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|manufacturer= General Electric
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|manufacturer= [[General Electric]]
 
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}}<!-- Please fill in missing specifications above where possible -->
 
}}<!-- Please fill in missing specifications above where possible -->
   
The General Electric '''GAU-8/A Avenger''' is a [[30 mm caliber|30 mm]] hydraulically driven seven-barrel [[Rotary cannon|Gatling-type cannon]] that is typically mounted to the [[United States Air Force]]'s [[Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II]]. Designed specifically for the [[anti-tank]] role, the Avenger delivers very powerful rounds at a high rate of fire. The GAU-8/A is also mounted to the [[Goalkeeper CIWS]].
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The [[General Electric]] '''GAU-8/A Avenger''' is a [[30 mm caliber|30 mm]] hydraulically driven seven-barrel [[Rotary cannon|Gatling-type cannon]] that is typically mounted to the [[United States Air Force]]'s [[Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II]]. Designed specifically for the [[anti-tank]] role, the Avenger delivers very powerful rounds at a high rate of fire. The GAU-8/A is also mounted to the [[Goalkeeper CIWS]].
   
 
==History==
 
==History==
   
The GAU-8 was created as a parallel program with the ''A-X'' (or Attack Experimental) competition that produced the A-10. The specification for the cannon was laid out in 1970,<ref name="usaf">{{cite web |url=http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=1019 |title= GAU-8/A Avenger |publisher=National Museum of the USAF |accessdate=2009-09-14}}</ref> with General Electric and [[Philco-Ford]] offering competing designs. Both of the A-X prototypes, the [[Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II|YA-10]] and the [[Northrop YA-9]], were designed to incorporate the weapon, although it was not available during the initial competition, and the [[M61 Vulcan]] was used as a temporary replacement. Once completed, the entire GAU-8 assembly (correctly referred to as the A/A 49E-6 Gun System)<ref name="vector">{{cite web|url=http://www.vectorsite.net/ava10_1.html |title=A-10: Development & Description |last=Goebel |first=Greg |date=October 1, 2008 |accessdate=2009-09-14}}</ref> represents about 16% of the A-10 aircraft's unladen weight. Because the gun plays a significant role in maintaining the A-10's balance and center of gravity, a jack must be installed beneath the tail of the plane whenever the gun is removed for inspection in order to prevent the aircraft from tipping rearwards.
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The GAU-8 was created as a parallel program with the ''A-X'' (or Attack Experimental) competition that produced the A-10. The specification for the cannon was laid out in 1970,<ref name="usaf">{{cite web |url=http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=1019 |title= GAU-8/A Avenger |publisher=National Museum of the USAF |accessdate=2009-09-14}}</ref> with [[General Electric]] and [[Philco-Ford]] offering competing designs. Both of the A-X prototypes, the [[Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II|YA-10]] and the [[Northrop YA-9]], were designed to incorporate the weapon, although it was not available during the initial competition, and the [[M61 Vulcan]] was used as a temporary replacement. Once completed, the entire GAU-8 assembly (correctly referred to as the A/A 49E-6 Gun System)<ref name="vector">{{cite web|url=http://www.vectorsite.net/ava10_1.html |title=A-10: Development & Description |last=Goebel |first=Greg |date=October 1, 2008 |accessdate=2009-09-14}}</ref> represents about 16% of the A-10 aircraft's unladen weight. Because the gun plays a significant role in maintaining the A-10's balance and center of gravity, a jack must be installed beneath the tail of the plane whenever the gun is removed for inspection in order to prevent the aircraft from tipping rearwards.
   
 
[[File:A10gun1.jpg|thumb|left|GAU-8 closeup, showing the off-center mounting of the weapon and landing gear]]
 
[[File:A10gun1.jpg|thumb|left|GAU-8 closeup, showing the off-center mounting of the weapon and landing gear]]
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The gun is placed slightly off center in the nose of the plane with the front landing gear positioned to the right of the center line, so that the actively firing cannon barrel is directly on the aircraft's center line. The Russian [[Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-6-30]] is a similar class of weapon, although it is lighter with a higher fire rate, but has a lower muzzle velocity and overheats faster.
 
The gun is placed slightly off center in the nose of the plane with the front landing gear positioned to the right of the center line, so that the actively firing cannon barrel is directly on the aircraft's center line. The Russian [[Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-6-30]] is a similar class of weapon, although it is lighter with a higher fire rate, but has a lower muzzle velocity and overheats faster.
   
The A-10 and its GAU-8/A gun entered service in 1977. It was produced by General Electric, though [[General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products]] has been responsible for production and support since 1997 when the division was sold by Lockheed Martin to General Dynamics.<ref name="vector"/>
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The A-10 and its GAU-8/A gun entered service in 1977. It was produced by [[General Electric]], though [[General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products]] has been responsible for production and support since 1997 when the division was sold by [[Lockheed Martin]] to [[General Dynamics]].<ref name="vector"/>
   
 
The gun is loaded using Syn-Tech's linked tube carrier GFU-8/E 30&nbsp;mm Ammunition Loading Assembly cart. This vehicle is unique to the A-10 and the GAU-8.<ref name="zombie">{{cite web|url=http://www.zombiesurvivalwiki.com/page/Turrets+&+Mounted+Weaponry |title=Turrets & Mounted Weaponry |accessdate=2009-09-14}}</ref>
 
