Aerial Gunners in Action – Firing the Powerful GAU-21 & GAU-18 From the CH-53E / HH-60 Helicopters

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Aerial Gunners in Action - Firing the Powerful GAU-21 & GAU-18 From the CH-53E / HH-60 Helicopters

The aerial Gunners on board of helicopters perform a fire practice at targets during the weapons qualification training. They fire the powerful GAU-21 (FNH M3M) & the GAU-18 machine guns from the Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawks and the Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallions flying over the training arenas and water.

The M3-series is used by the U.S. military in two versions; the M3M and M3P. The fixed, remote-firing version, the FN M3P, is employed on the Avenger Air Defense System, and is currently used on the OH-58D, augmenting the XM296 .50 cal. machine gun. The M3M flexible machine gun has been adopted by USN under the designation GAU-21/A for use on helicopters. The GAU-21/A is also being used by the U.S. Marine Corps to upgrade from the XM-218/GAU-16 .50 cal. machine gun for the CH-53E, on the UH-1Y Venom, and on the Canadian Forces’ CH-146 Griffon via the INGRESS upgrade. The Air Force is looking to replace the GAU-18 on the HH-60G Pave Hawk with the GAU-21 because of its higher 1,100 rpm rate of fire, longer 10,000-round barrel life, and lower recoil through use of a soft mount.

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