“Here comes Santa from the sky…
Raining .50 BMGs until he runs dry…”
Aerial Door Gunner, taste the words. Isn’t that what we all want to become in our next life?
These pictures are from the German Bundeswehr, with no real reference. To the best of my knowledge they are using a FN M3M (GAU-21) heavy machine gun in .50 BMG, which is also used by the US Navy and US Marine Corps rotary-wing assault aircrafts.
The M3m Is a full-auto, firing from an open bolt. The barrel is Hammer-forged steel, with an estimated lie of around 10,000 rounds.
GAU-21 stands for Gun, Aircraft, Unit-21.
You can check out the details of the M3M here: https://fnamerica.com/products/weapon-systems/fn-m3m-gau-21/
The FN® M3M (GAU-21) is a .50 caliber (12.7x99mm) single barrel rapid-fire machine gun suitable for rotary-wing aircraft applications providing defensive firepower ranging out to nearly 2000 meters. The FN M3M™ was designated by the U.S. Navy as the GAU-21 in 2004. The U.S. D.o.D. has authorized the use of the GAU-21 for all branches of service, and it is currently in operation on multiple rotary-wing platforms of the US Navy, US Marine Corps, and the US Air Force. An evolution of the M3 .50-caliber heavy machine gun, it produces a blistering 1,100 rounds per minute cyclic rate of fire through the use of open-bolt operation and a dual recoil buffer system. Operating independent of either electrical or hydraulic power sources, the FN M3M™/GAU-21’s unique soft mount system enhances weapon accuracy and minimizes the firing vibration transmitted to the airframe.
FN Herstal has been awarded a sole-source U.S. Navy contract to produce the FN M3M .50-caliber machine guns under the Gun, Aircraft, Unit-21 (GAU-21) designation for Navy and Marine Corps rotary-wing assault aircraft.
“Send It”. RATE OF FIRE: 950 – 1,100 RPM
Looks like an Aimpoint.
A little video of the GAU-21.