First live fire of European F-35 test gun


Nammo has completed the first live fire test of the GAU-22, the four-barrelled Gatling gun carried by the F-35 Lightning II outside of the USA.

The trials, which are being conducted at Nammo’s test center at Raufoss, Norway, will enable Nammo to conduct verification and acceptance testing of its APEX (Armor Piercing Explosive) ammunition, which has been developed specifically for the F-35, before it is delivered to customers.

The GAU-22 gun is the only one of its kind outside the USA and will be used to test every production lot ammunition independently.

Nammo’s program director for aircraft ammunition, Anders Nyhus said, “This setup allows us to do all the testing we need just minutes away from the production site. That means we can cut down the time between a production lot leaving the factory and when it is tested and ready to go to the customer. It also means we can have a much higher confidence in the quality of the products we deliver, because we are able to control every aspect of the process from beginning to end.”

The GAU-22 and the associated test facility have been acquired through an agreement with the Norwegian Defense Materiel Agency as part of the development of Nammo’s APEX-ammunition for the F-35.

The APEX is the only ammunition type available for the F-35 that will allow the aircraft to use its gun effectively in any scenario, both peace time air-policing and wartime operations against enemy aircraft and ground units. The muzzle velocity of the APEX projectiles for the GAU-22 gun is about 970 m/s.

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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