US Helicopter Weapons in Vietnam

Page Title - US Helicopters
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Helicopter Weapons


M2 .50 cal. Machine Gun. The Browning M2 machine gun was one of the most commonly used weapons of World War II and Korea. It was used both as an infantry weapon and fixed or flexible aircraft gun on bombers and fighters. The XM296 machine gun, used on the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, is the same as an M2, except it be fired remotely using an electrical solenoid. The M2 machine gun was also used on the XM32 and XM33 on the ACH-47A "Guns-A-Go-Go". The M2 is classified Standard A.

M2 .50 cal. Aircraft Gun. The Browning M2 aircraft gun was a. 50 cal. M2 machine gun that was modified for use as an aircraft gun that could be fired remotely by the pilot or gunner of a helicopter or light fixed-wing aircraft. The M2 machine gun had a rate of fire of 750-850 rpm. The M2 aircraft gun was classified Standard A.

M3.50 cal. Aircraft Gun. The Browning M3 aircraft gun was a.50 cal. M2 machine gun that was modified for use as an aircraft gun that could be fired remotely by the pilot or gunner of a helicopter or light fixed-wing aircraft. The M3 .50 cal. aircraft gun was used in the XM14 gun pod. The M3 machine gun had rate of fire of 1150-1250 rpm. The M3 aircraft gun was classified Standard A.

M24A1 20mm cannon. The M24A1 was a single-barrel fixed-mounted cannon used on the XM31 armament subsystem on the UH- 1B "Huey" and on the XM34 armament subsystem used on the ACH-47A armed/armored Chinook. The M24A1 had a firing rate of 650 rpm.

M37C Flexible .30 Cal. Machine Gun. The M37C was a light air-cooled .30 Cal. machine gun adapted for use on the XM1 /XM1E1 armament subsystem on the OH-13 Sioux and the OH-23 Raven.

M39A1/M39A2/M39A3 20mm Automatic Gun (1951-1975). The M39 series gun was developed by Springfield Armory from the German Mauser MG213 following World War II. The M39A3 was a revolver type aircraft 20mm gun developed for the U. S. Air Force. A five-chamber drum revolved about an axis parallel to the single gun bore. The gun fired from the six-o'clock position at a rate of 1,500 rpm. Four M39 cannon could be mounted in the nose of the North American F-86 Saber Jet in place of six .50 cal. machine guns. The M39 series guns were type classified both Standard A and Standard B (over 35,500 units were built).

M60C 7.62mm Flexible Machine Gun. The M60C was an aircraft version of the NATO Standard M60 machine gun. It was electrically controlled, hydraulic power charged, air-cooled, gas-operated, link-belt fed, with a firing rate of 500-650 rpm. It was used on the M2 armament subsystem on the OH-13 Sioux and the OH-23 Raven, and the M6 and M16 on the UH- 1B "Huey". The M60C was classified Standard A (over 563 units were built).

Twin M60C 7.62mm machine guns on M16 armament subsystem
(below the M60's and out of shot, is an XM157 7-tube rocket launcher)

M60D 7.62mm Flexible Machine Gun. The M60D machine gun is a standard NATO M60 machine gun that has been modified for use as a door gun with helicopter armament subsystems. The M60D is a flexible, gas-operated, air-cooled machine gun having a firing rate of 550 rpm. The M60D has spade grips, an aircraft ring-type sight and an improved ammunition feed system. A canvas ejection control bag attaches to the machine gun to catch ejected links and cartridge cases, preventing them from being ejected into the path of the rotor blades or turbine engine intake. The M60D was used on the M23, XM29, M59, and the Sagami mount on UH-1 series "Huey", the M24 and M41 on the CH-47 series Chinook, the XM32 and XM33 on the ACH-47A "Guns-A-Go-Go", and the M144 on the UH-60 series Black Hawk. The M60D was classffied Standard A.

M61/M61A1 Vulcan 20mm Aircraft Gun (1946-1975). The M61 20mm Vulcan is a U.S. Air Force externally powered, six-barrel, rotary-fire Gatling gun having a rate of fire of up to 7,200 rpm. The firing rate is selectable at 4,000 rpm or 6,000 rpm. The gun fires standard electrically primed 20mm ammunition. The M61 was classified Standard B (3,289 units were built). The M61A1 is hydraulically or ram-air driven, electrically controlled, and uses a linkless ammunition feed system. The M61A1 was type classified Standard A (over 4,118 units were built). The M61A1 was modified for use as a light three-barrel helicopter gun type classified as the M197 20mm automatic gun.

M75 40mm Grenade Launcher (1958-1975). The M75 was a cam-operated, electric motor driven, air-cooled, grenade launcher that had a rate of fire of 215-230 rpm. The M75 was used with the chin-mounting M5 armament subsystem used on the UH-1 series "Huey", the M28 used on the AH-1G "Huey" Cobra, and the ACH-47A "Guns-A-Go-Go" . The M75 was classified Standard A. The M75 was replaced by the M129 grenade launcher (over 494 units were built).

M129 40mm Grenade Launcher (1963-1975). The M129 was a redesign of the M75 grenade launcher that featured a concentric cam that reduced recoil and improved mounting. The M129 had an improved rate of fire of up to 400 rpm. The M129 was used with the chin-mounting M28 series armament subsystem used on the AH-1G, MOD AH-1S, and Production AH-1S Cobras. The M129 was also used on the AH-56A Cheyenne on the XM51, and the UH-1H "Huey" on the XM94. The M129 was also used on the OH-6A Cayuse and OH-58 Kiowa light observation helicopters on the XM8. The M129 was classified Standard A (over 1,667 units were built).

