The M134 Minigun is an american 7.62×51mm NATO six-barrel synchronous converter machine artillery with a high rate of displace ( 2,000 to 6,000 rounds per moment ). [ 2 ] It features a Gatling -style rotating barrel forum with an external office source, normally an electric motor. The “ Mini ” in the name is in comparison to larger-caliber designs that use a circular barrel design, such as General Electric ‘s earlier 20 millimeter M61 Vulcan, and “ gun ” for the use of plunder ammunition as opposed to autocannon shells. “ Minigun ” refers to a specific model of weapon that General Electric primitively produced, but the term “ minigun ” has popularly come to refer to any externally powered synchronous converter artillery of rifle bore. The term is sometimes used loosely to refer to guns of like rates of fuel and configuration, regardless of baron source and bore. The Minigun is used by several branches of the U.S. military. Versions are designated M134 and XM196 by the United States Army, and GAU-2/A and GAU-17/A by the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy.
Reading: M134 Minigun – Wikipedia
history [edit ]
background : electrically driven Gatling gun [edit ]
The ancestor to the advanced minigun was a hired hand cranked mechanical device invented in the 1860s by Richard Jordan Gatling. He late replaced the hand-cranked mechanism of a rifle-caliber Gatling gun with an electric motive, a relatively raw invention at the time. even after Gatling slowed the mechanism, the newly electric-powered Gatling artillery had a theoretical pace of arouse of 3,000 rounds per infinitesimal, approximately three times the rate of a typical modern, single-barreled machine gun. Gatling ‘s electric-powered design received U.S. Patent # 502,185 on July 25, 1893. [ 3 ] Despite his improvements, the Gatling artillery fell into neglect after cheaper, lighter-weight, kick back and natural gas operated machine guns were invented ; Gatling himself went bankrupt for a menstruation. [ 4 ] During World War I, several german companies were working on externally powered guns for function in aircraft. Of those, the best-known today is possibly the Fokker-Leimberger, an outwardly powered 12-barrel traffic circle gun using the 7.92×57mm Mauser round ; it was claimed to be able of firing over 7,000 rpm, but suffered from frequent cartridge-case ruptures [ 5 ] due to its “ nuthatch ”, traffic circle split-breech blueprint, which is fairly different from that of ceremonious traffic circle accelerator designs. [ 6 ] none of these german guns went into production during the war, although a competing Siemens prototype ( possibly using a different military action ), which was tried on the westerly Front, scored a victory in aerial fight. [ 5 ] The british besides experimented with this type of split-breech during the 1950s, but they were besides abortive. [ 7 ]
In the 1960s, the United States Armed Forces began exploring modern variants of the electric-powered, rotating barrel Gatling-style weapons for use in the Vietnam War. american forces in the Vietnam War, which used helicopters as one of the primary means of transporting soldiers and equipment through the dense jungle, found that the huffy helicopters were very vulnerable to little arms fire and rocket-propelled grenade ( RPG ) attacks when they slowed to land. Although helicopters had mounted single-barrel machine guns, using them to repel attackers hidden in the dense jungle leaf often led to overheated barrels or cartridge jams. [ 8 ] [ 9 ]
A U.S. Air Force rotary-wing crewman fires a minigun during the Vietnam War. To develop a more dependable weapon with a higher rate of fire, General Electric designers scaled down the rotary-barrel 20 millimeter M61 Vulcan cannon for 7.62×51mm NATO ammunition. The resulting weapon, designated M134 and known as the “ Minigun ”, could fire up to 6,000 rounds per infinitesimal without overheating. The gun has a variable ( i.e. selectable ) rate of fire, specified to fire at rates of up to 6,000 revolutions per minute with most applications set at rates between 3,000 and 4,000 rounds per minute .
