The F-35A’s GAU-22/A 25 mm internal cannon allows the aircraft to maintain stealth against air adversaries as well as fire more accurately on ground targets
Pilots from the 388th Fighter Wing’s 4th Fighter Squadron were the first operational unit to fire the F-35A’s GAU-22/A 25 mm cannon in a strafing run during training. The two-ship formation fired on two sets of ground targets on the Utah Test and Training range Aug. 13, 2018. According to the USAF news release, loading and firing the cannon was one of the few capabilities Airmen in the 388th and 419th FWs had yet to demonstrate. The F-35A’s internal cannon allows the aircraft to maintain stealth against air adversaries as well as fire more accurately on ground targets, giving pilots more tactical flexibility.
The 25mm GAU-22/A is an externally powered Gatling gun developed for both the internal and external F-35 gun systems. This four-barrel gun is a derivative of our highly successful five-barrel, 25mm GAU-12/U gun.
Each of the four gun barrels has a breech bolt assembly that fires once per gun revolution. This ensures long barrel and breech life by distributing the heat and firing forces over all four barrels and breech positions. Continuous rotary motion reduces the impact loads on gun components, extending parts life and resulting in extremely high gun reliability.
The GAU-22/A is over 40 pounds lighter and occupies 20 percent less volume than the comparably equipped 5-barrel counterpart. The demonstrated versatility, coupled with significant combat lethality, makes the GAU-22/A gun an ideal candidate for air, land and sea platforms.
Photo credit: Todd Cromar / U.S. Air Force
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com