M134 7.62mm Machine Gun (1962-1975). The M134 "minigun" (Air Force GAU-2B/A) is a high rate of fire machine gun that uses the Gatling principle. The firing rate is selectable at 2,000 rpm or 4,000 rpm. The M134 was used on the M21, M27 XM50, XM93, and Emerson MINITAT on the UH-1 "Huey", OH-6A Cayuse, and OH-58A Kiowa. It was also used on the M18, M28 series, and XM64 on the AH-1G, MOD AH-1S, and Production AH-1S "Huey" Cobra, and XM53 on the AH-56A Cheyenne. The M134 is also used on a wide variety of special operations aircraft. The M134 was classified Standard A (over 9,500 units were built).

M134 on M21 armament subsystem alongside
M158 seven-tube rocket launcher

XM140/XM140E3/XM140E5 30mm Automatic Gun (1965-1973). The XM140 was a Research and Development project for a 30mm motor driven gun for area/point targets, with a rate of fire of 405 rpm. The XM140 used a muzzle brake to reduce recoil. The XM140 was used on the XM30 on the UH-1B "Huey", the XM52 on the AH-56A Cheyenne, and the XM120 on the AH-1G "Huey" Cobra.

XM157A/XM157B Rocket Launcher (AMCOM). The XM157 was a seven-tube 2.75 inch rocket launcher. The XM119 rocket control system was used with the XM157 rocket launcher. The XM157 was an AMCOM modification of the Air Force LAU-32A/A. The XM157 saw limited production.

M158/M158A1 Rocket Launcher (AMCOM). The M158 was a seven-tube 2.75 inch rocket launcher. The M158 was an AMCOM design that was interchangeable with the XM157 on the M16 and M21 armament subsystems used on the UH-1 series "Huey" and the M156 mount of the AH-1G "Huey" Cobra. The M158 was used with the MK40 rocket motor. The MK40 was replaced by the newer MK66 rocket motor. The M158A1 launcher is not compatible with the MK66 rocket motor. The XM119 rocket control system was used with the M158 rocket launcher. The M158/M158A1 launchers were type classified Standard A.

XM159B/XM159C Rocket Launcher (AMCOM). The XM159 was a 19-tube 2.75 inch rocket launcher. The XM159 was an AMCOM modification of the Air Force LAU-3B/A. The XM159 rocket launcher was used on the ACH-47A Armed/Armored Chinook. The XM119 rocket control system was used with the XM159 rocket launcher. The XM159 saw limited production.

XM175 40mm Grenade Launcher. The XM175 was a Research and Development project for a 40mm grenade launcher for use on the M59 armament subsystem on the UH-1B/UH-1C "Huey".

M195 20mm Automatic Gun (1968-1972). The M195 was a short-barreled version of the sixbarrel M61A1 Vulcan 20mm aircraft gun for use on the M35 armament subsystem used on the AH-1G "Huey" Cobra. The M195 had a firing rate of 750-800 rpm. The M195 was type classified Standard B (over 377 units were built).

XM196 7.62mm Automatic Gun. The XM196 was a Research and Development project that consisted of an M134 7.62mm "minigun" with a housing modified by addition of an ejection sprocket adapted for use in the XM53 armament subsystem on AH-56A Cheyenne.

M197 20mm Automatic Gun. Development of the M197 began in 1968 by removing three barrels from a six-barreled M61A1 Vulcan 20mm aircraft gun. The M197 is a lightweight short-barreled three-barrel automatic gun used with the M97 series armament subsystems on the AH-1P/AH-1E/AH-1F Cobras. The M197 has a firing rate of 2000-3000 rpm. The M197 is type classified Standard A.

M200/M200A1 Rocket Launcher (AMCOM). The M200 was a 19-tube 2.75 inch rocket launcher used on the UH-1C "Huey", AH-1G "Huey" Cobra, and the AH-56A Cheyenne. The M200 was used with the MK40 rocket motor. The MK40 was replaced by the newer MK66 rocket motor. The M200 launcher is not compatible with the MK66 rocket motor. The XM119 rocket control system was used with the M200 rocket launcher. The M200 was reusable and repairable. The M200/M200A1 were both type classified Standard A.

M156 armament subsystem with M200 'Pabst Beer' 19-tube rocket launcher

M213 .50 Cal. Machine Gun (1968-1974). The M213 was a.50 Cal. machine gun for use with the M59 door pintle mount on the UH-ID/UH-1M "Huey". The M213 was a modified AN-M2 .50 Cal. machine gun. The M213 had a rate of fire of 750-800 rpm. The M213 was type classified Standard B (360 units were built).

XM214 5.56mm Machine Gun (1970-1971). The XM214 was a Research and Development project for a six-barrel 5.56mm (.223 Cal.) Gatling type "mini-minigun". The XM214 was similar to the M134 "minigun". It was electrically driven and could be installed on a pintle or in a turret mount. The XM214 had a rate of fire of 2000-3000 rpm.

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Sources

Aircraft Armament, Systems and Components, U. S. Army Weapons Command, Rock Island, December 1971.

Aircraft Weaponization, Subsystem Photographs and Descriptions, U. S. Army Weapons Command, Rock Island, September 1970.

Small Arms of the World, 12th edition of the W.H.B. Smith Small Arms Manual, The Stackpole Co., Harrisburg, 1983.


 

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