Thursday, February 20, 2020

And It Only Took Them 60 Years To Figure This One Out

h/t Free North Carolina

Seems the Air Farce (an honorable alternative to military service) has finally figured out what Gun-Lego users have known for a decade or two: you can make the AR platform any size or purpose you want.
( The U.S. Air Force developed a new assault rifle that breaks down into two pieces, allowing it to be stored in the ejection seat of modern jets. The GAU-5A carbine is designed to provide the firepower necessary for aircrew to defend themselves until rescue.
The GAU-5A was designed by the Air Force Gunsmith Shop.
Um, no.
It was designed by Eugene Stoner, and 60+ years later, is still doing a helluva job, if you let it. The GAU-5A (which AR haters - which we are not - will doubtlessly note stands for Gun, Automatic, Useless, 5th Attempt) will be a vast improvement over previous downed pilot toys but there's a hitch:
someone's going to have to teach Air Farce pilots how to shoot rifles.

But despite all of them having been to college, doubtless if they apply themselves, and have good marksmanship instructors, they may yet be able to master that difficult skill set.

It always warms our cold, green amphibious heart whenever the Air Farce remembers they are a branch of the military, and acts like it, however briefly. It shows there's still a spark down deep than can be kindled. Now if they'd only embrace CAS as a mission, instead of an annoyance, we'd give them a proper Arc Light and AC-130 cheer. But little steps are better than none at all.

Still, it's ironic, given that they're the reason McNamara >ptui!< inflicted the original weapon on the military to begin with, that it took them so long to figure out what any foole knows.


Anonymous said...

The f air y men and women resemble your comments and don't disagree.

The Freeholder said...

I still say the CAS role needs to be handed over to the Army.

Sarthurk said...

My son in law just got done with his duty in the Air Force, and in basic training he was taught and trained to use an M4. So I'm calling BS this bunch of crap.

Aesop said...

Use your prepositions and conjunctions.
Were you calling BS with, to, on, etc.?
Was your son-in-law a pilot?
Did you disagree with the Air Farce realizing that the AR could be made to fit in an ejection seat?
Or that they're an honorable alternative to military service?
Or that they should regard CAS as a mission, rather than an annoyance?

So many questions.

Allen said...

Aviation has it's problems. I retired Navy. Started enlisted where they let me qual on M-14's, then broke down and got a commission so I could fly off the pointy end... They at least let us keep 45's. The main idea was if you are down behind enemy lines you are NOT Rambo. You are a rabbit sneaking away...

June J said...

Here’s a better article about the GAU-5A, written by someone who knows better than to use the word “neato” when describing a weapon.

Note the linked article was written in May 2019 when the rifle had already started to be deployed.

Cynyr said...

"...honorable alternative to military service..."

Whew! Now I feel better about my service. Not that we had it easy, of course. They only cleaned the hot tub twice a week, and once the cable was out for five days. Which end of this thing do we point at the bad guys?

James M Dakin said...

Anyone who wants to be a Marine is automatically suspect. You want to spend four years with a broomstick shoved up where? But, my son was a Jarhead so I'm now forced to recognize them as a branch of special forces ( I excused his enlistment, as he was raised the only male in a three female household. He probably had to wash off that influence ). The Army is of course the only real branch. You are welcome. Yes, they lost their way, but that won't last forever. The Navy I give honorable mention since living at sea with smelly bunkmates has to suck, plus, Jaws. The Coaties do save the occasional drunken idiot, although I disagree with the War On Drugs ( yes, dear host, I know. I know ). They are at least on par with the Navy. The Air Force? Calling them Wing Nuts is less of an insult than is usually warranted. Nice bunch of guys, don't get me wrong. But outside colonial enforcement, they are only good for a nuclear deterrent. Which the Army/Navy could do. The Air Force is a solution in search of a problem.

Anonymous said...

@Freeholder: I'm 100% A-OK with leaving CAS to Marine pilots and FAC's.

Here tell the Air Farce thinks Jarheads psychological profiles are messed up by the Corps. That makes me laugh almost as hard as the Gunny going off in the boot camp scenes of 'Full Metal Jacket'. Ex thought it weird that I found it a comedy. Just can't explain some things to those unfortunate enough to have never been a Marine.

Aesop said...

Don't get too worked up, kids.
I only give the USAF shit because I can. And because it gets them worked up.

RandyGC, who comments here regularly, was a high-speed mission planner and other such stuff, and truth be told, I hold the USAF in high regard. Well, except for most of its senior leadership (particularly any wingnut asskissing multi-starred jet-fuel genius who keeps trying to sell the F-35 Thunderjug as anything but a horrible boondoggle). Most of the rank-and-file guys are all right.

But the chance to tweak them on finally figuring out an AR could fit into an ACES seat pan was too good to pass up.

Jim Horn said...

The USAF in-country FACs who accompany the troops under fire have my deepest respect. My four years missed any hostilities so I just got to help tie the DOD's satellite network to NASA's so the Shuttle would work. Could have all been done by civilians, and all the engineering was.

McChuck said...

Jim - FACs are great. But the only reason they are needed is because the Air Farce refuses to play nice with the other services, and use a common radio system.

Any ground pounding NCO can call for fire, if only their radio could talk to the planes. FACs are just another example of the aerodales making things more difficult than necessary.

Anonymous said...

