Munitions / Pods / GPU-5

GPU-5

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Gun pod

  • ORIGIN
    United States

  • NICKNAMES
    GEPOD 30 (development name)
    Pave Claw (popular nickname)

  • DESIGNED
    Late 1970's

  • DESIGNER
    General Electric

  • PRODUCTION
    Early 1980's - present

  • PRODUCERS
    United States - General Electric (now General Dynamics)

  • QUANTITY
    Unknown

  • UNIT COST
    Unknown

  • CHARACTERISTICS
    Very powerful armament
    Ammunition and parts commonality with GAU-8/A
    Useable on wide range of aircraft
    Large and heavy
    Significant recoil
    Limited accuracy due to recoil

Introduction

The GPU-5 is a large and very powerful gun pod of US origin. It was developed in the late 1970's by General Electric to provide fighter aircraft with a similar capability as the A-10 Thunderbolt with its enormous GAU-8/A Avenger autocannon. The GPU-5 is one of the most powerful gun pods in existence which comes at the cost of enormous weight and serious recoil. For those reasons the GPU-5 never became popular.

Design

The GPU-5 is a round pod which mounts a single four barrel GAU-13/A autocannon which spans the entire length of the pod. The GPU-5 requires no external power since a pneumatic drive unit is located at the rear behind the gun. The ammunition is stored in a two layer helical linkless feed system which is located around the barrel in the forward half of the pod. Spent cases are reinserted in the feed system. Recoil adapters located in the strongback absorb most of the massive recoil.

Firepower

The GPU-5 is armed with a single four barrel GAU-13/A autocannon that uses the same range of 30x173mm ammunition as used in the larger GAU-8/A Avenger. The GAU-13/A has a rate of fire of 2.400 rpm and has a spin up time of 0.4 seconds. The 30mm rounds are able to penetrate the top armor of any vehicle. The maximum effective range is 3 km against area targets and over 1 km versus a single vehicle.

Users

The GPU-5 has been tested on the A-4 Skyhawk, A-7 Corsair, F-4 Phantom, F-5 Tiger, F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon. Of these platforms the F-16 is the most common user of the GPU-5. The primary user of the GPU-5 is the US Air Force. The GPU-5 has been exported to several US allies and remains available.

Variants

GPU-5/A

GPU-5/A: The GPU-5/A is a large and heavy gun pod which carries a single four barrel GAU-13/A autocannon. It is a self-contained weapon system which carries the gun, the power supply and ammunition. There are no derivatives or variants.

TypeGun Pod
PlatformAircraft
Length4.2 m
Diameter0.61 m
Weight624 kg empty
866 kg loaded
Armament30mm GAU-13/A autocannon with 353 rounds
Remarks762 mm lug spacing

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