The Gau 8/A 30mm Gun was developed by General Electric, when they were going through the whole stages of ”Bigger is better” and in reality, it really was. They built a Gun so big that it was virtually impossible to just carry around on a tank or even an APC. So naturally they placed it on a plane… or better yet, they built a plane around the gun. General Electric basically started off building a Gun, once they were finished, they didn’t know how to use it or what use it on. The weapons was to large for a tank, to heavy for an APC, and to unreliable for a boat. They started to build a vehicle around the gun. Eventually they felt that it would be better to build a plane to mount it on. Then an engineer decided to build the plane around the gun, since it would be easier and more convenient… and so it happened.
The new flying gun came to be known as the A10 Thunderbolt and it is a hell of a plane. The plane manufacturers made it so it was very good at flying low and slow and it was amazing at shooting things and making them blow up.
Only problem is that because of it’s speed and how slow it was flying it was an easy target for anyone with a hand gun, so they made the plane bulletproof. The chassis where the pilot sits is a very thick titanium alloy “bathtub.” You can shoot an A10 with anything from a pistol to a 23mm Soviet cannon and it just keeps on flying and shooting. The designers made the plane so that every part of the plane is exactly similar to the other side. This design makes it easy for the parts to be easily replaced. The plane has up to three different things that all serve the same purpose. For example, if the flying mechanism fails, there are two additional backups to take over just in case. It needs only ONE engine to fly but it has two, etc. thanks to the low pressure tires, it can operate from a damaged airport, interstate, highway, plowed field, or dirt road. So you can’t really get away from this beast. The plane nicknamed the Warthog is quite an appropriate name. It is slow, ugly, low to the ground, armed to the teeth, and can take one heck of a beating, just like it’s namesake in the animal world.
The Gun shoots a very special kind of bullet, The image on the right shows a 30mm bullet all the way to the right. What the guy is holding in the picture at the bottom is NOT the 30mm round, it is instead a “little” .50 Browning machine gun round, the large round is a 20mm cannon round.
The 30mm is MUCH bigger.
So now that you have a comparison of how big the bullet is, you are beginning to get a feel of how big the gun is. The gun shoots at a rate of 4200 rounds per minute. Pilots typically shoot either one or two second burst which set loose 70 to 150 rounds. The system is optimized for shooting at 4,000 feet.
Now if you are like many of us in the world, we cant seem to really understand or grasp who big a thing is from just a few pieces, this next picture will make you appreciate how big the GA GAU-8 Avenger really is.
Take a look …