US Military Weapons Locked and Loaded
For thousands of years, the weapons in a nation’s arsenal often determined the outcome of a war. We know the fortitude and courage in the man or woman behind the weapons determine real strength, but those soldiers are going to accomplish a lot more with an M777 Howitzer than with a slingshot made in the backyard. If you take a look at the new advancements the military has made in firearms today, you’ll see some pretty cool US military weapons.
US Machine Guns
Although there are many types of machine guns available, there are two makes that are used most commonly by the U.S. military: the M134 GAU-17 Gatling Gun and the M240B. This version of the M134 has 6 air-cooled barrels powered by electric motors. It can fire an amazing 6,000 rounds per minute. The multi-barrel design was first created by Richard Gatling in the 1880s, giving this line of guns its name. Today, this M134 GAU-17 model is widely used in boats, helicopters, and other aircraft.
The M240B, on the other hand, is a very versatile, general-use weapon. It can be mounted virtually anywhere and is belt-fed. It’s actually gas powered and is designed so that the gas from each shot fuels the next. This model primarily functions automatically.
If you aren’t already versed in military weapons, you might picture revolutionary war machines when you hear the word “cannon.” Cannons are still used today but they’re a lot more intense, powerful, and accurate. The Howitzer models in particular are popularly used by the Marines and the Army. The two main models are the M777 Howitzer and the M198 Howitzer. One of the biggest differences between the two is weight. The M777 weighs over 8,000 pounds less than the M198 and requires an 8-man crew rather than a 9-man crew. About 1,600 units of the M198 have been created and even though this cannon is in use today, it is gradually being replaced by the lighter M777 Howitzer that is far more transportable. The Howitzers mainly provide support for field artillery in organizations for the Marine Air-Ground Task Force.
In simple terms, a mortar is more or less a shell launcher. It takes two people to operate: one to load, one to launch. This is considered an indirect fire weapon since it launches almost vertically into the air before hitting its target. Although it is a little less accurate than most weapons, it’s destructive abilities should not be discounted. A small shell can blow up a car and a large one can destroy an entire house. Mortars have been used for centuries and are still being used today, though the versions the U.S. military uses now are far more sophisticated. One model being used today, the M224 60mm Mortar, has a 2.17-mile range and has a max fire rate of 30 rpm.
Rockets are a little more sophisticate than mortars mainly because they have self-propulsion. A large rocket can even travel a distance of 20 miles. However, rockets generally create the same amount of damage as mortars of the same size. One of the military’s most-used rockets is the Patriot PAC-3, the name of which is actually an acronym for “Phased Array Tracking to Intercept of Target Advanced Capability-Three.” It is used primarily by the Army and is not transportable. This rocket has a fast reaction time and can track multiple targets simultaneously. Its many features make it a prime weapon for the Army.
The MK19 Grenade Machine Gun’s first model was developed during the Vietnam War. It has a range of 2.212 miles and a caliber of 44mm. Armor even 2-in thick cannot hold against this weapon that protects supply trains, motor movement, and assembly areas. Its high-explosive, dual-purpose ammunition is meant to destroy armored enemy forces. It can kill within 5 meters and wound within 15 meters.
Ready, Aim, Fire!
Military weapons have allowed U.S. soldiers to protect and defend themselves and others for centuries. These military weapons are always ready for combat and new advancements are being made all the time to make them even more efficient.