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Dramatic but Overrated - The A-10 Gun GAU-8

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Dramatic but Overrated - The A-10 Gun GAU-8
(subtitled: Youtuber puts his head in the lion's mouth...) ;)


Back in the 1970s when the A-10 was being developed the trialed various 30mm cannot to see which was more accurate and faster firing.  They found that the DEFA 30mm was slower firing but more accurate than the GAU-8.  The choice was made because the GAU-8 was invented in America to adopt it.  It couldn't the broadside of a barn. The DEFA  could. :banghead:

Actually the engineers had to build a little ďwoobleĒíinto the GAU-8 to spread the shot pattern to increase the chances of getting hits on the target instead of all the shells landing in one spot. Iíve been on the range calling in strikes with A-10s and even with training rounds you donít want to be anywhere near the target. It looks like something from Star Wars.

Also, not all 30mm is created equal. The ADEN and DEFA (and the M230 Chain Gun) fire 30x113mm rounds with a fairly straight cartridge case, that are the lowest-powered 300mm ammunition, in terms of muzzle energy, available today (there used to be an even shorter 30x86mm version but it's long gone). The GAU-8 and the KCA, by contrast, fire a 30x173mm heavily necked round that has WAY more muzzle energy than 30x113mm.

What this guy is saying is not so much about the gun as how itís employed. The A-10 was developed for CAS with a gun to kill tanks with. Is the gun perfect for all types of CAS? No. Thatís why it has all those extra pylons for bombs, rockets, missiles and kitchen sinks. Remember, when the A-10 and the GAU-8 came out it was all about tanks pouring through the Fulda Gap into Germany and anything that flew had to be low and ďunder the radarĒ to survive ten minutes against Soviet overlapping SAMs. So the gun was very useful if you could acquire the target. Target acquisition was and is a problem for any aircraft, with any weapon, then and now. The GAU-8 is still very useful in whatís called permissive environment where a pilot can choose tactics best suited to the mission as the speak himself describes. So is the gun over rated? Maybe by Hollywood. The pros know what it can do and canít do and were it can do it.
Iím reminded of a story I believe was in the book Thunder Run about an Iraqi tank hidden under a bridge close to Bagdad. Everyone wanted to destroy the tank but save the bridge. So an A-10 basiclly flew down the highway and strafed the tank under the bridge and got a kill. I donít think you could do that with a Maverick missile.


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