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Bad news for M2 BMG fans.

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by LaEscopeta, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. LaEscopeta

    LaEscopeta New Member

    I’m just the messenger; I didn’t make this decision…


    Corps helos to get new machine guns

    By Amy McCullough - Staff writer
    Posted : Tuesday Jan 5, 2010 10:16:50 EST

    Eventually, all Marine and Navy assault support rotary wing aircraft will be equipped with the M3M FN Herstal GAU-21 .50-caliber machine gun.

    For the Corps, it is now in use on the ramps of the CH-53E Super Stallion, a heavy-lift helicopter, as well as the ramp and windows of the CH-53D, the Super Stallion’s predecessor. But officials at Naval Air Systems Command also are working to integrate a door-mounted GAU-21 onto the CH-53E and the UH-1Y Venom, the Corps’ newest light-utility helicopter.
    The GAU-21, which remains in developmental testing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., can fire more than 1,000 rounds per minute compared to the roughly 700 rounds per minute of the M2 Browning GAU-16/A machine gun it is replacing. When factoring in the jamming problems experienced by the GAU-16, the GAU-21 can offer double the rate of fire of its predecessor, said Navy Capt. Brian Corey, the program manager for direct and time-sensitive strike programs.
    Engineers at Patuxent River, however, are still trying to figure out how the .50-caliber, belt-fed rounds should be fed into the gun and where the ammunition should be stored, Corey said.

    In addition to putting more rounds down range, the new gun, with a maximum effective range of 21,000 feet, is more accurate due to a new recoil compensation system that also reduces the wear and tear on helicopters. When you fire the GAU-16, the shock rattles all the way down to the airframe, which causes a strong vibration and makes accuracy difficult, said Col. Harry Hewson, the program manager for Marine light/attack helicopters. The new system absorbs that shock in the mount, he said. NavAir also is working to install laser sights for night use.
    The door-mounted GAU-21s are expected to enter operational testing by the end of the summer at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Calif. Marine Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 9 will test its accuracy and safety. Testing also will include a go at the Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course in Yuma, Ariz.

    Officials say they may begin fielding the weapon for door mounts on both the CH-53E and the UH-1Y in about a year. The guns cost about $60,000 each, including the mount system, and the Corps hopes to field 1,700 machine guns for the two platforms, Corey said.
    The additional firepower will allow Marine helicopters to stay at their station longer and provide more close-air support to grunts.
  2. Shadow Man

    Shadow Man New Member

    Looks just like the M2, 'cept it's better...I don't see the problem. Yeah, you can bemoan the fact that a legendary weapon is getting replaced, but if you have any common sense or good will for the troops, it's apparant that it is for a good reason. There, I've said my piece.
  3. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Active Member

    In bizarroworld, this would mean lots and lots of M2s about to appear on the surplus market at great prices!

    Oh, we can dream...
  4. desidog

    desidog New Member

    Isn't the M2 holding the title for longest-deployed MG in the US arsenal?

    /is that necessarily a good thing?
  5. kwelz

    kwelz New Member

    If it works don't fix it. If something better comes along replace it.
  6. BushyGuy

    BushyGuy New Member

    what they gonna do with the old M2's? can we buy some :) tell them covert them to semi-auto!
  7. Shadow Man

    Shadow Man New Member

    Some of the M2's are select fire. Should be pretty simple to make them semi-only.
  8. Owen

    Owen Moderator Emeritus

    My understanding is the M2 can be converted to the M3. the biggest part of the deal is that the M3 is fixed headspace and timing, so there is no issue with blowing guns up when the barrel is changed.
  9. Shadow Man

    Shadow Man New Member

  10. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    They can call it whatever they want too.

    But it is still just a Browning .50 machinegun with the GAU (Gun, Aircraft, Unit) military nomenclature name.

  11. Hatterasguy

    Hatterasguy New Member

    How does the M3 work? They look similer so I wonder if its just an evolution of Brownings design.

    My friend is a Lt in the Marines and loves the M2, he is like its just magic when you light them up on an enemy position.:D
  12. Shadow Man

    Shadow Man New Member

    It's real magic when a reserve unit lights you up in a blue-on-blue incident.
  13. gun addict

    gun addict New Member

    Every few years or so the military talks about replacing the Ma-duce , or the B52, or the C-130 because they're old

    none of those words has came true yet
  14. wishin

    wishin New Member

    The Browning .50 MG (M-2?) we had on our tanks 58-61, you screwed the barrel all the way in and then backed it out two clicks. Never had a problem. (there was a headspace go/no-go gage available).
  15. 627PCFan

    627PCFan Active Member

    I used to live 20 miles from Pax. I wanna know where they are "testing" this gun at because that base doesnt have anything larger than a pistol range that Im aware of LOL
  16. Shadow Man

    Shadow Man New Member

    Pax is probably just working out the kinks in mounting it, and performing any trouble shooting they see right now. The live-fire tests will occur at China Lake and Yuma, like normal.
  17. RP88

    RP88 New Member

    this doesn't seem like a replacement as much as it is an upgrade to dummy-proof the one problem that the M2 had (the headspace/barrel/timing thing).
  18. RockyMtnTactical

    RockyMtnTactical New Member

  19. zoom6zoom

    zoom6zoom New Member

    Yeah, nobody's making any real money from the existing system. Some congresscritter wants more pork for his district.
  20. CA2005

    CA2005 New Member

    About time. The M2, although very respectable, needs to be upgraded. THe M2 served well however!

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