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GAU-16/A .50 Caliber Machine Gun

The GAU-15/A .50 caliber is a crew served, recoil operated, belt fed, air cooled, percussion fired weapon, with a rate of fire of 750 rounds per minute. The only differences between the GAU-16/A and the GAU-15/A is in the reconfigured trigger mechanism and front sight assembly on the GAU-16/A. The GAU-16/A is mounted using a shock absorbing soft mount assembly that removes up to 75 percent of the recoil forces generated during firing.

The GAU-16/A and its associated mount assembly were originally developed for use on the Defensive Armament System (DAS) for the US Marine Corps UH-1N helicopter. The weapon and mount were subsequently tested for use on the rear cargo ramp of H-46 and H-53 aircraft and in the doors of H-60 aircraft.

In 2007, Navy Small Arms program identified a problem with overheating barrels on both the GAU-15/A and GAU-16/A machine guns, owing to their lightweight construction. A need was identified at that time for barrels that could be fired maximizing the number of rounds on target per aircraft pass. This was still listed as an issue in 2010.

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