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The primary use of the cannon is in the extremely short range (less than 2,000 feet) air-to-air environment, where more sophisticated air-to-air missiles are ineffective.Alternately, the cannon has limited usefulness in a ground strafing role.
Did you want to be the one who captured Alias Smith and Jones, or the Beast Master?The gun fires electrically primed 20x102mm ammunition and usually uses a hydraulic motor for power, though there is a self-powered version, the GAU-4 (M130 in Army service) which was used in the SUU-23/A / M25 gunpod.This variant uses an electric motor to spin up the barrel cluster, then sustains itself via gas operation.However, due to the failure of the DIVADS program (which created the infamous M247 Sergeant York using the completely unsuited-for-task radar suite of an F-16, directing ancient and poorly-maintained Bofors 40mm cannon barrels left over from retired M42 Dusters in a 20-ton turret on a not-at-all-happy-about-this M48A5 Patton chassis) it was not directly replaced until 1994 when the AN/TWQ-1 Avenger entered service, though by this point the man-portable FIM-92 Stinger had largely replaced it operationally.The PIVADS (Product Improved Vulcan Air Defense System) program in 1984 upgraded stocks of M163s to the M163A2 standard and M167s to the M167A2 standard (it is not clear what A1 did for either system) with improvements to the fire control system and an extra wheel added on either side of the M167 to prevent rollovers while being towed.While the initial M61 was troubled by issues with misfeeds and FOD damage to aircraft mounting it due to using linked ammunition, the linkless M61A1 Vulcan cannon is a proven gun, having been the US military's close-in weapon of choice dating back to 1959 when it was first fielded on the F-104C.
The F-104, F-105, X-32, F-14, later models of the F-106, F-111, F-4, B-47, B-52 (until the 1990s) and B-58 all used the M61, as do the Air Force's F-15, F-16 and F-22, and the Navy's F/A-18.
In 1956 the T171 20mm gun was standardized by the US Army and US Air Force as the M61 20mm Vulcan aircraft gun.
The M61 Vulcan is an externally powered six-barrel rotary gun having a rate of fire of up to 7,200 rounds per minute.
The barrel restraint to increase accuracy was added by the Block 1 baseline 2 upgrade. This is the current version which has a set of Optimised Gun Barrels (OGB) to increase accuracy and longevity, and Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) which enable the CIWS to engage targets with a low radar observability and surface targets.
This is a self-contained powered mounting developed in the 1970s and first mounted to a combat vessel, the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea, in 1980.
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