M61A1 GUN INSTALLATION
Gun systems installed in high-speed aircraft must
meet demanding performance requirements and provide
The General Electric M61A1 20-mm
automatic gun system, installed in the F-14 and F/A-18
aircraft, meets these requirements.
The M61A1 (fig. 6-1) is a six-barrel, rotary-action,
automatic gun based on the machine-gun design of
Richard J. Gatling. The gun consists of a revolving
cluster of barrels. Each barrel is fired once per
revolution. The M61A1 automatic gun is hydraulically
driven, electrically controlled, and can fire M50-series
ammunition at 4,000 to 7,200 rounds per minute. As
installed in Navy aircraft, the gun has a pilot selectable
firing rate of either 4,000 (GUN LOW) or 6,000 (GUN
HIGH) rounds per minute. It is designed for either
air-to-ground or air-to-air gunnery missions.
Ammunition is supplied to the M61A1 gun by an
ammunition handling and storage system that functions
within a specific aircraft. The system uses an endless
conveyor that transports 20-mm ammunition from the
ammunition drum to the gun. The conveyor then returns
the expended cases and unfired rounds to the
Although the physical location of components
varies between different aircraft gun installations, the
function and description of the components are
essentially the same.
M61A1 AUTOMATIC GUN
LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Identify the
components of the M61A1 automatic gun and
recognize the operating principles.
The primary parts of the gun are the barrels, housing
assembly, and rotor assembly. Look at table 6-1 for
M61A1 gun characteristics. The following paragraphs
Figure 6-1.M61A1 automatic gun.
Table 6-1.M61A1 Characteristics