Published on Oct 27, 2014
” Another great weapon for the US military and us army. Could prove useful in combating terrorists in Iraq and Syria. The GECAL 50, officially designated by the United States military as the GAU-19/A, is an electrically driven Gatling gun that fires the .50 BMG (12.7×99mm) cartridge.
The GAU-19/A is designed for a linkless feed, but can be fed from a standard M9 linked belt if a delinker feeder is used. The rate of fire is selectable to be either 1,000 or 2,000 rounds per minute. The Humvee armament kit version fires at 1,300 rounds per minute. The average recoil force when firing is 500 pounds-force (2.2 kN). In January 2012, General Dynamics announced they would be delivering a new version designated the GAU-19/B. It provides the same firepower in a lighter platform, weighing 106 lbs.
The GECAL 50 was first manufactured by General Electric, then by Lockheed Martin, and now by General Dynamics. Design work began in 1982. Early prototypes had six barrels, but a three-barreled configuration is now standard. The GAU-19/A was originally designed as a larger, more potent version of the M134 Minigun. Due to the loss of nine helicopters in Grenada GE started building prototypes of the weapon in both a three-barreled and a six-barreled configuration. The six-barreled version was designed to fire 4,000 rpm, and could be adapted to fire up to 8,000 rpm. The GAU-19 takes 0.4 seconds to reach maximum firing rate. Soon it was recommended as a potential armament for the V-22 Osprey. The magazine would be located underneath the cabin floor and could be reloaded in-flight. However, plans to mount the gun were later dropped. In 2005, the GAU-19/A was approved to be mounted on the OH-58D Kiowa helicopter. It also could have been used on the Army’s now cancelled ARH-70. In January 2012, the U.S. Army ordered 24 GAU-19/B versions for use on helicopters. All were delivered by the next month.
In 1999, the United States sent 28 GAU-19s to Colombia. Oman is known to use the GAU-19/A mounted on their HMMWVs. The navy of Mexico uses MDH MD-902 series helicopters with the GAU-19/A system mounted for anti-narcotics operations.
Colombia: Used by Drug Enforcement troops, and the Colombian national police
Japan: Used by Japan Coast Guard, on PC Kagayuki class
Mexico: Used by the Mexican Air Force and the Mexican Navy in Humvees, UH-60 Black Hawks and the MD Explorer
Oman: Used on Army HMMWV.
Gatling Gun History
The Gatling gun is one of the best-known early rapid-fire weapons and a forerunner of the modern machine gun. Invented by Richard Gatling, it is known for its use by the Union forces during the American Civil War in the 1860s, which was the first time it was employed in combat. Later it was used in the Boshin War, the Anglo-Zulu War and still later in the assault on San Juan Hill during the Spanish-American War.
The Gatling gun’s operation centered on a cyclic multi-barrel design which facilitated cooling and synchronized the firing/reloading sequence. Each barrel fired a single shot when it reached a certain point in the cycle, after which it ejected the spent cartridge, loaded a new round, and in the process, allowed the barrel to cool somewhat. This configuration allowed higher rates of fire to be achieved without the barrel overheating.
Patent drawing for R.J. Gatling’s Battery Gun, 9 May 1865.
The Gatling gun was designed by the American inventor Dr. Richard J. Gatling in 1861 and patented on November 4, 1862. Gatling wrote that he created it to reduce the size of armies and so reduce the number of deaths by combat and disease, and to show how futile war is.
Although the first Gatling gun was capable of firing continuously, it required a person to crank it; therefore it was not a true automatic weapon. The Maxim gun, invented in 1884, was the first true fully automatic weapon, making use of the fired projectile’s recoil force to reload the weapon. Nonetheless, the Gatling gun represented a huge leap in firearm technology.
Prior to the Gatling gun, the only weapons available to militaries capable of firing many projectiles in a short space of time were mass-firing volley weapons like the French Reffye mitrailleuse in 1870–1871, or field cannons firing canister, much like a very large shotgun. The latter were widely used during and after the Napoleonic Wars. Although the maximum rate of fire was increased by firing multiple projectiles simultaneously, these weapons still needed to be reloaded after each discharge, which for multi-barrel systems like the mitrailleuse was cumbersome and time-consuming. This negated much of the advantage of their high rate of fire per discharge, making them much less powerful on the battlefield. In comparison, the Gatling gun offered a rapid and continuous rate of fire without having to manually reload by opening the breech.”