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Military Weapons

Holy Cow…The M61 Vulcan Is A Gatling Gun On Steroids

I think it’s very interesting that we have not only kept, but improved upon the original Gatling Gun design, considering that the first Gatling Gun was invented in 1862. Confederate troops must have thought that they were in a firestorm straight from hell when they marched into range of this awesome weapon.

Richard Jordan Gatling  continued to make improvements to the gun’s design, but even the earliest version was able to fire some 200 rounds per minute. The first Gatling gun used paper cartridges loaded with gunpowder and .58 caliber bullets, imagine for a moment what a round like that would do to human flesh.

Fast forward over a 160 years, the M61 Vulcan is a hydraulically, electrically or pneumatically driven, six-barrel, air-cooled, electrically fired Gatling-style rotary cannon which fires 20 mm rounds at an extremely high rate (typically 6,000 rounds per minute).

The M61 and its derivatives have been the principal cannon armament of United States military fixed-wing aircraft for sixty years. The M61 was originally produced by General Electric. After several mergers and acquisitions, it is currently produced by General Dynamics.

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What aircraft use this awesome weapon…the F-104, F-105, later models of the F-106, F-111, F-4, B-58, all used the M61, as does the Air Force’s F-15 , F-16 and F-22, and the Navy’s F-14 and F/A-18. The internally mounted 20mm cannon system is common to all versions of the F-15.

It isn’t cheap to use either, the 202-pound weapon fires $27 cartridges at 6,600 rounds per minute; costing around $180,000 to fire it for 60 seconds.

H/T – Wikipedia

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