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In 2018, we first reported of the U.S. Air Force equipping its airmen with a new carbine: The GAU-5A Aircrew Self Defense Weapon. Well, Air Force gunsmiths recently completed delivery of the new takedown M4-style carbine for pilots and air crews.

The carbine breaks down and stows under pilot ejection seats. The Air Force Gunsmith Shop delivered 2,700 of carbines, classified GAU-5A, chambered in 5.56mm.

Air Force Fields GAU-5A, Aircrew Self Defense Weapon

“We were asked to design a stand-off weapon that was capable of hitting a man-size target at 200 meters,” Richard Shelton, chief of the Gunsmith Shop, told airforce-technology.com. “It disconnects at the upper receiver … and can be put together within 30 seconds if needed.”

The new takedown carbine comes via the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s (AFLCMC) Armament Directorate, according to airforce-technology.com. The GAU-5A, also known as the Aircrew Self Defense Weapon, weights 7 pounds and utilizes iron sights. The weapon system, which cost $2.6 million, aims to increase aircrew survivability.

“The most rewarding part of my job is getting [small arms] through the shop and taking a weapon that has been beat up and heavily used, and returning it to the user practically brand new,” Shelton told airforce-technology.com “The other rewarding thing is when we work with the using community to develop specific weapons for a specific Air Force need.”

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