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Marine Ospreys Will Get 360-Degree Gun
Stars and Stripes | Jeff Schogol | March 22, 2008
ARLINGTON, Va. - It can fly like an airplane, hover like a helicopter, and soon it will be able to spew rounds like Schwarzenegger.

The Marine Corps' MV-22 Osprey will get a minigun that can fire in all directions, said James Darcy, a spokesman for the Osprey at Naval Air Systems Command.

The Osprey already has a machine gun in the rear of the aircraft, but with the minigun, it would become the only Marine transport helicopter in use with a gun that can fire forward, Darcy said.

The Corps has the option to buy 12 gun systems for Ospreys under a contract with BAE Systems and U.S. Special Operations Command, Darcy said.

Darcy deferred questions on how many the Corps plans to buy and when they will install the guns to the Corps, but a Corps spokesman did not respond by deadline Friday.

The 7.62 mm minigun will go in the rear of the aircraft, while a separate turret with cameras will allow a controller inside the Osprey to see targets, Darcy said.

The weapon system's computer will take into account the speed and position of the aircraft to determine how much the gunner has to lead the target in order to hit it, he said.

Darcy said the gun will also have software to make sure the minigun doesn't shoot off the Osprey's propellers when the aircraft is in airplane mode.

However, the gun will most likely be used more often when the Osprey is in helicopter mode, he said.

The minigun will fire about 3,000 rounds per minute and have a maximum range of about 1,000 meters, said Dave Adamiak, of BAE Systems.

The major factor in determining what weapon with which to fit the Osprey was size limitation, he said.

The entire system needed to fit into two holes in the aircraft's floor, each known as a "hell hole," which is used to attach cables to external cargo, such as a Humvee, Adamiak explained.

Weapon systems such as the .50-caliber machine gun were simply too big to fit in the space available, he said.

The weapon system weighs between 700 and 800 pounds, meaning the Osprey will have two to three fewer seats for troops, Adamiak said.

He also said the weapon system is an interim solution for both the Corps and SOCOM's needs.

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