M134 Gau-17 Gatling Gun
M134 Gau-17 Gatling Gun

The M134 Gau-17 Gatling Gun, a variant of the iconic Gatling Gun, represents the pinnacle of modern military firepower. Its electrically driven rotary breech and clustered barrel design offer unparalleled rates of fire, making it a formidable asset in today’s defense landscape. Serving in multiple branches of the US military and numerous armed forces worldwide, the M134 Gau-17 is a testament to the enduring legacy of the Gatling Gun’s innovation and adaptability.

M134 Gau-17 Gatling Gun

GATLING means rapid-fire. It’s a crank-driven gun with a clustered barrel. General Electric manufactures it. The M134 Gau-17 Gatling Gun is the version of the M134 widely used in the Vietnam War. It is currently serving in the USN, USAF, and US Army.

M134 Gau-17 Gatling Gun
M134 Gau-17 Gatling Gun

M134 Gau-17 Gatling Gun specifications

  • Weight: 38 kg,
  • length: 29.5 inch
  • Caliber: 7.62×51mm NATO
  • Barrel length:22 inch
  • Rate of fire:2,000-6,000 rpm
  • Action: Electrically driven rotary breech
  • Gatling gun Muzzle velocity:2,800ft/sec
  • Maximum range:1,093 yd

Currently, this gun is serving the armed forces from all over the world.

Afghanistan, Brazil, Austria, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, ChezRepublic, Egypt, Finland, Georgia, France, Israel, India, Iraq, Jordan, Japan, Italy, Malaysia, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, Prague, Pakistan, Peru, Norway, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arab, Singapore, SouthKorea, Turkey, Spain, Thailand, Tunisia.

History

Right after World War II. United States Air Force felt much needed improved gun systems for their aircraft; old weapons systems like the M2.50 caliber were becoming obsolete by aircraft, and they needed a more lethal weapon with increased range.

In the 1880s, Richard J Gatling re-introduced the multi-barreled rotary weapon under the Army Ordnance, Research, and Development. Early tests gave the vintage Gatling gun, but when powered with the electric motor in place of the usual hand crank, it showed more power, and it was able to achieve fire rates of 4,000 rounds per minute.

The General Electric company created this weapon under the project name “Vulcan” in 1946. assigned to produce guns in the caliber prototype, assembled in three different calibers: 60 calibers, 20mm, and 27mm. After the series of tests, the 20mm was chosen for another set of tests to know whether it could be mounted on an aircraft weapon. The gun, known as the M61 20MM canon, started serving in the USA Army and Air Force.

Modification

The M61 weapon system was redesigned as the helicopters came into modern warfare, and it was redesigned to use the helicopters. After that, the M134 was introduced. This new weapon system was similar to the M61A1 but fired smaller 7.62mm percussion primed rifle cartridges fired at 6,000 rpm.

During the Vietnam War, M134 was used in helicopters like OH-6 Cayuse, AH-1 Cobra, and UH-1 Iroquois. In those helicopters, Only the pilot and co-pilot could fire that weapon. The GAU-17 is similar to the M134. The only difference is that GAU-17 is more lethal, and it can fire at high ( 4000 rpm) & low ( 2000 rpm )

The GAU-17 is currently serving on the UH-1N and H-60 helicopters, as well as on a number of American aircraft, helicopters, and boats.GAU-17 system works on the system consisting of a six-barrel rotary M134D gun system, barrels made of titanium suppressors, and the barrel unit rotating counterclockwise from behind the trigger.GAU 17 weapon system is highly demanded and highly prized in the US military.

Conclusion 

In conclusion, the Gatling Gun, particularly the M134 Gau-17, has evolved significantly since its inception in the 1880s. This weapon has proven its effectiveness and adaptability, from its electrically driven rotary breech to its use in modern warfare. Serving in various armed forces worldwide is a testament to the continuous advancement in military technology. The GAU-17, an enhanced version, is a highly prized asset in the US military, demonstrating its ongoing relevance and importance in today’s defense landscape.