The gun is loaded using Syn-Tech's linked tube carrier GFU-8/E 30&nbsp;mm Ammunition Loading Assembly cart. This vehicle is unique to the A-10 and the GAU-8.<ref name="zombie">{{cite web|url=http://www.zombiesurvivalwiki.com/page/Turrets+&+Mounted+Weaponry |title=Turrets & Mounted Weaponry |accessdate=2009-09-14}}</ref>
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A very important innovation in the design of the GAU-8/A shells is the use of aluminum alloy cases in place of the traditional steel or brass.<ref name="jirka"/> This alone adds 30% to ammunition capacity for a given weight. The shells also have plastic [[driving band]]s to improve barrel life. They are imposing to examine and handle, measuring {{convert|11.4|in|mm}} in length and weighing {{convert|1.53|lb}} or more.<ref name="Spick2000_p44"/><ref name="jirka"/>
 
A very important innovation in the design of the GAU-8/A shells is the use of aluminum alloy cases in place of the traditional steel or brass.<ref name="jirka"/> This alone adds 30% to ammunition capacity for a given weight. The shells also have plastic [[driving band]]s to improve barrel life. They are imposing to examine and handle, measuring {{convert|11.4|in|mm}} in length and weighing {{convert|1.53|lb}} or more.<ref name="Spick2000_p44"/><ref name="jirka"/>
   
The Avenger's rate of fire was originally selectable, 2,100 rounds per minute (rpm) in the low setting, or 4,200 rpm in the high setting.<ref name="stephens">{{cite book|last=Stephens |first=Rick |title=A-10 Thunderbolt II |publisher= World Air Power Journal |year=1995 |ISBN= 1-874023-54-9 |page= 18}}</ref> Later this was changed to a fixed rate of 3,900 rpm.<ref>{{cite book|title=Time Compliance Technical Order 1A-10-1089, Flight manual TO 1A-10A-1 |date=20 February 2003 |edition=Change 8 |volume=1-150A |publisher=United States Air Force |page= vi}}</ref> In practice, the cannon is limited to one and two-second bursts to avoid overheating and conserve ammunition; barrel life is also a factor, since the USAF has specified a minimum life of at least 20,000 rounds for each set of barrels.<ref name="hill"/> There is no technical limitation on the duration the gun may be continuously fired, and a pilot could potentially expend the entire ammunition load in a single burst with no damage or ill effects to the weapons system itself. However, this constant rate of fire would shorten the barrel life considerably and require added barrel inspections and result in shorter intervals between replacement.
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The Avenger's rate of fire was originally selectable, 2,100 rounds per minute (rpm) in the low setting, or 4,200 rpm in the high setting.<ref name="stephens">{{cite book|last=Stephens |first=Rick |title=A-10 Thunderbolt II |publisher= World Air Power Journal |year=1995 |ISBN= 1-874023-54-9 |page= 18 |pages=}}</ref> Later this was changed to a fixed rate of 3,900 rpm.<ref>{{cite book|title=Time Compliance Technical Order 1A-10-1089, Flight manual TO 1A-10A-1 |date=20 February 2003 |edition=Change 8 |volume=1-150A |publisher=United States Air Force |page= vi}}</ref> In practice, the cannon is limited to one and two-second bursts to avoid overheating and conserve ammunition; barrel life is also a factor, since the USAF has specified a minimum life of at least 20,000 rounds for each set of barrels.<ref name="hill"/> There is no technical limitation on the duration the gun may be continuously fired, and a pilot could potentially expend the entire ammunition load in a single burst with no damage or ill effects to the weapons system itself. However, this constant rate of fire would shorten the barrel life considerably and require added barrel inspections and result in shorter intervals between replacement.
   
 
Each barrel is a very simple non-automatic design having its own [[Breech-loading weapon|breech]] and bolt. Like the original [[Gatling gun]], the entire firing cycle is actuated by [[cam]]s and powered by the rotation of the barrels.<ref name="jirka">{{cite web|last=Wagner|first=Jirka |url=http://www.military.cz/usa/air/in_service/weapons/cannons/gau8/gau8_en.htm |title=30mm cannon GAU-8 Avenger}}</ref> The barrels themselves are driven by the aircraft's dual hydraulic system.<ref name="hill">{{cite web|url=http://www.hill.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=5741 |title=Fact Sheet: General Electric GAU-8/A "Avenger" 30mm Cannon |publisher=Hill Air Force Base}}</ref>
 
Each barrel is a very simple non-automatic design having its own [[Breech-loading weapon|breech]] and bolt. Like the original [[Gatling gun]], the entire firing cycle is actuated by [[cam]]s and powered by the rotation of the barrels.<ref name="jirka">{{cite web|last=Wagner|first=Jirka |url=http://www.military.cz/usa/air/in_service/weapons/cannons/gau8/gau8_en.htm |title=30mm cannon GAU-8 Avenger}}</ref> The barrels themselves are driven by the aircraft's dual hydraulic system.<ref name="hill">{{cite web|url=http://www.hill.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=5741 |title=Fact Sheet: General Electric GAU-8/A "Avenger" 30mm Cannon |publisher=Hill Air Force Base}}</ref>
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==External links==
 
==External links==
{{Commons|GAU-8A Avenger|GAU-8 Avenger}}
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{{commons|GAU-8A Avenger|GAU-8 Avenger}}
 
* [http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=1019 General Electric GAU-8/A Avenger on USAF National Museum site]
 
* [http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=1019 General Electric GAU-8/A Avenger on USAF National Museum site]
 
* [http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ac/equip/gau-8.htm GAU-8 Avenger], Hill Aerospace Museum, fas.org
 
* [http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ac/equip/gau-8.htm GAU-8 Avenger], Hill Aerospace Museum, fas.org

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