers, radar stations, locomotives, bunkers, fuel depots... just about anything the bad guys thought was bulletproof turned out to be easy pickings for this beast.

    See those engines. One of them alone will fly this puppy. The pilot sits in a very thick titanium alloy "bathtub."

    That's typical of the design.

    They were smart enough to make every part the same whether mounted on the left side or right side of the plane, like landing gear, for instance.

    Because the engines are mounted so high (away from ground debris) and the landing gear uses such low pressure tires, it can operate from a damaged airport, interstate highway, plowed field, or dirt road.

    Everything is redundant. They have two of almost everything. Sometimes they have three of something. Like flight controls. There's triple redundancy of those, and even if there is a total failure of the double hydraulic system, there is a set of manual flying controls.

    Capt. Kim Campbell sustained this damage over Baghdad and flew for another hour before returning to base. But, back to that gun .....

    It's so hard to grasp just how powerful it is.

    This is the closest I could find to showing you just what this cartridge is all about. What the guy is holding is NOT the 30mm round, but a "little" .50 Browning machinegun round and the 20mm cannon round which has been around for a long time.

    The 30mm is MUCH bigger.


    Down at the bottom are the .50 BMG and 20x102 Vulcan the fellow was holding. At the bottom right is the bad boy we're discussing.

    Let's get some perspective here: The .223 Rem (M16 rifle round) is fast. It shoots a 55 or so grain bullet at about 3300 feet/sec, give or take. It's the fastest of all those rounds shown (except one). When you move up to the ...30 caliber rounds, the bullets jump up in weight to 160-200 grains. Speeds run from about 2600 to 3000 fps or so..

    The .338 Lapua is the king of the sniper rifles these days and shoots a 350 grain bullet at 2800 fps or so. They kill bad guys at over a mile with that one.

    The .50 BMG is really big. Mike Beasley has one on his desk. Everyone who picks it up thinks it's some sort of fake, unless they know big ammo. It's really huge with a bullet that weighs 750 grains and goes as fast the Lapua.

    I don't have data on the Vulcan, but hang on to your hat..

    The bullet for the 30x173 Avenger has an aluminum jacket around a spent uranium core and weighs 6560 grains (yes, over 100 times as heavy as the M16 bullet, and flies through the air at 3500 fps (which is faster than the M16 as well).

    The gun shoots at a rate of 4200 rounds per minute. Yes, four thousand. Pilots typically shoot either one- or two-second burst which set loose 70 to 150 rounds. The system is optimized for shooting at 4,000 feet.

    OK, the best for last.

    You've got a pretty good idea of how big that cartridge is, but I'll bet you're like me and you don't fully appreciate how big the GA GAU-8 Avenger really is.

    Take a look .......


    Each of those seven barrels is 112" long. That's almost ten feet. The entire gun is 19-1/2 feet long.

    Think how impressive it would look set up in your living room.

    Oh, by the way, it doesn't eject the empty shells but runs them back into the storage drum. There's just so dang many flying out, they felt it might damage the aircraft.

    Oh yeah, I forgot, they can hang those bomb and rocket things on em too, just in case. After all, it is an airplane!

  2. While reading your post i was thinking...pfffftttt my grandma's got a bigger gun then that. But then i saw this:


    now that's what i call a gun! :eek:
  3. #4 Kargo, Aug 31, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2015
    Here it is in action..i think...



    There are actually quite a few insane guns out there...

  4. hitch that trolley up behind your ute - no more tailgating!
  5. So if that's the gau8, I wonder how big the gao12 in the c130 specter is, and the 40mm bofors, and the 105mm howitzer! :p
  6. 4200 rounds per minute? thats nothing compared to this 1,000,000 round per minute Aussie invention :p.........................
  7. :eek:=P~=P~=P~=P~=P~=P~=P~

    Yeah but how long can it keep firing for... not long
  8. ...British army scout tanks...
  9. 2nd the nice read comment, but it needed a naked lady thrown in for effect.
  10. ...but not Kargo's grandma, with her gun...
  11. The GAU-8 and the Metal Storm guns are both very highly specialised machines designed to do very particular jobs, but not the same job.

    MetalStorm has an application in ship defence and defence against incoming missiles, as a last line of defence. Radar aimed and fired at close range - say 100m - it puts up a wall of lead that should destroy an incoming cruise missile or anti shipping missile.

    There is a similar system using a 6 barrel 20mm GE Gatling, very similar to the one in the F-15, 16, 18 & 22 fighters, mounted on a turret. MetalStorm is possibly even better because of it's fantastic rate of fire, but once you've fired all the bullets you basically unbolt it and bolt in a new one.

