This is what happens when someone builds a massively awesome gun, and decides that it needs to be airborne. Nothing puts fear into the heart of the enemy like 30 mm rounds at 3,900 rounds per minute. Developed exclusively for the Air Force, this high-powered gatling gun was engineered as an anti-tank artillery weapon in the 1970’s. It is used on the Air Force’s A-10 Thunderbolt II aircrafts (a.k.a. “Warthogs”), and by the Navy’s Goalkeepers CIWS (a.k.a. “Sea-Whiz”). The A-10 was actually built around the GAU-8, to accommodate the sheer mass of the powerful gun. At almost 20 feet long and over 620 pounds, this gun is no laughing matter. At least, not to those at whom it is pointed.
Photo Credit: http://controversialtimes.com/politics/brrrrrrt-amazing-facts-about-americas-favorite-plane-the-a-10-warthog-videos/
What Makes This Gun So Awesome?
The sound alone sends chills down any enemy’s spine. Though nicknamed “The Avenger,” the GAU-8 is more like the Angel of Death, for those who are in its line of fire. The rounds themselves are a staggering 30 x 173 mm in size, and are available in three variations: a “cheaper” target round, an explosive incendiary (PGU-13/B API), and an armor-piercing incendiary (PGU-14/B API).
What really makes this gun stand out, however, is its rapid rate of fire, powered by its pair of alternating hydraulic motors. Capable of one or two second bursts of fire, and seven barrels, this gun is capable of firing a maximum of 65 rounds per second. A single magazine for the GAU-8 can hold up to 1,174 rounds (though the standard load amount is typically around 1,150).
30 x 173 mm round
Where do I get one?
Unfortunately, the GAU-8 is not available for purchase by civilians. Not only is it fully automatic, but it is also a Destructive Device, requiring an ATF transfer as a Class III. Even the ammunition for the GAU-8 is considered a Destructive Device. So, unfortunately, unless you’re a member of the Air Force or Navy, you are SOL.
Check out the A-10 and GAU-8 in Action: