F-35 25mm Cannon Live Fire

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Check out this video of the first live fire of the General Dynamics GAU-22/A four-barrel 25mm cannon onboard an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at Edwards Air Force Base in California. It weights in at 230 pounds and spits rounds out at 3300 shots per minute with a muzzle velocity of 3560 feet per second. Here’s a pretty interesting tidbit, what if you need to take out bad guys while taxiing?!

The tests are done using a target practice round, PGU-23/U, which fires from the gun, but does not explode on impact.

The tricky part about this test phase is that the gun will never operationally fire on the ground. To conduct the test, they have to use software to bypass interlocks and “fool the aircraft to make it think it’s in the air.

[Source: www.edwards.af.mil]



Ray I.

Long time gun enthusiast, archery noob, Mazda fan, Sci-Fi nerd, Whiskey drinker, online marketer and blogger. My daily firearms musings can be found over at my gun blog ArmoryBlog.com and Instagram.

Shoot me an email at ray.i@staff.thefirearmblog.com


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  • Martin M

    But what if you have to blast open the hangar door to save the world, or mow down baddies to take off? What an over engineered piece of junk.

    • BattleshipGrey

      Indeed. What if the aircraft is damaged and can’t take off. Missiles are out of the question, but it should be able to fire on the ground and be useful instead of being a billion dollar paperweight.

      • Bill

        um, what? How useful is a jet taxing around on the ground shooting stuff for 3 seconds?

        Now if they made a quick-dismount gun fixture and could pintle mount it on a Toyota pickup, that would be something.

        • crackedlenses

          A 25 mm. 5-barreled weapon firing 3300 RPM. In the back of a pickup truck. Just picture this for a moment….

          • Syrian rebels’ minds would explode!

          • Norm

            Yep.

            We’ll ship a bunch of those to Iraq for the Iraqi Army to drop at the first sign of trouble.

            And ISIS will send us a thank you card…

        • nadnerbus

          Air Force Procures New Anti Aircraft Weapon System, Named The Technical.

      • All the Raindrops

        youre playing too much grand theft auto lol

    • TechnoTriticale

      The existence of the lock-out code raises the risk of being locked out while aloft. Airbus assures us that this couldn’t happen …. right.

      And yeah, that recent F16 report does suggest that if the F35 ever has to use the gun, it’s dead, so why not spend the weight on more missiles.

      • JSmath

        That recent report tested one of the first, experimental F-35’s, without most of its modern avionics.

        • jay

          It was within visual range simulated dogfight and when you are in that kind of fight, dynamo performance is what wins the fight, not avionics. That is climb rate, turn rate, speed, thrust to weight and wing loading. That’s what matter in a close I fight. Not avionics. The only thing that can make a big difference is helmet mounted sight and high off-boresight capable missiles and today, most newer fighters have those.
          The problem with f35 is that, from the start, it tried to be too many things and will most likely fail in most of it’s jobs. The plane has just too much drag and not enough wing to be competitive in a close in fight with most modern fighters.

          • JSmath

            One of the systems not available on the F-35 in question, AF-2, was its HOBS avionics.

          • Jay Bee

            Why about having a flameout in flight.

            2 engine f-16 wasn’t a problem.

            One engine f-35 makes an expensive problem.

            Plus all the scale up turbine problems they are STILL having with the the f-35

          • tt_ttf

            2 engine F-16 – way to show you don’t know what you are talking about

          • Jay Bee

            Typo thanks.

          • tb

            The problem is you (and many others) think modern air battles are (or will be) fought within visual range.

          • Phil Hsueh

            With ROEs being what they are, it’s quite likely that we’ll be fighting within in visual range, even if it’s at the extreme limits. It’s also worth noting that the F-35 can only carry something like 4 AMRAAMs internally, that’s not a whole lot of missiles and as good as our missile tech has gotten so has counter missile tech and there are going to be leakers which will leave the F-35 with only 2 options, turn tail and run or try to engage with guns knowing that it’s a very good dogfighter.

          • Seburo

            ROE will prevent BVR engagements. Any future conflicts in places such as the Persian gulf and south china see will be extremely crowded airspace for the first days of a conflict. More than likely pilots will be required to visually identify aircraft prior to engaging them to prevent shooting down a 737 that appeared to
            be an MIG-29 on radar… Now your F-35B/C is forced into its most vulnerable engagement on a routine basis.

          • Emfourty Gasmask

            As if the enemies there care about our ROEs. They’ll shoot down anything they can track.

          • Seburo

            They have similar ROEs to us. No one is stupid to enough shoot down might be a civie craft and instigate an international incident. Or did you not see those F-22s escorting Russian turboprop bombers?

          • Sickshooter0

            Tell that to the people on the Malaysian flight who had an uscheduled stop in the Ukraine.

          • mikee

            That’s what they said in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s , 1980s etc., A/C combat often degrades back to visual so it seems sooner or later.

      • jay

        The gun is in there more for the close air support than air to air. If enemy fighters get that close to it to have to use a gun, the f35 is as good as dead.

        • Sianmink

          How much CAS can you do with 180 rounds?

          • Martin M

            Enough for the Air Force to kill the A-10.

          • Sianmink

            Some committee or other forbade the USAF brass from killing the A-10 for another 10 years. So for now at least, pigs can still fly and BRRRRRRRRTTTTTTT

          • Which angers me to no end! Keep the A-10~

          • Secundius

            @ Phil W.

            Why Not? Unless you know of Something in the Current Inventory that can do the Job of the A-10, or DO IT BETTER, Speak Up. Because I Sure Don’t…

          • displacedjim

            Ask the Marines.

        • darthcoder

          This aircraft is too expensive. IMHO, it will *NEVER* do CAS.

          • Uniform223

            What about the F-16, F-15E, F-18, and B-1? All of which are expensive aircraft in their own right and all of which have done majority of CAS missions for over 10 years now.

          • nadnerbus

            Considering they are loath to use the F-22 operationally in combat theaters, and the F-35 is getting to be in the same price category, he may have a point.

            Though by the time the F-35 is actually operational and in full production, they probably wont have a choice. The 4th gen fleet will be worn out.

          • Martin M

            At the rate things are going, the F-35 will be obsolete by the time it’s actually operational!

          • Hail Mohammed

            Yes- badly- and darthcoder is only wrong in that it probably will end up having to be used after those more capable aircraft are pensioned off to fund absolutely any crazy program except for capable CAS aircraft- whether those may be the tried and tested A-10, or the tried and tested A-29, or the perfectly capable T-6 II.

            For fecks sake, the Air Force could buy back the OV-10’s that a bunch of operators continue to use in ‘heavy-duty’ roles, and put a better gun on them and do a better job of CAS than the F-35.

          • displacedjim

            We’ve been performing CAS for the last 14 years in Afghanistan and Iraq… badly?!? Well, I’ll grant you could be right, if you define “badly” as being “the worst in history, except for all the rest throughout history.”

          • mikee

            Vipers and Harriers – not leaving out Hogs etc., do a good job. Biggest handicap are rules of engagement. Go read “Viper Pilot” by Dan Hampton and the “A Nightmare’s Prayer” by Michael Franzak. Lawyers really screwed over Iraq II and Afghanistan!!

          • Martin M

            F-16s DO make decent CAS aircraft, but they weren’t purpose built for that role like the A-10. As such, they cannot carry nearly the ordinance load. I remember a problem that arose from Desert Storm was seriously increased airframe fatigue from carrying bomb loads. They’re careful to not overload them now, which is fine for a low intensity conflict, but the problem will arise if the Ops tempo increases. I suspect the F-35 will have the same problem. They’re just not designed to be bombers.

          • mikee

            I agree.

          • Martin M

            Very first picture is a F-35 loaded to the max. Which means, in reality, maximum takeoff, minimum fuel, minimum range, minimum maneuverability.
            The USAF tries to claim that anything that can drop ordinance is CAS capable, but we know they’re not.
            The A-10 is purpose built which means it can do lot’s of things that none of those planes pictured can not. Like long loiter from crap airfields while carrying plenty of ordinance and having a low cost per hour to operate. F-35s performing the same role would require more aircraft, operating from further away, and costing more per hour.

            Speaking of multi-role, how much of that has been required lately? (excluding Navy Birds)

          • Uniform223

            “F-16s DO make decent CAS aircraft, but they weren’t purpose built for that role like the A-10.”

            Well no one in the right mind well argue that the A-10 isn’t a great aircraft for the job, the argument/debate is that with modern CAS capability much broader to the fleet; why need a dedicated platform? Again the A-10 is great for the role of CAS or most things relating to that but anything out side of those roles it cannot do.

            There is also the problem of funding and logistics. Though dedicated purpose built platforms will always do better, the down side is that those platforms are essentially a one trick pony and each different platform will require its own logistical train. So if you had an Airforce that needed capabilities like Strike, Attack, Air Superiority, ISR, EW (electronic warfare); you’ll need an individual specific aircraft to fill each role. Though each aircraft will be great at that job because they were designed and built that way, you’ll have to design and develop each individual platform which means money for each individual platform. With multi-role aircraft like F-35, Viper, Hornet, Rafale, ect… you’ll only need one aircraft that can fulfill those roles adequately enough. Multi-role capability is the trend and with current and emerging technologies it does seem to be the future for any foreseeable combat aircraft.
            Other aircraft have been providing CAS for over 10 years now. Even the F-14D before it was retired in 2006 did CAS and strike missions over Iraq and Afghanistan. Before it was retired the F-14D gained another nickname, Bombcat. This has been said once and I’ll say it again, CAS IS A MISSION, NOT A PLATFORM.

            “They’re just not designed to be bombers.”
            Now you’re moving the goal post…

            Multi-role strike aircraft…

            http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-83oakMYwHuU/VLtntuSe4VI/AAAAAAAAWXI/8NhXGsy6KAI/s1600/US%2BF-35%2Bfighters%2Bto%2Bshow%2Bsuper%2Bassault%2Bweapons%2B5.jpg

            http://files.air-attack.com/MIL/f15/f15afghanistan_2_20081109.jpg

            http://www.kiwimodeller.com/~kmodel/media/kunena/attachments/380/FA-18FVFA-1036.jpg

            Bombers…

            http://img.planespotters.net/photo/336000/original/86-0124-USAF-United-States-Air-Force-Rockwell-B-1-Lancer_PlanespottersNet_336314.jpg

            http://uncensored.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/b52asshole.jpg

          • Madcap_Magician

            Multi-role is only valid within reason. It will probably be cheaper, faster, and better to field several aircraft that each do two jobs than to field a single aircraft that does all of them.

            It’s difficult to reconcile the CAS performed by an A-10 with any other airframe. Nothing else has the loiter time, combination of powerful gun and reasonably capacious ammunition supply, and airframe/pilot survivability.

          • Uniform223

            “Multi-role is only valid within reason. It will probably be cheaper, faster, and better to field several aircraft that each do two jobs than to field a single aircraft that does all of them.”

            If you have to field several different platforms that can only do two jobs each, how would that be cheaper than fielding one platform that can do those multiple roles equally well?

            “It’s difficult to reconcile the CAS performed by an A-10 with any other airframe. Nothing else has the loiter time, combination of powerful gun and reasonably capacious ammunition supply, and airframe/pilot survivability.”

            Yes it is difficult if not impossible to compare the A-10 to any other aircraft or platform (the only thing that comes close to it is the Su-25 Frogfoot). Understand when and why the A-10 was created and designed in the first place, then look at the change in technology and tactics. The way the A-10 was supposed to perform CAS back then ISN’T how the current A-10C performs CAS now. Yes there are strafing runs and they do fly low but really those instances are few and far in between.

            As former US Army I love the A-10, next to the F-22 it is my favorite combat aircraft. As far as CAS is concerned these are the only things I care about… its available and its not getting dropped on me; I couldn’t care less if its coming from a Warthog, Apache, Strike Eagle, Viper, Hornet, Rhino, Harrier, Cobra, Bone, BUFF, Lightning, Specter, Predator, or even if there is nothing around but an F-22…

          • Madcap_Magician

            I would agree with you in theory, but the problem is that the “one platform that can do those multiple roles equally well” typically ends up proving that it can’t, a problem that is only exacerbated by aircraft concept-to-production lead times so long that there really isn’t a way to foresee what the actual use will be.

          • Secundius

            @ Hail Mohammed.

            Out of 360 OV-10 Bronco’s built, only 17 are still flyable World Wide…

          • Martin M

            Good aircraft. A good friend of mine was a tech.

          • Secundius

            @ Martin M.

            Actually, A Great Aircraft. Underutilized, but Great. A Rear Compartment Section that could hold upto 3,200-pounds of additional Weaponry or Ammunition. And one of the Few Land Based Aircraft that could actually Take-Off and Land on a Moving Naval Ship…

          • Martin M

            I completely agree. But those were the days when the US had a very wide variety of aircraft. Now, everything is multi-role one size fits all. Sure it’s cheaper in the realm of logistics and training, but the lack of diversity is not a good thing.

    • JSmath

      Since you’re unaware, I’ll just inform you that no fighter or attack aircraft in the US inventory for the past 50 years has been capable of firing while on the ground.

      F-14, F-15, F-16, F-18, A-10, etc… None of them.

      Correctly engineered by people who know what the hell they’re talking about, piece of junk.*

      • TDog

        I think he’s making a joke.

        • Martin M

          Super villains in their super lairs are no laughing matter!

          On a serious note, I worked in aerospace all my professional life. Take if from me, the F-35 and F-22 programs have major problems. Not the least of which have been ridiculous lead times (multiple decades!), which have allowed technology and foreign capabilities leapfrog the weapon system. The result is program delays, cost overruns, and missed deadlines. All this leads to a unit cost that is beyond absurd. For a single F-35, you can nearly buy and entire squadron (12 aircraft) of F-15s, 16s, or 18s! This snowballs into having fewer aircraft (and fewer pilots), which increases the hours on the airframe, which leads to early fatigue, which increases costs. The cycle continues. I’ve known a lot of wonderful, intelligent people who have put a lot into these programs, but the mismanagement has made the whole affair a joke.

          • TDog

            I agree. I’m not the biggest fan of the F-35 because overall it smacks more of a business plan than a plan for national defense.

          • Martin M

            Bingo, TDog.
            I worry about what they are going to do to the next bomber.

          • TDog

            Probably call it something inane like “the Joint Combination Multirole Tactical-Strategic Long-Range Bomber” and try to engineer it to fit all three legs of the nuclear triad, i.e., a bomber that can launch its payload from a silo, in the air, or from underwater.

          • Who knows but if it starts out as Multi-role it will be a loser.

          • Madcap_Magician

            Well, the F-16 turned out well, and the Strike Eagle variant of the F-15 is no slouch.

            But definitely starting out designing a military aircraft by Congressional committee is a recipe for failure.

          • BR549

            The two key words, here, being “Congressional” and “failure”.

          • BR549

            It’ll be made out of balsa and rubber bands with a proprietary space-age titanium alloy connector rod between the band and the prop.

          • Norm

            And in the meantime, Obama is desperately trying to get rid of A-10 Warthogs. He already clobbered the F-22 Raptor series.

            After all, a strong America is a free America, and that is NOT in his long range plans.

          • TDog

            I don’t agree with Obama on much, but reducing military spending is one of his better moves.

            People tend to make the mistake of equating money spent on defense with a strong military, which is not the case. Just as a person on welfare does not become a millionaire, neither does an establishment that has been given an unlimited budget turn out the best gear possible. In fact, there’s every reason to believe that unlimited budgets engender the sort of profit-driven model that actually erodes military readiness rather than enhancing it.

            And getting rid of the Warthog is the Air Force’s thing. I’m not sure what Obama’s stance on it is, but when Air Force officers are ordering airmen NOT to say anything good about the A-10 under penalty of treason, that’s hardly Obama’s bag.

          • B Penn

            With that said, what is different from this procurement from any other aircraft procurement since WWII ?

          • Martin M

            Kelly Johnson and Co. had the SR-71 from paper to flight in just a few years, WITH SLIDE RULES! The F-4 Phantom went from idea to prototype in 3 years. RFP for the Lightweight Fighter went out in ’72, and F-16 production began in ’75.
            The JSF (F-35 winner) program officially began in ’93, and the ATF (F-22 winner) program began in ’86.
            That’s what is different.

          • Lasis

            What’s different – previously there was the Cold War, while until recently there was no pressure – USSR dissolved, China was lacking in technology, so it seems it’s about to change now.

          • Martin M

            But can the change institutionally? Culturally?
            I hope so, but I won’t hold my breath.

      • mikee

        JS – if that is the case, how do they zero the cannons point of impact/dispersion? Do they use a collimator or some other gadget?

        • Martin M

          You are correct. Collimator and boresight.

      • Lasis

        What do you mean, F-16 can’t shoot while on the ground?! I saw it with my own eyes! It didn’t just fire cannon, it can also lounch missiles … in a 1980s Hollywood movie

  • colin

    As you all know the mauser 27mm in tests was better .more rounds first 0.5 secs .more weight of ammo on target first sec.etc …BUT as it wasn’t American ..well you know …America just told it’s international partners to ignore the facts and STUFF YOU … buy American COS “merica best right . Shame on you another missed opportunity p in the wind…..

    • JSmath

      American style of dogfighting/gun use is much more attuned with hose-spray type firing patterns; Decades of fighter pilot experience versus metrics engineers use to highlight the positives of their system.

      In my head, I do see revolver cannons as more reliable and desirable, but I have no problems admitting I’ve never had to use a cannon in a dogfight.

      • Sianmink

        Our doctrine for gunfighting is to put the target plane in the funnel and hold down the trigger as you pull through them. Built-in dispersion of the gun gives a passably good shotgun effect. The F35’s 180 rounds will let you do that right about once, maybe twice if you’re careful.
        Now if they’ve switched to the MiG-29 style radar-guided auto-burst system, they might get more mileage out of it. A 25mm HE round only needs 2 or 3 hits to take another fighter totally out of the contest.

        • nadnerbus

          There was a recent article somewhere about how the gun was going to be delayed for quite a while due to, what else, software issues. I find it entirely possible if not likely that the gun will be slaved to a whole new gun sight and software that will do precisely that (only fire while on target. Shoot by wire, so to speak)..

      • KestrelBike

        Bro, do you even dogfight?

    • jay

      The bk27 was a lot more expensive if I remember correctly, but I agree. The multi barrel gun, in a plane that can carry so little ammo, is such a waste. A heavy and bulky gun in a plane that’s already heavy and bulky is stupid.

      • Bill

        if 230 pounds is an accurate figure, that isn’t heavy. Granted, no Predator shoot from the hip weight, but for a cannon with those specs, that’s pretty light.

      • Uniform223

        180 rounds for the A model and 220 for the B and C… that is still more ammo than what your Mig-29, Su-27, Typhoon, Rafale, or Gripen can carry. That 25mm is an an Armor Piercing Explosive round. So yeah the F-35 doesn’t carry as much ammo as its 20mm American brethren but either way a 10 or even 20 round burst from that would give you a bad day.

        Before someone pipes up about “oh but the A-10’s GAU-8 can carry up to 1000+ rounds and its used exclusively for CAS”. Well the USMC has been using the AV-8B’s GAU-12 25mm with only 300 rounds and they’re fine with that.

      • Secundius

        @ jay.

        Probably True. But an Impulse Revolver Autocannon takes up a only about 1/3 the usable volume than a Rotary Autocannon does. And the extra space can be used for additional ammunition storage…

    • Phil Hsueh

      And that’s supposed to explain the British built 105 that first equipped the Abrams, and the German 120mm that the Abrams now uses. Then there’s the M9 made by Beretta, the M240 & 249 made by FN, the SCAR, also made by FN, the Carl Gustav, and the AT4, amongst other foreign made weapons systems.

  • BattleshipGrey

    Yup…pretty sure I need one of those for my minivan.

  • Will

    Did anyone else read the news article about the F-35 going head to head with an F-16 and getting its ass handed to it?
    The article said its a POS as a dog fighter.
    If this is true then it’s just another Air Force boondoggle and a billion dollar paper weight in deed.
    Take this program money, give it to the troops for pay and benefits and make the Air Force, Navy and Marines all fly the F/A-18.
    Coming from a guy who knows practically nothing about fighter aircraft.

    • JSmath

      The article you’re speaking of was essentially ignorant bullsh*t, just more ranting and raving from haters; which you’ll find plenty of, especially among those who know little to nothing about fighter aircraft.

      The F-35 was one of the stripped down test models (AF-2), and did not have access to the production model’s HOBS avionics nor its stealth paint coating. Say what you want about what dogfight is “supposed” to be, but you might as well take a new rifle, remove its muzzle device, disable the gas system, and paint it bright pink then complain its not as good in a gunfight.

      • Phil Hsueh

        So it wasn’t a full production model, it’s still the same base airframe with the same engine and maneuverability, this means that a full production model F-35 is still going to have a hard time turning and burning with any potential opponent, and opponent that isn’t going to try to dogfight with it with drop tanks under its wings. Whether its using missiles or guns a dogfight still involves maneuvering and managing your energy to get yourself into an optimal position to use your weapons against your opponent and if the F-35 can’t manage to get into even a HOB firing position or maintain long enough to get a lock because it can’t keep up with a wildly maneuvering opponent then it’s going to have problems. It’s also worth noting that the F-35’s stealth won’t help it much in a dogfight since it’s nowhere near as stealthy as an F-22 and its stealth coating and profile is optimized to make it stealthy mostly from head on so once you get on its 6 or even go at it from its flanks its stealth is going to be minimized.

    • Seburo

      It can’t do BVR well either. As getting the Meteor or other new missiles is nothing more then a fanboy fantasy.

      It’s engine also gives it the an infrared signature about the size of a B-52. Meaning it will be seen by even older IRST.

  • Tace

    I am just glad that they actually included a gun with this plane unlike F-4 design. On the other hand, anyone else really underwhelmed with every F-35 footage they see?

  • junyo

    First, the whole using ‘software to bypass interlocks and “fool the aircraft to make it think it’s in the air”‘ is BS. Lockheed Martin is estimating delivery of the software to actually fire the guns in in the air for the F-35A sometime around 2019. That’s right, after decades of development it’s going to take several years to write/debug the code for such a low priority system as the frakking cannon. This despite GD delivering the cannon early, and LM having experiance with variants of this canon. So basically they hardwired the SW to do the test and make some cool video.

    Also, 3,300 RPM out of the cannon, but the Marine/Navy versions carry a max of 220 rounds. The F-35A (the USAF variant shown here) only carries 180. So at best you get a burst or two. But it’s supposed to be a dogfighter/close air support/flying Swiss Army knife.

    This program will be over a trillion (with a T) dollars to do stuff that 30-40 year old aircraft do better.

    • Sianmink

      All accounts have put the F-35A’s dogfighting prowess at rather a lot less than that of the F-16C block/50. Limited visibility and its difficulty in using off-boresight dogfighting missiles hurts it badly.
      If it can engage from BVR without being detected firs though, it’s golden.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Rock and/or Roll.

  • hikerguy

    For all that it’s worth, I think it should be renamed the A-35. It’s obviously for ground support anyway and not a true fighter. I do not think it will do well in a true dog fighting situation with most modern fighters. Like battleshipgrey said, I would like the cannon in my minivan as well, LOL.

    • Phil Hsueh

      Definitely not a dogfighter by any means, it can’t even compete against an F-16 with drop tanks. It’s more of a missile and bomb truck, launching its (few) missiles from BVR and dropping bombs from 30,000 ft.

  • Seburo

    Too bad only the A will have the GAU-22. The other two variants will have them mounted on external pods. Comprising it’s already obsolescent stealth. The gun would be more useful on upgraded F-22,F-15s, and Super Hornets.

    It’s still in development after 20 years. By way of comparison, the F-14 Tomcat was in development for 22 months.

    The F-35 is pretty much the F-111 all over again. It’s inferior to it’s contemporaries. It’s has a very hot engine and will be seen by other planes using IRST. UCLASS will be able to do it’s job better. The Airforce should consider having the LRS-B loaded with missiles and the New Generation Jamming pod.

    Finally troop cuts are happening to preserve this failed program.

    • mikee

      F35 stealth is compromised by having one of the hotest known engine heat signatures of any current combat aircraft. Infra red detection has severely down graded stealth.

  • Sianmink

    At 3300 rpm it will go from full load to bingo guns after 3.2 seconds of fire.
    The thing only carries 180 rounds. It had better have a radar-assisted gun like the MiG29 (which also has a tiny gun load) or you’re not getting much done. And you can just forget strafing ground targets.

