The A 10 is an interesting plane. It is known by several names, including the "warthog" and the "tankbuster". Developed in the early 1970's by Fairchild-Republic, it is used for close air support (assisting troops on the ground). It's entire front half is literally built around its main armament, a 30mm General Electric GAU-8 Avenger gatling gun. This gun is an unbelievable piece of machinery, designed originally for anti-tank applications. The thought of being able to destroy a tank with bullets sounds ridiculous, but not when you consider that the rounds are a mix of HEI (high explosive incendiary) and armour-piercing incendiary, have depleted uranium cores, and are over 1 pound each. The gun is so big that the cockpit had to be moved up and over it, because the gun took up too much room in the nose. The gun weighs over 4000 pounds and is 19 feet long. It has 7 barrels, is hydraulic powered, and fires at a rate of 4200 rounds per minute. It can only fire in short bursts to prevent the barrel from melting, and actually slows the plane down when it fires. wow. check her out... this gives a good perspective!
Besides tanks and armoured vehicles, it seems to work pretty well against foot soldiers (gotta be messy), as this aircraft has seen a lot of action in the middle east these days. Here is a video the gun in action:
Here is one of the warthog giving air support to some troops on the ground (watch the whole thing). Remember, the bullets have such a high velocity that you see them hitting the target before you hear the gun firing! Listen for the VVVRRRRRRRPPPP sound...
One more. This was obviously a bit close for comfort, but looks like everyone was ok. Gives you an idea of how big those rounds are!
More coming soon, stay tuned....