Tough Act?

The Air Force is seeking information from the munitions industry on ammunition for the gun system on the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the close air support replacement for the A-10 and F-16. The rub is that the ammo must be lethal in both air-to-ground and air-to-air combat environments, according to a Request for Information, modified May 19 to remove the words “frangible armor piercing.” The USAF variant of the F-35 has a GAU-22A gun system that takes 25mm ammunition. According to the RFI, “none of the existing 25mm combat ammunition within the DOD inventory (PGU-20/25/32) can achieve the USAF required lethality.” It goes on to note that the limited ammo storage capacity on this new fighter make a multi-role, dual-purpose projectile design critical. And, any proposed ammo must be relatively mature technology. Response date is June 13.