    • Uniform223

      The F-16’s M61A1 is a 6 barrel 20mm cannon with a cyclic rate of 6000 rounds per minute. The F-16 only carries 511 rounds. The current USMC AV-8B’s GAU-12 is a 5 barrel 25mm cannon with a cyclic rate between 3600 and 4000 rounds per minute. The AV-8B holds 300 rounds. The F-35’s GAU-22A is a 4 barrel 25mm cannon with a cyclic rate of 3300 rounds per minute. The F-35A carries 180 rounds while the B and C variant holds 220. Exactly how much more or less time on trigger do these aircraft have when compared to each other? If the cyclic rate and rounds carried is such a concern wouldn’t a simple computer controlled cyclic rate for the GAU-22 be a solution?

      “It had better have a radar-assisted gun”
      After the F-86 I thought all guns and cannons on modern aircraft were radar assisted. So all this time we’ve been “eye balling” it?

      • Sianmink

        By radar assisted I mean like the Fulcrum, which fires a tight burst when it knows it will hit. Basically holding down the trigger gives the system permission to fire, but it only fires rounds that it calculates will hit, and IIRC stops after 10 rounds. Very little waste. Can’t strafe ground targets worth a damn though.

        • Secundius

          @ Sianmink.

          In the case of a Tank, you want to make a Deflection Shot Kill. Skipping the rounds Under the Tank where the Armor is the Weakest. And finding that Special Sweetspot, the Escape Hatch, “Weaker Still” All those WW2 Gun-Camera photo’s that looks like the film went Bad over the years. are in fact Deflection Shots. Searching out for the Sweetspot…

  • Bill

    I like the gas-cap door thing. I want mine in billet chrome. Isn’t this the plane that makes it’s pilots sick?

    • Phil Hsueh

      No, that’s the F-22 and that problem has been fixed. The F-35 is the plane that’s been having problems after problems and is less maneuverable than an F-16 with drop tanks.

      • Bill

        That’s it – I saw one fly at an airshow and thought it was proof that we’ve harnessed alien technology.

      • Uniform223

        Understand that the test in question that so many here have already mentioned have literally NOTHING to do with its actual flying characteristics IN COMBAT. To keep the test dynamic they used an F-16 that was comfortable at flying at its optimal flight envelope. The F-35 pilots have already said the F-35 has acceleration comparable to an F-16 block 50 but with slow speed handling similar to a hornet. The test was more about FCS tweaking to better fine the flight envelope where the F-35 would perform best at. Pretty much all modern aircraft with a relaxed stability design and fly-by-wire require FCS modifications in order to find the best area at which the aircraft can perform.

  • Jeff

    180 rounds! That’s ridiculous.

    • Uniform223

      The Typhoon 27mm only holds 150 and the Rafale’s 30mm holds 125…

  • Grindstone50k

    Billions of wasted dollars for a “solution” looking for a problem. Nobody but fighter jockies and contractors wanted this. Everybody who has any sense want’s the A-10.

    • Seburo

      Too bad the A-10 can’t take off from a carrier. The Royal Navy is about to have the most expensive Helicopter Carrier.
      While the RAF is gutting themselves in 2019 and will have only 127 fighters by retiring Torandos and older versions of the Eurofighters.

      • Secundius

        @ Seburo.

        You could probably Take-Off, but certainly not land. It would be like the B-25’s on the Doolittle Raid on Japan in WW2. But, then again, you do have a Naval Equivalent of the A-10. The S-3 Viking, flight characteristics are nearly identical…

    • Jay

      A10 is only good against two bit nations, armed with 60s tech. Anyone thinking the A10 can go hunt tanks at will, in a war against a nation with modern air defense systems needs to give his head a shake.
      That being said, I don’t see the f35 doing any better.

      • Grindstone50k

        Any nation with modern ADS will also have some more modern “unconventional” weapons. Plus, it’s far more likely that if it were to come down to having to take out a tank, a Reaper with some Hellfires would do the job just fine.

  • Bal256

    F-35 article *cues armchair generaling

    • Emfourty Gasmask

      It’s amazing how many people seemingly forget S400s and S300s exist, both if which render pretty much every plane in our inventory useless.. outside of the F35 and the F22. Conventional warfare is long gone.

    • USMC03Vet

      You don’t even need 4 doritos stars to know this is the most expensive military procurement fraud of all time.

  • Vitor Roma

    F-35 is all about being a mediocre plane relying on electronics and stealth. Nobody is gonna make me believe this plane is better than the Su-35.

    • tts

      As terrible as the F35 is all its competitors are in even worse of a “development hell” state, you can’t really say how they’ll perform yet. All statements otherwise are just claims with no evidence right now.

  • Vitor Roma

    F-35 is all about being a mediocre plane relying on electronics and stealth. Nobody is gonna make me believe this plane is better than the Su-35.

    • Emfourty Gasmask

      Except the SU-35 will be long wiped out by the F22s before the 35s even show up

      • Vitor Roma

        If you defense of F-35 is that there is another much better air plane to the work, that doesn’t help much.

    • crackedlenses

      It would be an improvement over the F-16, which is probably the most we should hope for.

  • Emfourty Gasmask

    In related news, a study shows that modern infantryman have sub-par horsemanship and sword-fighting ability, losing to a simulated cavalry charge against Napoleon’s 15th Hussars. The Ka-Bar simply is no match for a 1796 light cavalry sabre.

    • displacedjim

      Beautiful post!

    • Madcap_Magician

      A new Pentagon study just showed that missiles are the wave of the future in air combat maneuvers. Henceforth, future aircraft, including the military’s brand new F-4 Phantom II, will not be armed with guns…

  • MR

    Bypassing safety interlocks? That’s violating Life Saving Rules (LSR), a fireable offense.

    • USMC03Vet

      Incoming standdown for mandatory ORM classes!

  • Budogunner

    F-35, the war horse designed by committee.

    • USMC03Vet

      Even worse. International committee…

  • tony

    Engineers know what they do. Please stop criticizing this great plane.

    • superflex

      I hope that was sarc
      Does Lockheed Martin pay you in Hot Pockets?

      • Uniform223

        Why do people always accuse someone of being on some company’s payroll if they don’t agree with them? Can’t come up with a good counter so then you try and put them down with accusations, real classy… *slow clap*

        • tts

          They only do that when the company in question has screwed up so thoroughly that its unreasonable to give any benefit of the doubt.

          In this case though LockMart didn’t screw up per se. The F35 is doing as it was intended and is making the stockholders quite rich.

        • Because it’s easy and requires little thought.

    • Aurek Besh

      The engineers aren’t the problem here. They’re doing the best they can given the unrealistic design-by-committee requirements of the program.

  • Aurek Besh

    The F-35 is going to need that cannon when it fires all of its two missiles.

  • rayward

    I noticed that the barrels rotate clockwise while firing, then afterwards, rotate back in the other direction. Anyone know why this is? Seems like they’d always rotate in the same direction when firing, and just sit there when not firing.

    • All the Raindrops

      probably an optical illusion. like watching hubcaps on the car next to you on the freeway, heli blades

    • Aurek Besh

      The slow-motion clip does seem to suggest that the cannon turns back slowly rather than it being an illusion. My guess is that when the trigger is released, the high momentum of the gun and ammunition feed system will run a handful of live cartridges through the gun before everything halts (Primer ignition is electric rather than by mechanical firing pin, IIRC so the rounds aren’t discharged) and the reversal would bring back the last unfired round. With only 180-220 rounds in the magazine, saving those 10-15 overrun rounds is pretty significant.

  • A lot of the initial issues have been worked out but like any new aircraft of today’s complexity will have nagging little problems for a time.

    • tts

      No, VSTOL alone assures the aircraft will be mediocre throughout its expected lifetime. Why? Because the design decisions necessary for VSTOL effect the whole airframe. There will be no ‘working out’ of that design feature. Especially since the alternative engine got killed.

      Concurrency assures new aircraft and maintenance costs will continue to rise throughout the life of the F35 too. It will never be a ‘affordable’ aircraft and certainly not a cheap one as originally intended either.

      At best the F35 will continue to be a plane that is mediocre at everything and good at nothing.

      • Uniform223

        VSTOL… never heard that term before. I’ve seen STOVL which I assume you mean and VTOL…

        • tts

          Vertical Short Take Off and Landing is usually written V/STOL but its usage isn’t unheard of.

      • That always happens when you try to have one airframe do multiple roles.

      • mikee

        Exactly -jack of all trades and master of none!

  • USMC03Vet

    Hope it was worth neglecting the rest of the US military.

    Anything F35 is atrocious.

  • Uniform223

    At any rate here are the nasty little buggers the GAU-22A will be spitting…

    http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2014armaments/Wed15439Sande.pdf

  • Paul Faiella

    Hope the stupid cover door doesn’t fail at the start of a strafing run in support of a bunch of ground pounders under heavy fire! Well what the hell you wouldn’t want the bad guys to be able to “see” the golden turd coming.

  • Secundius

    Only one slight drawback. The Magazine in the F/A-35A, is 180-rounds and the F/AV-35B with external Cannon Pod 220-rounds. And F/A-35C, with internal gun 220-rounds. With the F/A-35A, 3 shot passes and out of ammo. Both the F/AV-35B and F/A-35C, maybe 4. They should have stuck with the original gun design of the BK 27x145mm Revolver Autocannon, with 125.9712% Greater Hitting Power…

  • TJbrena

    A 25mm gun isn’t much for CAS, and it doesn’t have much payload either. But let’s look on the bright side.

    – The F-35 has better weight distribution and stealth than theChengdu J-20, which judging by its landing gear is super back-heavy, which doesn’t bode well for maneuverability, and canards don’t exactly help RCS.

    – The F-35 doesn’t need to use afterburners to avoid stalling like the Shenyang J-31.

    – The F-35 has a far better frontal RCS than the Sukhoi T-50/PAK FA (see pic). Not like Russia will ever be able to afford more than a few dozen T-50s if/when they go into production.

