US Navy/Marines newest weapon system GAU-21 deploys with UH-1Y

US Navy/Marines newest weapon system GAU-21 deploys with UH-1Y

20-Oct-2010 Source: US Navy

Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md. — The Navy and Marine Corps newest .50 caliber weapon system, the GAU-21, began its initial deployment with UH-1Y helicopters in September.

The Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA-169), based at Camp Pendleton, Calif., is the first squadron to deploy with GAU-21 mounted on the UH-1Y Hueys.

“We are excited to deploy a weapon on the Huey that has a higher rate of fire, greater accuracy and increased reliability,” said Capt. Brian Corey, Direct and Time Sensitive Strike Program Manager (PMA-242).

The GAU-21 has the capability to shoot at twice the rate of fire and is with one-third current dispersion of its predecessor, the GAU-16. The gun’s soft mount configuration increases the weapon’s accuracy and flexibility, while reducing wear on the aircraft.

“This was an accelerated delivery in response to a Marine Corps requirement,” said Jim Shepard, GAU-21 Integrated Product Team lead. “Normally, a system would be fielded 12-14 months after completing testing but the Marines wanted to deploy two new requirements at the same time, UH-1Y with the GAU-21 weapon system. Our team worked vigorously to ensure we could execute on time in preparation for the weapon’s first deployment on the Huey.”

A team from PMA-242 completed testing of the GAU-21 with the UH-1Y in May 2010 and the first system was fielded two months later. Since July, 88,000 rounds have been fired from the GAU-21 by HMLA-169 and the squadron has qualified all of their primary gun instructors in preparation for deployment, according to Shepard.

The UH-1Y is one of the several aircraft equipped with the GAU-21. Currently, the weapon system is being used by the fleet on CH-53D/E ramp mounted weapon system, CH-53D window mounts and MH-60R/S.

The GAU-21 program is managed by PMA-242, which is responsible for the acquisition, development, and sustainment of direct and time sensitive strike weapon programs.

PHOTO CAPTION: The GAU-21 is tested on the UH-1Y at Pax River in spring 2010. (U.S. Navy Photo)

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