Why would the U.S. Army destroy stealth and give the F35B hanging gun pod? No machine gun, no bottom gas.

 Why would the U.S. Army destroy stealth and give the F35B hanging gun pod? No machine gun, no bottom gas.

The F-35B fighter on the amphibious assault ship Hornet (pictured above) for shooting training and the inflatable target nicknamed Killer Tomato (pictured below).

Recently, the US Armys Amphibious Attack Vessel Hornet conducted military exercises in the Solomon Islands waters. During the exercises, floating targets were set up at sea for the carrier-based aircraft to shoot. This is an inflatable target nicknamed killer tomato, which is orange-red in appearance and very conspicuous at sea.

It is worth mentioning that there are two kinds of aircraft firing live ammunition, one is MV22 Osprey, which is equipped with 7.62 mm machine gun, only for self-defense, the other is F-35B fighter aircraft, which uses a very special weapon, is 25 mm Gatling gun.

The GAU-22/A gun is used under the belly of the F-35B aircraft.

Perhaps a friend would like to ask, for the U.S. military fighter aircraft, the Gatling gun is not standard matching? Whats special about it? Indeed, the vast majority of U.S. fighter planes are equipped with artillery, but the F-35B is precisely one of the few that did not install artillery, in addition to the F-35C carrier aircraft did not install artillery.

Because the lifting fan of F-35B occupies a lot of airframe space, there is almost no internal space to install the fixed machine gun. But the U.S. Army is deeply committed to machine guns, especially the design of machine gun pods. The pod integrates machine guns, ammunition boxes and control lines, and is easy to load and unload. When it needs to perform ground attack tasks, the pod can open fire.

The machine gun used in the F-35B is standard GAU-22/A. It is an improved GAU-12/U with a caliber of 25 mm. The biggest difference is that the barrel has been changed from five to four barrels, mainly to reduce the size and weight of the barrel. With one barrel missing, the total weight of GAU-22/A was reduced to 103.4 kg, the weight was reduced by 18 kg and the volume was reduced by 20%. At the same time, the launching speed has also been reduced from 4200 to 3300 rounds per minute, but the launching speed is still quite fast. It takes more than three seconds to complete 180 rounds of spare ammunition, and only four seconds for 220 rounds of spare ammunition to emit light. But 55 shells can be fired in a second, enough to complete a ground strike and destroy a heavy combat vehicle.

The aircraft gun pod hangs in the belly of the aircraft and protrudes a large piece. Although it has been designed stealthily, it will inevitably affect the stealth performance of F35B.

One might ask why Americans would rather have their stealth fighters loaded with cannons than plug-ins.

F-4 ghost fighter aircraft fought during the Vietnam War.

This is still a legacy of the Vietnam War. The U.S. F-4 ghost fighter is the first U.S. military fighter without artillery. In the eyes of the US military, the F-4 has four sparrows and two rattlesnakes missiles, and air combat is enough, so there is no need to install machine guns.

However, it was never expected that the early air-to-air missiles had strong paper performance, but the actual combat was totally different. Moreover, the air combat skills of American pilots were not good at that time, so when facing Vietnams MiG fighters, the missiles often missed. After the ammunition was exhausted, there was no self-defense of aircraft guns, so they could only flee in confusion and be attacked by Vietnam troops. A lot of planes have been dropped.

The picture shows the F-4 fighter with external cannon installed in the belly of the aircraft, which has a great disadvantage. The cannon pod will increase considerable resistance and weight, and will produce sloshing which will lead to a decrease in accuracy.

Only then did the U.S. Army temporarily install external cannons for F-4 fighters, and later models added built-in cannons.

Although some people believe that the addition of aircraft guns does not bring higher survival rate to F-4 fighters, at least for pilots, the aircraft guns are the last straw to save lives. It is a nightmare scene to face MiGs three aircraft guns with bare hands and bare fists.

Since then, every generation of major fighter planes in the United States has never given up artillery.

F-22 machine gun.

Even the first stealth fighter, the F22, has a 20mm Fire God, and although it has little chance of using an aircraft gun in air combat, without this gun, the US military will have no confidence in it.

With the passage of time, the performance of American fighter planes has far exceeded that of that year. The missiles not only have strong data on paper, but also have achieved brilliant results in actual combat. Even so, modern air-to-air missiles are far from reaching the realm of 100 rounds. In recent years, the record of advanced air-to-air missile firing loss is everywhere.

In the Kosovo war, the pilots of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia even avoided the multiple missiles launched by NATO fighters over the horizon, which shows that the so-called non-escape zone of modern missiles is not absolute.

As a last resort under extreme conditions, aircraft guns are still of great significance to fighters.

Close-up of F35B machine gun pod.

But for the F-35B fighter, adding guns is another matter.

Because F-35 fighters and F-22 have different operational tasks, F-35 undertakes the task of attacking the ground. In its built-in warehouse, two heavy bombs can be mounted.

Aircraft artillery is the traditional US ground attack weapon. The A10 classic Avenger 7-barrel aircraft artillery destroyed countless Iraqi ground equipment in the Gulf War.

Although the F-35B machine gun has a caliber of only 25 mm, its lethality is considerable. Taking the main gun of M2 infantry combat vehicle as an example, its caliber is 25mm, and the vertical penetration depth can reach 90mm when launching armour piercing shells. This armor-piercing thickness can be used against the top armor of all tanks and armored vehicles, although not as good as A10, but its enough.

Under the Beast Mode, the F35 fighter carries a considerable amount of ammunition.

In addition, the F-35B is quite limited in stealth mode, but when it does not need stealth and goes to fire support, it can turn on the Beast Mode. At this time, F-35B can hang two 1000-pound bombs and two medium-range bombs in the interior warehouse, and six external hangers can also hang two air-to-air missiles and four bombs. Bombs, transformed into bomb trucks and then hanging machine guns, the firepower is very considerable.

At this time, the F-35B can be used for fire support during landing, or to attack the enemys solid fortifications, ground armored forces and other tasks. More importantly, F-35B can also act as a reconnaissance node in the air to guide our long-range firepower, such as Tomahawk missile or LRASM stealth missile, to attack enemy targets, so the combat form can be very flexible and powerful.

It doesnt matter whether you hang up the machine gun or not.

Source of this article: Netease Talking about Military Responsible Editor: Li Xi_N2587