    – Cost per unit, the F-35 is cheaper than the Gen 4.5 Dassault Rafale, and on par with the Gen 4.5 EuroFighter Typhoon in cost while maintaining technological advantages over both. The Rafale is superexpensive, and was offered at just over $200 million per plane to Brazil. Economy of scale counts for a lot.

    – Internal storage is continuing to be improved, with the Block 5 being intended to carry 3 missiles per internal bay, and it can be configured for all A2A. External pylons for extra payload are available at the cost of RCS, but “stealthy” pylons are supposed to reduce that drawback.

    – Fragmenting and guided rockets have better AoE than guns, and can be used by any compatible plane.

    – It’ll be numerous enough to make up for the loss of the already dwindling numbers of A-10s in service as a missile/bomb/rocket truck for areas with lousy AA defenses – especially supplemented by Strike Eagles, Falcons, and Super Hornets. The GAU-8 has awful performance against armor, so that’s not a major loss. 69mm RHA @ 500m and 38mm RHA @ 1,000m kinda limits it to use against light armor.

    The F-35 program gets a lot of flak (pun definitely intended), and a fair amount of it is deserved, but most criticism is either based on old or faulty information, and it looks like it’s head-and-shoulders above the competition even before full-rate production. It’s too early to be sure.

    Remember how much people panned the Bradley family early on, even a lot of the brass, and then it proved itself during the Gulf War? Remember all the hiccups the M16 had early on, and how the AR platform is now one of the most respected weapons out there? Remember how

    I’ll reserve my final judgement for when the F-35 reaches full production and we get reports from exercises and combat sorties.

    • Secundius

      @ Tjbrena.

      The Problem with the Sukhoi T-50/PAK FA is, that there ONLY TWO in service. Putin, HOPES to have 55 by 2020. The OTHER Problem Putin has is ENGINE’s, he does’t have them, the Ukrainian Republic DOES…

    • Uniform223

      “The GAU-8 has awful performance against armor, so that’s not a major loss. 69mm RHA @ 500m and 38mm RHA @ 1,000m kinda limits it to use against light armor.”

      Well the A-10’s “gun” might not be as effective against modern MBTs… understand WHEN the A-10 was designed and for what scenario. The A-10 was envisioned to fly against masses of Soviet armored columns of T-55s, T-62s, BTRs and early T-72s in a SHTF Fulda Gap situation. Few people know that majority of armored kills made by the A-10 during the first Gulf War was not by the GAU-8, but with the AGM-65 Maverick and heavier munitions.

      • TJbrena

        The A-10’s durability was designed to mitigate the Soviets’ fearsome AA, which was as integral to their offensive units – armor included – as their more defensive ones. Then again, A-10s were also expected to take heavy losses regardless, especially since the Soviets would most likely put extra AA into key offensives like the Fulda Gap to protect their armor from ground-attack aircraft.

        I know that it got most of its Gulf War kills using missiles and bombs. That proves my point: guns are overrated for CAS. A GBU or AGM will ruin any tank’s day, and a few bombs and rockets will kill enemy ground forces pretty well too.

      • Secundius

        @ Uniform223.

        RHA is Rolled Homogeneous Armor, NOT Reactive Armor. It’s what they used on Cruiser’s and Battleship’s in WW1 and WW2. The Japanese Super-Battleship IJS.Yamato, only had 26.5-inches of RHA armor. A TOW II Missile could easily punch a hole through that armor…

  • displacedjim

    No, the test guys do not say that. Two idiot RAND analysts said that back in 2008 regarding their simplistic combat analysis that was part of a bigger wargame, and that has been shot apart by real test guys and other professionals who do have some actual program knowledge.

    • rootman

      Why do mod this out?
      The pilot report is real.

      • Unlike the F-22 which can singly take on four F-15’s which is no small feat!

      • displacedjim

        That overblown test report has already been pretty well explained, and certainly does not equate to “can’t turn, can’t climb, can’t run.”

        • rootman

          OK.
          The pilot report is wrong.
          It is a great plane!
          USA, USA

  • ghost

    Be great for ground coverage, if it is pointed the right way.

  • So while this particular article may lead you to believe the two aircraft went out there mano y mano and duked it out, the reality is that we don’t know where each deficiency was found. My guess is the critiques on the pitch rates for gunning and abilities to jink happened in the canned offensive and defensive setups. But one has to remember this is a test platform and they were out to get test data, not find out who the king of the mountain is.

  • mikee

    JS – thank you. Boresighting and collimator bore alignment works well from my experience. Final sighting (range card etc.,) and micro adjustment is usually accompanied by about two to five shots from a rifle at a known distance. With a Gatling, some dispersion I assume is calibrated in the angle of the barrels to the centreline of the direction of rotation of the barrel assembly so that projectile coalescence ocurs at say 500 metres or whatever range is optimum.

  • Rick A

    Well, when I was doing space shuttle door gunnery we had ground suppression abilities from the ground, yo.

    Some of these guys are rich, man.

  • Frank

    Who gives a RATS ASS…….Go home and clean your house.