U.S. Marines with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 268 (VMM-268) conduct Defensive Weapon System (DWS) test on the MV-22 Osprey aircraft off the shore of Oahu, Hawaii. The DWS is remotely operated and incorporates a gunner station, targeting sensor and the GAU-17 minigun. The unique weapon is mounted in the aft cargo hole of the Osprey and is operated via remote control from inside the aircraft using an interface similar to a video-game. Designed to provide suppressive defensive fire, proficiency with this weapon system increases the readiness for the Marines of VMM-268.
The DWS achieves the best firing radius by being mounted on the belly of the aircraft, due to the Osprey’s unique capability to tilt its rotors forward for high-speed airplane mode and return vertical for helicopter landings. Before the DWS, the Osprey used a single machine gun mounted on the rear ramp, which limited the gunner’s visibility and firing radius. Part of a defensive weapon system has a flare system and a camera system helps you identify and pinpoint targets from hundreds of yards out, a few thousand yards out even.
The M134 Minigun is a 7.62×51mm NATO six-barrel rotary machine gun with a high, sustained rate of fire (2,000 to 6,000 rounds per minute). It features a Gatling-style rotating barrel assembly with an external power source, normally an electric motor. “Minigun” refers to a specific model of weapon that General Electric originally produced, but the term “minigun” has popularly come to refer to any externally powered rotary gun of rifle caliber. Versions are designated M134 and XM196 by the United States Army, and GAU-2/A and GAU-17/A by the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy.
The Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey is an American multi-mission, tiltrotor military aircraft with both vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), and short takeoff and landing (STOL) capabilities. The MV-22B Osprey is a Marine Corps variant. The Marine Corps is the lead service in the V-22’s development. The Marine Corps variant is an assault transport for troops, equipment and supplies, capable of operating from ships or expeditionary airfields ashore. It replaced the Marine Corps’ CH-46E and CH-53D fleets.