Idaho Air National Guard 124th Fighter Wing participating in Operation Snowbird. 124th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Airmen reload the 30mm GAU-8 Avenger main gun of an A-10 Thunderbolt II assigned to the 190th Fighter Squadron. Video by Staff Sgt. Robert Barney, 124th Fighter Wing.
The GAU-8 itself weighs 620 pounds (280 kg), but the complete weapon, with feed system and drum, weighs 4,029 pounds (1,828 kg) with a maximum ammunition load. It measures 19 ft 5 1⁄2 in (5.931 m) from the muzzle to the rearmost point of the ammunition system, and the ammunition drum alone is 34.5 inches (88 cm) in diameter and 71.5 inches (1.82 m) long. Power for operating the gun is provided by twin hydraulic motors pressurized from two independent hydraulic systems. The magazine can hold 1,174 rounds, although 1,150 is the typical load-out. Muzzle velocity when firing Armor-Piercing Incendiary rounds is 1,013 m/s, almost the same as the substantially lighter M61 Vulcan’s 20 mm round, giving the gun a muzzle energy of approximately 200 kilojoules.
The standard ammunition mixture for anti-armor use is a five-to-one mix of PGU-14/B Armor Piercing Incendiary, with a projectile weight of about 14.0 oz (395 grams or 6,096 grains) and PGU-13/B High Explosive Incendiary (HEI) rounds, with a projectile weight of about 13.3 oz (378 grams or 5,833 grains). The PGU-14/B’s projectile incorporates a lightweight aluminum body, cast around a smaller caliber depleted uranium penetrating core. The Avenger is lethal against tanks and all other armored vehicles.
Guardia Nacional de Idaho Aire combatiente 124o Ala participar en la Operación Snowbird. 124o Escuadrilla de Aeronaves Mantenimiento aviadores recargar la GAU-8 arma principal de un A-10 Thunderbolt II asignado al escuadrón de caza 190o. Vídeo de sargento de personal. Robert Barney, 124a Ala de Combate