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Infantry Weapons

USAF issues pilots with new carbine rifle

19 February 2020
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The US Air Force (USAF) has completed the rollout of a new 5.56 mm rifle to most of its pilots flying in ejection-seat aircraft, the service announced in mid-February.

The GAU-5A Aircrew Self Defense Weapon in its fully assembled state is designed to provide downed aircrew with additional firepower while they await rescue. (US Air Force)The GAU-5A Aircrew Self Defense Weapon in its fully assembled state is designed to provide downed aircrew with additional firepower while they await rescue. (US Air Force)

Based on the Colt M4 Carbine, the GAU-5A Aircrew Self Defense Weapon (ASDW) is being issued to provide downed aircrew with additional firepower while they wait for rescue.

As noted by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center's Armament Directorate, the Air Force Gunsmith Shop has designed the ASDW to be broken down for storage inside the base of the United Technologies Aerospace Systems (UTAS) ACES 2 ejection seat.

The weapon weighs about 3 kg because it is not fitted with optics.

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