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Library > Fact Sheets > General Electric GAU-8/A "Avenger" 30mm Cannon


Posted 6/7/2007 Printable Fact Sheet
30mm Rotary Cannon
General Electric GAU-8/A "Avenger" 30mm Rotary Cannon
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The General Electric-built GAU-8/A 30mm Avenger gun system could hold up to 1,174 rounds and could fire aluminum-cased ammunition with either armor piercing incendiary, high-explosive incendiary, or training practice rounds. The externally-powered system consisted of the gun, the feed system, and the drive system. 

During each revolution each barrel fired only once. The ammunition utilized a three-shaft transfer unit that moved the rounds into the gun rotor from the feed system. The GAU-8/A was equipped with a clearing technique to clear the gun after each firing and any unfired rounds which were still in the weapon but had not been used were returned back to the feed system.

The aircraft's hydraulic system was used to drive the gun's two motors. The cannon also had a linkless ammunition feed system, and any spent ammunition or unused cartridges were sent back to the storage drum. A firing burst rate of eight seconds was possible when the gun was operating at full rate, or four seconds at half rate. The barrel life of the gun was a minimum of 20,000 rounds.

During tests conducted at Nellis AFB, Nevada, the GAU-8/A proved to be able to destroy medium-sized tanks. The Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II was equipped with the GAU-8/A and turned in a stunning performance during Operation Desert Storm.

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