XM214 Microgun

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XM214
XM214 Minigun.jpg
XM214 Microgun
Type Rotary-barrel machine gun
Place of origin  United States
Service history
In service US Army
Production history
Designer General Electric
Designed 1966[1]
Manufacturer General Electric/General Dynamics
Produced 1970s - ?; In G.E. catalog until late 1990s[2]
Number built Unknown; 10 Six-Paks delivered to WECOM/US Air Force
Variants None known
Specifications
Weight basic gun 25.5 lb (Six-Pak 27 lb); drive motor 7.5 lb, side-stripping feeder 3 lb
Length 41.0 inches (Six-Pak); basic gun 27.0 inches

Cartridge 5.56x45mm M193
Caliber .223
Action Mechanically driven rotary breach; motor develops 0.75 hp @ 2,000 rpm; 1.5 hp @ 6,000 rpm; 3.2 hp @ 10,000 rpm
Rate of fire

Prototype and gun pod for aircraft: variable from 400 to 10,000 rpm (1,000; 6,000; 10,000 rpm were available)

Six-Pak: variable from 400 to 4,000 rpm; bursts from 3 to 1,500 rounds
Muzzle velocity 3,250 ft/s, 990 m/s
Feed system Belt and chute
Sights Iron

The XM214 is a prototype 5.56 mm rotary-barreled machine gun. It was designed and built by General Electric, but it never reached mass production. Also known as the Microgun, the XM214 was a scaled-down version of the M134 "minigun", firing M193 5.56 x 45 mm ammunition.

Development[edit]

The XM214 was first developed for aircraft applications. Later General Electric developed it into a man-portable weapon system, known as the GE Six-Pak. The complete Six-Pak system weighed 85 pounds (38.5 kg) with 1,000 rounds of ammunition, comparable in weight to some heavy machine guns. The basic gun in the Six-Pak weighed 27 pounds, or 12.2 kg. The system could be carried by a team of two soldiers and mounted either to an M122 tripod or a vehicle's pintle mount. Length overall is 104.1 cm, gun only is 68.6 cm long. Width (including ammunition case) is 44.4 cm. Sighting was usually by optical telescope.

The Six-Pak consisted of the XM214, the ammunition package, and the power module, and the ammunition module consisted of two 500-round, factory packed, and disposable cassettes mounted to a holding rack. Linked ammunition was fed through a flexible chute to the gun; when the first cassette was empty, ammunition would then feed from the second cassette, tripping a visible signal that a new cassette needed to be added to the rack.

The power module contained a 24-volt nickel-cadmium battery, a 0.8 horsepower (0.60 kW) motor, and solid state electronic controls. Unless the battery was plugged into a vehicle's power supply, the battery's charge would be depleted after 3,000 rounds. The system could be broken down quickly into two portable loads of roughly 42 pounds apiece. This was accomplished by means of a quick-release fitting at that end of the belt chute fastened to the gun.

Electronic controls contained a burst limiter and handled the automatic clearing of the gun after bursts. Using the electronic controls, the weapon's rate of fire could be adjusted from 400 rpm all the way up to 4,000 rpm. Later editions of Jane's Infantry Weapons claimed a theoretical cyclic rate of up to 6,000 rpm. George Chinn, author of The Machine Gun Volume V, contended that the XM214 prototype had a rate of fire of up to 10,000 rpm, but the man-portable Six-Pak was limited to 4,000 rpm.

Microgun Pod[edit]

An 88 by 10 inch (224 x 25 cm) 5.56mm Microgun Pod was also developed for external use on light aircraft and helicopters. The unit had an ammunition capacity of from 1,500 to 3,500 rounds and loaded weight of 186 to 300 pounds. The feed system was linkless, via a helical drum, with a nominal rate of fire of 6,000 rpm. However, adjustments to 1,000 or 10,000 rpm were possible, if desired. Power could be provided by a built-in battery pack, or from the aircraft itself.

Possible resurrection[edit]

The rise of military operations in urban terrain (MOUT) tactics in the early 2000s led to the possible resurrection of the XM214 system in a tank/APC close-in weapon system (CIWS) role.[3][unreliable source?] General Dynamics, who held the license for the Microgun, increased the rate of fire to 12,000 rpm and offered the weapon mounted on armored fighting vehicles as anti-rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) or anti-anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) defense.[4]

The XM214 was dropped from the General Dynamics catalogue and replaced by the Iron Fist Active Protective System (APS).[5]

See also[edit]

Non-NATO
General

References[edit]

  • Chinn, George (1987). The Machine Gun Volume V. RAMP Inc. ASIN B000GKSS1M. 

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.action-man.dk/arms.htm
  2. ^ http://world.guns.ru/machine/mg70-e.htm
  3. ^ http://www.angelfire.com/art/enchanter/XM214.html
  4. ^ http://www.gdatp.com/files/PDF/A085_XM214.pdf Access date: 21 November 2009.
  5. ^ http://www.gdatp.com/factsheets/A133_Iron_Fist.pdf

External links[edit]