view of M134 from inside Huey, Nha Trang AB, 1967 The Minigun was mounted on Hughes OH-6 Cayuse and Bell OH-58 Kiowa side pods ; in the turret and on pylon pods of Bell AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters ; and on door, pylon and pod mounts on Bell UH-1 Iroquois conveyance helicopters. several larger aircraft were outfitted with miniguns specifically for close air out support : the Cessna A-37 Dragonfly with an internal gunman and with pods on wing hardpoints ; and the Douglas A-1 Skyraider, besides with pods on wing hardpoints. other celebrated gunship airplanes are the Douglas AC-47 Spooky, the Fairchild AC-119, and the Lockheed AC-130. [ 9 ]
Dillon Aero minigun [edit ]
The U.S. government had procured some 10,000 Miniguns during the Vietnam War. [ 10 ] Around 1990, Dillon Aero acquired a large number of Miniguns and spares from “ a extraneous drug user ”. The guns kept failing to shoot continuously, revealing that they were actually raddled weapons. The company decided to fix the problems encountered, rather than merely putting the gun into storehouse. Fixing failure problems ended up improving the Minigun ‘s overall design. Dillon ‘s efforts to improve the Minigun reached the hundred-and-sixtieth SOAR, and the company was invited to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to demonstrate its products. A delinker, used to separate cartridges from ammunition belts and feed them into the gunman housing, and other parts were tested on Campbell ‘s ranges. The hundred-and-sixtieth SOAR were impressed by the delinker ‘s performance and began ordering them by 1997. This prompted Dillon to improve other plan aspects including the bolt, caparison and barrel. between 1997 and 2001, Dillon Aero was producing 25–30 products a year. In 2001, it was working on a new thunderbolt invention that increased performance and service life. By 2002, virtually every part of the minigun had been improved, so Dillon began producing complete weapons with improved components. The guns were purchased quickly by the hundred-and-sixtieth SOAR as its standardized weapon system. The gun then went through the Army ‘s formal procurement system blessing serve, and in 2003 the Dillon Aero minigun was certified and designated M134D. [ 10 ] Once the Dillon Aero system was approved for general military military service, Dillon Aero GAU-17s entered Marine Corps service and were well received in replacing the GE GAU-17s serving on Marine UH-1s. [ 11 ] The congress of racial equality of the M134D was a sword caparison and rotor. To focus on slant reduction, a titanium housing and rotor were introduced, creating the M134D-T which had reduced weight from 62 pound ( 28 kilogram ) to 41 pound ( 19 kilogram ). The gunman housing had a 500,000-round life before it wore out, which was far higher than a conventional machine gunman ‘s 40,000-round life but lower than that of other traffic circle guns. A hybrid of the two weapons resulted in the M134D-H, which had a steel house and titanium rotor. It was cheaper with the steel component and only 1 pound ( 0.45 kilogram ) heavier than the M134D-T, and restored its life to 1.5 million rounds. [ 10 ] [ 12 ] The M134D-H is presently in function on diverse hundred-and-sixtieth regiment platforms. [ 10 ] Dillon besides created specialize mounts and ammunition-handling systems. initially, mounts were made entirely for aviation systems. then from 2003 to 2005, the Navy began mounting Dillon miniguns on specialize humble boats. In 2005, the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division procured guns to mount on Humvees. In Iraq, US Army Special Forces units on the ground were frequently engaged by opposition forces, so they mounted M134D miniguns on their vehicles for extra firepower. After several engagements the attackers seemed to avoid vehicles with miniguns. former, the extra Forces units began concealing their weapons so opposition troops would not know they were facing the weapon ; the even Army units did the opposite, creating minigun mock-ups out of motley PVC pipes tied together to resemble barrels to intimidate enemies. [ 10 ]
Garwood Industries minigun [edit ]
Garwood Industries created the M134G adaptation with several modifications to the original GE system. The optimum rate of fire was determined by Garwood to be round 3,200 rounds per moment ( revolutions per minute ). The M134G is being produced with this firing rate a well as 4,000 revolutions per minute and the previous standard 3,000 revolutions per minute rate. [ 13 ] Garwood Industries made several early modifications to the 1960s Minigun plan in order to meet contemporary military and ISO standards. [ 13 ] This includes modifications to the drive drive, self-feeder and barrel clutch assembly. [ 14 ] From 2015 to 2017 Garwood Industries CEO Tracy Garwood collaborated with firearms trader Michael Fox and weapons smuggler Tyler Carlson to supply miniguns to mexican drug cartels. Garwood submitted false paperwork to the ATF claim that some M134G rotor housings had been destroyed when they were actually sold to the gun-running ring. In 2017 federal agents raided Fox ‘s home and recovered two of the rotor housings that Garwood had reported destroyed. A act of the rotor housings were shipped to Mexico and a completed M134G using a reportedly destroyed rotor housing was recovered from a trust by mexican police enforcement. [ 15 ] Garwood did not know that the mean buyers were mexican cartels although he was aware that they were to be used for illegal activity. [ 16 ]
