GD to make 76 20mm six-barrel Gatling guns for the Navy’s F-18s

WASHINGTON — The US Navy has ordered 76 M61A2 Vulcan 20mm six-barrel Gatling-style gun systems for its F / A-18 E / F Super Hornet fighters. The value of the contract is nearly $29 million, BulgarianMilitary.com has learned, and the order must be completed by the end of November 2024. The contractor is General Dynamics, Ordinance & Tactical Systems Inc. [GDOTS], Williston, Vermont.

GD to make 76 20mm six-barrel Gatling guns for the Navy's F-18s
Photo credit: Military Review

M61A2 20mm gun is mounted in the nose of the fighter with barrel positioning. According to GDOTS, the process of mounting or dismounting the M61A2 is quick and easy, thanks to the palletized approach.

M61A2 20mm gun weighs a total of 311 kg, of which 92 kg weighs the cannon, 113 kg weighs feed system, and 115 kg ammunition when the cannon is fully loaded. The M61A2 20mm gun can fire between 4,000 and 6,000 shots per minute. The propulsion system of the Vulcan is hydraulic, and the feed system is a rotating mechanism with a closed-loop.

According to the contract, the production of 76 units M61A2 20mm six-barrel Gatling-style gun systems will be carried out in 19 locations in the US and two in Canada, but the leading manufacturer is GDO&TS, Williston, Vermont.

M61A2 Vulcan operates at a high speed of fire. This fact, in addition to being an advantage over single-barreled weapons, also provides a greater probability of direct hit. GDOTS has developed two versions of its Vulcan gun system – M61A1 and M61A2. The only difference between them is in weight – M61A2 is at least 20% lighter than M61A2, but GDOTS says the M61A2 will outperform the M61A2 in reliability and maintenance.

Both versions of the Vulcan Gatling-style gun systems are available for air, naval, and ground weapons platforms.

XM915 20mm Gatling-type automatic cannon

BulgarianMilitary.com reported last year, that General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems [GD-OTS] are working hard on the final phase of the latest XM915 20mm Gatling-type automatic cannon, designed to give power to the latest US combat helicopters under the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft [FARA] program.

Have a look at the new 20mm Gatling-type automatic cannon
Photo credit: GD-OTS

Information on the XM915 20mm Gatling-type automatic cannon is still scarce as it is under development, but BulgarianMilitary.com sources have brought more light around the product. What we do know is that it was successfully mounted on a helicopter and showed very good performance during the shooting demonstration.

Have a look at the new 20mm Gatling-type automatic cannon
Photo credit: GD-OTS

The XM915 20mm Gatling will weigh 115 pounds and works with an electric propulsion system that will fire 20x102mm electrically loaded ammunition.

XM915 20mm Gatling is a small part of the large-scale FARA project. Under this program, in addition to the XM915 20mm Gatling-type automatic cannon, developers will have to integrate other weapons capabilities, such as launching stray ammunition, AGM-179A air-to-surface missiles, drone swarms, and more. Successful tests of the XM915 20mm Gatling-type automatic cannon do not mean that it will find a place in the final design of future helicopters.

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