The US Air Force has awarded an $88.3 million contract to General Dynamics for additional M61A1 Vulcan Gatling guns for its F-16s.
The Gatling rotary cannon is an externally powered six-barrel gun that fires 20-millimeter rounds at 6,000 rounds per minute, providing lethal air, land, and sea combat support.
The M61A1 Vulcan boasts better multiple-hit probabilities compared to other guns with lower rates of fire. It also provides much greater reliability than other single-barrel weapons.
Originally produced by General Electric, the cannon is currently equipped on the air force F-14 and F/A-18 aircraft. Its integration enhances the F-16 fighter’s attack capabilities.
Work on the multimillion-dollar contract will be performed in Vermont and is expected to be completed by December 2031.
More F-16 Modifications
In November, the US Air Force successfully integrated its “Angry Kitten” electronic countermeasures pod on an F-16 aircraft to apply “optimal jamming” against electronic warfare (EW) attacks.
According to research engineers, developing a cognitive EW approach based on machine-learning algorithms and sophisticated hardware will enable threat-response systems with significantly higher electronic protection capabilities.
The service has also installed an in-flight software update for the F-16 Fighting Falcon’s EW system as part of an advanced battle management system.
The update will facilitate improved longevity, keeping it war-ready for an extended period of time.
Additionally, the air force has contracted Boeing to convert 15 decommissioned F-16 fighters into unmanned aerial target vehicles for $49.7 million. The modification will include the installation of components to enable the platform to perform both autonomous and controlled maneuvers.