design and variants [edit ]
The basic minigun is a six-barrel, air-cooled, and electrically drive circular machine accelerator. The electric drive rotates the weapon within its housing, with a rotating fire pin assembly and rotary chamber. [ 17 ] The minigun ‘s multi-barrel design helps prevent overheat, but besides serves other functions. multiple barrels allow for a greater capacity for a high dismissal rate, since the consecutive march of discharge, origin, and load is taking place in all barrels simultaneously. frankincense, as one barrel fires, two others are in unlike stages of shell extraction and another three are being loaded. The minigun is composed of multiple closed-bolt plunder barrels arranged in a round housing. The barrels are rotated by an external exponent beginning, normally electric, pneumatic, or hydraulic. early rotating-barrel cannons are powered by the gas blackmail or recoil energy of fire cartridges. A gas-operated version, designated XM133, was besides developed. [ 18 ] While the weapon can feed from linked ammunition, it requires a delinking eater to strip the links as the rounds are fed into the chambers. The original eater unit was designated MAU-56/A, but has since been replaced by an improved MAU-201/A unit. [ 19 ] The General Electric minigun is used in respective branches of the U.S. military, under a number of designations. The basic fixed armament translation was given the appellation M134 by the United States Army, while the same weapon was designated GAU-2/A ( on a fix mount ) and GAU-17/A ( compromising hop on ) by the United States Air Force ( USAF ) and United States Navy ( USN ). The USAF minigun discrepancy has three versions, while the US Army weapon appears to have incorporated respective improvements without a change in designation. The M134D is an better version of the M134 designed and manufactured by Dillon Aero, [ 20 ] while Garwood Industries manufactures the M134G random variable. [ 21 ] available sources show a relation between both M134 and GAU-2/A and M134 and GAU-2B/A. [ 22 ] [ 23 ] A disjoined random variable, designated XM196, with an add expulsion sprocket was developed specifically for the XM53 Armament Subsystem on the Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne helicopter. [ 24 ]
Another random variable was developed by the USAF specifically for elastic installations, beginning chiefly with the Bell UH-1N Twin Huey helicopter, as the GAU-17/A. Produced by General Dynamics, this adaptation has a slotted flaunt hider. The basal end users of the GAU-17/A have been the USN and the United States Marine Corps ( USMC ), which mount the artillery as defensive armament on a number of helicopters and come on ships. GAU-17/As from helicopters were rushed into service for ships on pintle mountings taken from Mk16 20 millimeter guns for anti-swarm protection in the Gulf ahead of the 2003 Iraq War – 59 systems were installed in 30 days. [ 25 ] The GAU-17/A is designated Mk 44 in the machine grease-gun serial [ 25 ] and is by and large known as the Mk 44 when installed on british warships. The weapon is contribution of both the A/A49E-11 armament system on the UH-1N ; and of the A/A49E-13 armament subsystem on the USAF Sikorsky HH-60H Pave Hawk helicopter. The weapons on these systems feature a selectable fire pace of either 2,000 or 4,000 revolutions per minute. There is mention of a possible GAUSE-17 designation ( GAU-Shipboard Equipment-17 ), in mention to the system when mounted on open ships, though this would not follow the official ASETDS appointment system ‘s format. [ 26 ] [ 27 ]
|US Army designation||US Air Force designation||US Navy designation||Description|
|XM134/M134||GAU-2/A||N/A||7.62×51mm NATO GE “Minigun” 6-barreled machine gun|
|N/A||GAU-2A/A||N/A||GAU-2/A variant; unknown differences|
|M134||GAU-2B/A||Mk 25 MOD0[ citation needed]||GAU-2A/A variant; unknown differences|
|N/A||GAU-17/A||N/A||GAU-2B/A variant; can be mounted to a variety of different craft, uses either an MAU-201/A or MAU-56/A delinking feeder.|
|N/A||N/A||Mk 44||Unknown differences|
|XM214 Microgun||N/A||N/A||Scaled-down variant of the XM134 firing the 5.56×45mm NATO round. The U.S. military lost interest in the project, and it never entered mass production.|