    When they designed and developed the M61A, (6 barrel 20mm Gatling) it was designed to fire 9,000 rounds a minute. It was tested at that rate for an extended period (I understand it was a week, 168 hours continuous fire at 9,000 rpm.) However, in the field, the violent acceleration of the ammunition feed system proved unreliable, with the belts or chains of shells breaking. They dropped the rate to 6,000 rpm and started the gun slower than that and built up the speed gradually. That fixed the reliability, but experience showed even that rate of fire wasn't needed in the field, the weapon being more effective if the rate was reduced to around 4,000 rpm. That way the same amount of ammunition lasted longer.

    The M61A has not changed since the 1960s. It's a blisteringly effective weapon. They call it the minigun. The latest version, the M61B used in the F22 differs only in that it has a smaller magazine and carries fewer shells.

    The GAU-8 is made dramatically more potent and effective by the use of DU (depleted Uranium) rounds. Uranium is odd stuff. It's about half as heavy again as lead, but it has a strength and mechanical properties like mild steel. It can even be engineered to a kind of laminate structure, where a penetrating round can shed or 'slough' its outer skin, like a snake skin, or an onion, allowing the next inner layer to keep moving forward. I'm not clear on whether that level of tech is actually used in the field - I think it was a lab test thing only. I think the stuff they use in the field is just solid lumps of DU.

    DU is very expensive, and it's also horribly toxic. Armourers use gloves and handle the rounds by the the cartridge case - not touching the projectile. The projectiles break up into small fragments or even powder. They penetrate armoured steel - and they go a long way into the ground, so cleaning up the area for human habitation after their widespread use, especially in urban areas, is problematic. They were used a lot in Cosovo, and there have been widespread reports of elevated cancer rates and other health issues, including very high infant mortality rates.

    The US military refuse to admit there is a problem, because they don't want to stop using it - because it works. It doesn't exactly endear them to the people they've 'liberated' and then left to clean up the mess.
  12. DU is reasonably safe in solid form unless you're handling it on a sustained basis like the armourers (hence avoiding contact). IIRC the low level of radioactivity it exhibits is mainly alpha particles which are big, slow and stopped quite reliably by clothing, skin etc. The problems arise when it's inhaled or ingested which is quite possible when it's powdered (like a DU round after it's hit something solid, oddly enough). Then it sits in the lungs or the gut irradiating your much more fragile internal tissues. I was told once that a single alpha particle lodged in your lung carries a substantial increased risk of lung cancer. Bit scary that because we all have at least one in there. Fortunately, though, most of us who don't live in modern war zones don't have alpha emitters in there to provide us with a constant supply.
  13. Well fuck me, Pat's alive!
    I've been worried sick about you...
  14. I think the only Warthog fact that was missed relates to the sheer force of the muzzle velocity of all those slugs being sent forth and the fact that A-10 pilots have to be somewhat judicious with how long they hold the trigger down as it WILL SUBSTANTIALLY SLOW THE AIRCRAFT DOWN.
  15. I've always been a bit conflicted about the A10, Great piece of kit flown unfortunately it seems by idiots...

    Quote from the British Commander mentioned above.

  16. Not dead. Just busy with other stuff, limited internet time and not much to contribute.

    Based on the reaction to my last few posts, there are those who'd say that the last is still true :twisted:.

    'Preciate the thought though :D.
  17. I was about to say this, beat me to it.

    Farking incredible. Two other facts:

    1) The gun is offset and doesn't run down the centre of the plane for the reason that when the gattling spins up, the yaw effect from the spinning barrells causes the plane to yaw off, so it's offset to counter that, and

    2) when they first produced the plane, the gas/exhaust output from the gun was so high that it used to choke the engine by killing the oxygen available to the intakes. This has been fixed now, but it gives you an idea of how much crap comes out...

    I've got a few large scale models of the A10 at home. Loved that plane as a kid.
  18. Not that impressive, my internet spaceship (EVE Online) has 1400mm howitzers on it...eight of them
  19. There's a lovely Russian aircraft called the Sukhoi SU-25 Frogfoot that does a similiar job. Problem is that you need air superiority (slow, heavy, thrust to weight is bad so fighters can engage in the vertical plane and outside of sidewinder range) before you can deploy these sorts of aircraft and you need to get in with your SEAD birds to take out the air defence radars and long - medium range SAM systems, as air defence systems are getting too advanced to use nap-of-the earth attack profiles against - unless you employ stealth. But once you have that, the benefits are long loiter times, heavy and varied payload and great survivability. The A-10's engines are even mounted where they are as the tailplane shields them (assuming that the shooter is firing at a passing aircraft from below - would be interesting to see how an A-10 or a SU-25/39 would fare against a combined gun-missile system such as Tungusta).

    have a look at the bathtub armour ancester, the Soviet IL-2 Sturmovik, and the aircraft the A-10 pretty much replaced (aside from not being carrier capable), the Douglas A-1 Skyraider.