F-35B Lightning aircraft with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 executed the first shipboard hot reload of ordnance from the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp, say the US Marine Corps.

During the training flights, F-35B jets fired the 25mm cannon in coordination with MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft and a US Navy MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopters firing 7.62 mm machine guns to destroy the ‘killer tomato’, a large inflatable target used during live-fire exercises at sea.

Col. Robert Brodie, commanding officer of the 31st MEU, said in a statement:

“Our recent F-35B strike rehearsals demonstrate the 31st MEU’s lethality and readiness to address potential adversaries. The speed that we can conduct precision strikes with devastating effects while providing close air support to our Marines is nothing shy of awesome. Bottom-line; the F-35B defines shock and awe!Col. Robert Brodie, commanding officer of the 31st MEU”

In addition to employment of the GAU-22, the F-35B aircraft dropped a GBU-32 1,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munition, and a GBU-12 Paveway II 500-pound laser-guided bomb on a first sortie say the US Marine Corps in the news release.

According to Maj. Jeffrey Davis, F-35B detachment officer-in-charge:

“Successful execution of hot reload procedures while afloat demonstrates the 31st MEU’s ability to surge offensive air support for kinetic missions in the theatre, increasing available lethality for commanders. Our organic MEU assets and personnel demonstrated the ability to reload and refuel a section of F-35Bs or a division of F-35Bs rapidly, when executing surge operations with a standard F-35B detachment.”

The GAU-22 is able to fire 3,300 rounds per minute with deadly accuracy.

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Its been very quiet around the canon on the UK versions. I am guessing as the RAF actively tried to remove it from the typhoon to save cost, that they won’t be buy the modules.


At least as a hardpoint module I assume it is something that can be realistically fitted on a per-mission basis with similar ease to loading Paveway etc so perhaps a purchase of far fewer than 138 would give the option when needed. Sitting out on a hardpoint I assume that it does compromise stealth so not something that one would want fitted for every mission anyway.


Belly mounted in a supposedly stealthy pod.


I assume if the RAF didn’t see a need for a gun on the typhoon, they wont’ see a need for it on the f35b, so won’t put their limited resources that way.


Interesting. I thought some of the Typhoons did have an internal gun? Guess they didn’t learn the hard lesson the USAF/USN learned in Vietnam with the gunless Phantom. No matter how great the companies, ect say their air to air missiles are they NEVER live up to all the pre combat hype.

Scott Morris

They have the 27mm gun

Robert blay

The Typhoon fleet has a fully supported 27mm Mauser Cannon housed in the starboard wing route. A bit of plastic hides the gun barrel for radar cross section reasons, and the first round when fired shoots that out. ?

Robert blay

The RAF did see a need for the gun on Typhoon, it was the MOD trying to save money that called it into question. Fortunately they saw sense and now fully support the gun on Typhoon. Lessons learned from Afghan/Iraq/ Syria has shown that a gun is very useful against soft targets and even warning shots before a paveway needs to be used. We will buy the gun for our F35’s.


Is the gun now supported, last i read they had blanket it off as the cost of removing was too high?


Ah nevermind, from wikipedia In 2001, it was announced that the Royal Air Force (RAF) would not use the aircraft’s internal 27 mm Mauser cannon. This was due to a desire to save money by removing gun support costs, ammunition stocks, training costs, etc. The gun was also deemed unnecessary since the missile armament was believed to be adequate in the Typhoon’s fighter role. However, because removal of the cannon would affect the aircraft’s flight characteristics, requiring modification of the aircraft’s flight software the RAF decided that all of its Typhoons would be fitted with the cannon but that it… Read more »


Correct, all RAF Typhoons are fitted with a fully functioning Mauser 27mm autocanon, including the mothballed T2s. The gun, feeder and ammo is required to maintain the aircraft’s center of gravity.

Steve R

Makes me wonder why they didn’t design it as a conformal module to maintain stealth profile.


Ron5 corrected me to point out that the F-35 pod is designed to be stealthy. I am however struggling to visualise how a belly mount works on F-35B given the large internal weapons bay doors with the lift fan exhaust forward of that. Where exactly on the belly does it go? Is there enough space along the fuselage centre line between the weapons bay doors for those doors to be able to open without being obstructed by a gun pod installed between them or is there perhaps enough fuselage length to allow space for either the gun pod to fit… Read more »


If you google F35B fitted with gun pod, there are a lot of fitted examples. The pod fits along the centre line between the bomb bays and aft of the lift fan doors.


Afghan proved that there was absolutely a need for a gun on fast air. Hence why the FSTs fought for a10s and apache when we needed CAS.


With only 200 rounds, I can’t see the f35s canon being used for CAS. Compare that to the A10 with a capacity for 1300.


So what does this mean for our British F35b if anything?


Not sure but when the British CV goes out for it’s first operational deployment it will be carrying at least 1 squadron of USMC F-35Bs.


So it fires 3,300 rounds per minute, so how many seconds can the F35b hold?


How many seconds did a Spitfire have?

Steve Rose

The mk1 had 8x .303 Browning machine guns with 350 rounds per gun. Around 18-20 seconds of firing if you shot continuously.

Bear in mind though that although that’s up to 5 times more than the F35, the guns were the Spitfire’s only armament, and the bullets in the km 1’s guns were the same calibre as the infantry rifles on the ground so it took a lot more fire to down an enemy plane.


F35b’s external gun pod holds 220 rounds, so looking at 4 seconds of firing time.


Thanks m8


For interest/comparison the Typhoon data (according to Wikipedia) is 150 rounds with Typhoon’s Mauser BK 27 quoted as having a variable rate of 1000-1700 rounds per minute rate settable in steps of +/-100 rpm (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mauser_BK-27) which gives figures for Typhoon of between 5.3 and 9 seconds depending on selected rate of fire.

Scott Morris

Bugger all about 400 rounds


For those wanting more info on the F35B’s, gun check out the following website:


This shows a bit more info about the gun pod. This pod is going to be used by both the B and C versions of the F35, the F35A mounts the GAU/22 internally.