|XM196||N/A||N/A||M134/GAU-2B/A variant; housing modified by addition of an ejection sprocket; for use in the XM53 armament subsystem on the AH-56 helicopter|
Gun pods and early mounting systems [edit ]
SUU-11/A pod in the cargo door of an AC-47 One of the first applications of the weapon was in aircraft armament pods. These gunman pods were used by a wide diverseness of fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft chiefly during the Vietnam War, remaining in inventory for a period subsequently. The standard pod, designated SUU-11/A by the Air Force and M18 by the U.S. Army, was a relatively simple whole, wholly collected, with a 1,500-round magazine immediately feeding delinked ammunition into the weapon. This means the Minigun fitted to the pod does not require the standard MAU-56/A delinking feeder unit. [ 30 ] A number of variants of this pod exist. initially on fixed-wing gunships such as the Douglas AC-47 Spooky and Fairchild AC-119, the side-firing armament was fitted by combining SUU-11/A aircraft pods, frequently with their streamlined front fairings removed, with a locally fabricated saddle horse. These pods were basically unmodified, required no external power, and were linked to the aircraft ‘s arouse controls. The want for those pods for other missions led to the development and field of a purpose-built “ Minigun faculty ” for gunship use, designated the MXU-470/A. These units first arrived in January 1967 with features such as an better 2,000-round cram and electric feeder allowing simplified reloading in flight. The initial units were unreliable and were withdrawn about immediately. [ 31 ] By the end of the year, however, the difficulties had been worked out and the units were again being fitted to AC-47s, AC-119s, AC-130s, and even being proposed for lighter aircraft such as the Cessna O-2 Skymaster. [ 32 ] A fit of two MXU-470/As was besides tested on the Fairchild AU-23A Peacemaker, though the Royal Thai Air Force subsequently elected to use another configuration with the M197 20 millimeter cannon. [ 33 ] In September 2013, Dillon Aero released the DGP2300 grease-gun pod for the M134D-H. It contains 3,000 rounds, enough ammunition to fire the minigun for a full moon minute. The organization is entirely collected. So it can be mounted on any aircraft that can handle the slant, rotational torsion, and recoil impel ( 190 lbf ( 850 N ) ) of the artillery. The pod has its own battery which can be wired into the aircraft ‘s electrical system to maintain a consign. [ 34 ] MXU-470/A modules in an AC-47
|US Army designation||US Air Force designation||Description|
|XM18||SUU-11/A||Gun pod fitted with the GAU-2/A/M134 7.62 mm machine gun and fixed rate of fire of 4,000 RPM|
|XM18E1/M18||SUU-11A/A||SUU-11/A/XM18 variant; various improvements including additional auxiliary power and selectable fire-rate capability (2,000 or 4,000 RPM)|
|M18E1/A1||SUU-11B/A||SUU-11A/A/M18 variant; differences modified selectable fire-rate capability (3,000 or 6,000 RPM)|
|N/A||MXU-470/A||Emerson Electric module for mounting a GAU-2B/A minigun; used in AC-47, AC-119G/K, and AC-130A/E/H aircraft|
versatile iterations of the minigun have besides been used in a number of arming subsystems for helicopters, with most of these subsystems being created by the United States. The first base systems utilized the weapon in a forward firing function for a assortment of helicopters, some of the most big examples being the M21 arming subsystem for the UH-1 and the M27 for the OH-6. It besides formed the primary turret-mounted arming for a number of members of the Bell AH-1 Cobra family. The weapon was besides used as a pintle-mounted doorway accelerator on a wide diverseness of transport helicopters, a role it continues to fulfill today .
|US Navy designation||Description|
|Mk 77 MOD0[ citation needed]||Machine gun mount for the GAU-2/Mk 25 MOD0/GAU-17 series of machine guns; deck mount applications|
|Mk 16 MOD8, MOD9, or MOD11||Mount for medium and heavy machine guns onto naval, ground, or air vehicles|
|Mk 49 MOD0 and MOD1||Remote weapon station mount|
Users [edit ]
See besides [edit ]
References [edit ]
Notes [edit ]
Sources [edit ]
- Ballad, Jack S. Development and Employment of Fixed-Wing Gunships, 1962–1972. Washington, D.C.: Office of Air Force History, United States Air Force, 1982.
- Davis, Larry. Gunships: A Pictorial History of Spooky. TX: Squadron/Signal Publications, 1982. ISBN 0-89747-123-7.
- Gervasi, Tom. Arsenal of Democracy III: America’s War Machine, the Pursuit of Global Dominance. New York: Grove Press, Inc, 1984. ISBN 0-394-54102-2.
- Gunston, Bill. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft Armament. New York: Orion Books, 1988. ISBN 0-517-56607-9.
- Jane’s Weapon Systems, 1986–1987. Ronald T Pretty, Ed. London: Jane’s Publishing Company, Ltd, 1986. ISBN 0-7106-0832-2.
- United States. Headquarters, Department of the Army. FM 1–40 Attack Helicopter Gunnery. Washington, D.C.: Headquarters, Department of the Army, 1969.