- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Future U.S. pilots who are shot down behind enemy lines will have more firepower at their disposal to fend off would-be captors.

The GAU-5A Aircrew Self Defense Weapon — an M4-style carbine — was recently completed as part of a program launched in 2018.

Members of the Air Force Gunsmith Shop delivered 2,700 of the weapons, which will be a welcome addition for pilots who historically counted on knives and pistols to survive.

Richard Shelton, chief of the Gunsmith Shop, recently commented on the program in an Air Force press release.

“We were asked to design a stand-off weapon that was capable of hitting a man-size target at 200 meters. It disconnects at the upper receiver … and can be put together within 30 seconds if needed,” he said of the 5.56mm carbine, Military.com reported Tuesday.

Other features include:

  • The weapon weighs under seven pounds.
  • GAU-5A fits inside the seat kit of ACES 2 ejection seats.
  • Pilots have access to a “quick-connector barrel and handguard assembly that attaches to the upper and lower receiver of the weapon.”

Mr. Shelton added that it is incredibly rewarding to “work with the [gunsmiths] to develop specific weapons for a specific Air Force need,” the website added.

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