Wonderful Engineering

This Is How An A-10 Is Reloaded After A Mission

Do you know which is the largest jet aircraft gun? For those, who don’t know; it’s the GAU-8. It is used by A-10 and in fact, according to the running joke in aviation circle; the GAU-8 was the first gun that got its own plane. What it means is that the gun is so huge that it seems like the plane was built around the gun rather building a plane and incorporating a gun into it.

U.S. Air Force Airmen arm weapon systems on an A-10 Thunderbolt II prior to a mission supporting Operation Inherent Resolve in Southwest Asia, Jan. 31, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman James Richardson/AFCENT/Released)

What follows is a video that entails some basic facts about the gun and plane – mundane stuff. It gets interesting when you see exactly how this huge gun is reloaded following a mission. It is not as easy as reloading any other gun. There’s a lot going on.

A number of Air Force personals are required for carrying out reloading. The gun weighs in at 620 pounds and features 30x173mm armor piercing rounds. Once the ammunition, feed system and drum have been incorporated, the gun weighs in at 4,029 pounds.

The loading cart that is used for reloading the gun is quite unique. It was built by Syn-Tech and was made specifically for the A-10 since no other plane features GAU-8. It is known as GFU-8/E Ammunition Loading Assembly.