Pilots from the United States Air Force 388th Fighter Wing’s 4th Fighter Squadron were the first operational unit to fire the F-35As 25mm cannon in a strafing run during training.
According to the US Air Force, the two-ship formation fired on two sets of ground targets on the Utah Test and Training range Aug. 13. Loading and firing the cannon was one of the few capabilities Airmen in the 388th and 419th FWs had yet to demonstrate.
Lockheed Martin say that F-35As internal cannon allows the aircraft to maintain stealth against air adversaries as well as fire more accurately on ground targets, giving pilots more tactical flexibility.
For the F-35A, 180 rounds can be housed in the gun’s linkless ammunition handling system. For the F-35B and F-35C, they both rely on an external gun pod carrying the GAU-22. The GAU-22/A uses a 25mm shell, which is significantly more powerful than what the F-16 the F-15E, F-15C use — all of those aircraft use a 20mm shell.
On June the 9th 2015, a test F-35A shot its first salvos from its four-barrel GAU-22/A Gatling gun.