The WLKM is a Polish 12.7mm multi-barrel machine gun. It was designed and built by Polish Company Zakłady Mechaniczne Tarnów. The WLKM is a four-barreled air cooled, medium machine gun which can be used against ground and aerial targets as light armoured vehicles and helicopters. It has a rate of fire of 3,600 rounds per minute. The Multi-Barrel Machine Gun WLKM machine gun is an externally driven electric-powered Gatling-style gun fed by 12,7 mm x 99 NATO (.50 BMG) ammunition fixed in a NATO standard M9 disintegrating linked belt.The WLKM has a weight of 50 kg and can be used to fire at a maximum range of 2,200 m. It has a maximum length of 1,300mm and a barrel length of 900mm.
The Gatling gun’s operation centered on a cyclic multi-barrel design which facilitated cooling and synchronized the firing-reloading sequence. Each barrel fired a single shot when it reached a certain point in the cycle, after which it ejected the spent cartridge, loaded a new round, and, in the process, allowed the barrel to cool somewhat. This configuration allowed higher rates of fire to be achieved without the barrels overheating.The WLKM can be used as the armament for the turret of helicopter or integrated in air pod systems as well on board of combat vehicles, vessels and mounted on stationary weapon station.
Zakłady Mechaniczne Tarnów (Tarnów Mechanical Works) is a Polish defense manufacturing company. Based in the city of Tarnów, the company is producing handguns, assault rifles, sniper rifles and anti-air guns. It is part of the state-controlled Bumar corporation. Initially founded during World War I as a local train repair workshop, between the wars the company was part of the Polish State Railways. Confiscated, dismantled and sent to Germany during World War II, the company was rebuilt as a train repair workshop, but in 1951 it was turned into a defence contractor producing guns, firearms and machine tools.
Initially the company license-built M1939 37 mm automatic air defense guns and Nudelman N-37 aircraft cannons used in LiM-2 and MiG-17 fighters. Later other types of Soviet-designed military equipment were also introduced. After 1989 the company switched entirely to home-designed weapons. Those include Pallad grenade launcher, RGP-40 grenade launcher, UKM-2000 MG, WKW Wilk sniper rifle, Bor rifle and ZSMU-36 missile and anti-missile system. Among projects currently developed in the Tarnów Mechanical Works are the WLKM-12 Szafir 12.7 mm multi-barrel machine gun, ZSMU-70 missile system and GA-40 belt-fed grenade launcher.