My spouse retired after 25 years in the USAF, and I thought this was extremely funny.
He would think so too. LOL
I remember an anecdote a while back someone was saying why they joined the USAF.
He said he went up to the Marine recruitment folks and went on and on about the rigorous and difficult training, making a man out of you, no pain no gain and so forth.
He went up to the USAF recruitment place and the guy was smoking a cigar, a little plump around the middle, sitting back with his feet up on the table...and he immediately knew this was place for him.

Anonymous said...

BTW, you did a post about Top Gun a long while back and mentioned they don't get a trophy for finishing first and the movie version is inaccurate.
That's because they were going to do it about the USAF Weapon's school (which is six months long, unlike the Navy's six week baby course). The USAF, in its typical wisdom, rejected the idea so they went to the Navy, and have regretted it ever since.
We have that trophy up in our office.

Anonymous said...

I guess given the 200 meter effective range they couldn't just take a AR pistol with a 10.5 inch barrel and give them flyboys a shoulder able pistol? I've friends that come to the range with such AR pistols and do very well even bragging rights at 200 meters.

Ah well the land of 10K toilet seats, what was I THINKING?

Gator McCluskey said...

“ The f air y men and women resemble your comments...” go fuck yourself, Anonymous pussy.

Charles in VA said...

Outside of the gun grabbers, who hates AR's?

I don't like them personally, but I never met a gun I "hated".

Any gun is better than no gun when you need one.

Anonymous said...

1) If'n I wuz in the position of a pilot in enemy territory I would rather have that than just a .45. Could I have both?
2) If the carbine stores in the seat how does the pilot get to it after punching out and separating from it?

Aesop said...


When they punch out, the seatpan stays with the pilot, not with the seat, I am told.
I will have to take that one on faith, as I have no desire to find out firsthand.

RandyGC said...

Yes. the seat pack survival kit stays with the aircrew member when they punch out. It's often referred to as the "butt boat" as that pack also contains a life raft which can be deployed prior to landing if needed.

I wasn't in an ejection seat aircraft but we did have butt boats to attach to our chutes if we needed to bail out, so were trained with them. From what I've read they will only be deploying the GAU-5A in ejection seat aircraft.

Charles in VA: There are a lot of AK fans (for instance) that actively hate the AR.

revjen45: As I understand it the aircrew will still have their issued 9mm pistols on their survival vests.

And Aesop, no worries, I just consider the source. I'm just impressed to read a blog by a Jarhead that isn't in crayon! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Randy, they usually eat the crayons partway through. You can tell how hungry they were by how many times the colors change. :)

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 07:35,

First thing I thought was a 10 inch GAU with an integral (barrel-shroud style to minimize length) hush puppy. SERE is an avoid contact activity. Someone might say that once you bust caps the ball is open. That is true, but every advantage is one.

stormsailor1981 said...

i'm navy one of the agents at my agency is a jarhead. we trade insults. we do agree that it is cruel to insult the army, and the our farce has never come up. I know pilots need to survive and evade, but having that shorty ar, and a decent sidearm would sure be a morale booster if you had to eject into the badlands

Anonymous said...

ah, my nephew is an F-15 pilot in charge of the Program down in FL and he sure as fuck can handle a weapon just like his old man and uncle tfA-t

the kid is a natural

Aesop said...


1) The rough draft of every post is always in crayon. But never purple. The grape ones taste too good to waste on writing.

2) The crayon isn't the worst of it. The real bitch is getting all the whiteout off the screen when I spellcheck.

3) Before I learned how to attach files with the mouse, you can't believe how many monitors I lost to staples.

Anonymous said...

Re: ACES seat pan:
During my illustrious career as a Manufacturing Engineering Planner I did planning for the ACES seat and I didn't know that. I had visions of the Fallschirmjägers landing on Crete and being separated from their main weapons. I would rather have the GAU than an AR-7.

"As I understand it the aircrew will still have their issued 9mm pistols on their survival vests." Well, better than being unarmed. Can they choose to carry a 1911 iff'n they want?


RandyGC said...

@revjen45: "Can they choose to carry a 1911 iff'n they want?"
Assuming the AF regs are anything like when I was in, I'm going to say the official answer is no. What unofficially goes into the holster is a matter between the aircrew and their CO and the survival shop. Don't Ask Don't Tell works in so many situations.

Anon @2:14PM: I agree that Evasion is a critical part of SERE, but sometimes having a rifle would have saved some aircrew in the past by giving them the ability to keep red team heads down and buy time for the SAR crews to get them out. A low probability scenario, but hey, as I read somewhere "If it saves one life..."

If nothing else, if already cornered, being able to take out red team at a distance gets them focused on you and might pull the heat off of your crewmates scattered around the countryside giving them a better chance at evading.

Homesteader said...

Was Army, Cav, during the 1st sandbox.

Got out, joined the Guard.

Had 3 kids, at different times, ask me to help them join the service.

"No problem, kid- let's go talk to the Air Force recruiter," I'd say.

I was walking out, with the 3rd kid, when the Army recruiter recognized me from the drill hall-evidently we'd crossed paths.

He asked me, "Hey, aren't you with the 256th?"

"Yup, I am."

"Then why are you taking that kid to them (Air Force recruiter)?"

"BECAUSE I'm with the 256th!"

In Europe, Chair Force had the best facilities, minimal field time, and only the Officers were expected to engage The Bear.

They had my Grafoenwehr dust-coated respect.