THE GATLING GUN OF THE MODERN ERA, THE M61 VULCAN
SHOWCASES THE TRUE POWER OF CONTEMPORARY HAND OPERATED WEAPONS
A gigantic weapon of war, the M61 Vulcan was initially devised as an anti-aircraft gun. Its rotating six-bolt barrel gives it a much higher rate of fi re and reliability than single-barrel machine guns, which would overheat after persistent use.
An ammo belt was originally used to feed the bullet-hungry fi rearm, but after a jamming problem the belts were replaced by a linkless feed system. The gun is powered both hydraulically and electrically by aircraft and can fi re both incendiary and armour-piercing rounds. The invention of the weapon gave fighter jets an alternative to using missiles at short range
and has one of the highest fi ring rates of any machine gun. The M61 has also been used n the ground as an air defence system in armoured vehicles and its successor, the M134 Minigun, was used in helicopters as a response to RPG fi re from the ground. The M134 has made the weapon class much more effective, as it can be placed on gun emplacements. This scaled-down version of the original made the weapon more readily transportable but with a decreased rate of fire. Despite its inability to be carried and fired by a single infantryman (as is often the myth), the M61 Vulcan has made all types of military aircraft much more resistant to ground fire and more effective at taking out ground units. Its high rate of fire mean successful hits are achievable even at jet speeds.