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Air Force pilots are finally getting collapsible rifles to defend themselves if they eject in hostile territory
After decades with nothing but pistols to defend themselves with in the event of a successful ejection over enemy territory, Air Force pilots are officially rocking compact versions of a rifle that the U.S. military has used since Vietnam.
In the last month, airmen have started receiving the GAU-5A Aircrew Self Defense Weapon, a heavily-modified version of the shortened 5.56mm M16 derivative that U.S. service members once brandished in the 1960s as the CAR-15 or "Colt Commando"
The new ASDW, which comes with four 30-round magazines, is based on Colt's current M4 platform and outfitted with a "modified quick-release barrel" designed by tactical firearms company Cry Havoc for an effective range beyond 200 meters, as Air Force Times reported in June 2018.
Produced explicitly for inclusion in the new new ACES II survival kit, the GAU-5A ASDW measures just under 16 x 14 x 3.5 inches and was to be assembled by hand in under a minute, Air Combat Command officials told Air Force Times.
The GAU-5A Aircrew Self Defense Weapon(U.S. Air Force/3rd Wing via Facebook)
The Air Force first announced its intent to arm pilots with the new ASDW back in June 2018, and a handful of lucky airmen finally managed to get their hands on the new rifle this spring.
An April 2019 Facebook post from the 3r Wing showed F-22 Raptor pilots at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska getting up close and personal with their new rifles.
A few weeks later the 366th Fighter Wing at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho showed personnel readying the new GAU-5 rifles for including in ACES II survival kits for F-15E Strike Eagle pilots.
Airman First Class Zack Day, 366th Operation Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment apprentice, assembles a GUA-5A May 6, 2019, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho(U.S. Air Force/Airman First Class Andrew Kobialka)
While the [GAU-5A] was designed "for all combat-coded ejection aircraft," as Air Combat Command spokeswoman Maj. Docleia Gibson previously told Air Force Times, it's worth noting that Air Force pilots will likely have a backup pistol handy as well.
As Task & Purpose previously reported, the Air Force was eyeing the Army's new Modular Handgun System as a potential replacement for the Beretta M9 and SIG Sauer P226 pistols as pilot sidearms, separate from the firearm included in the ACES II survival kit.
Back in December 2017, Air Force's operational testing and evaluation officials at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio outfitted a test dummy with two M17 pistols holstered across his chest before slamming it into the bottom of a vertical deceleration tower at the 711th Human Performance Wing to ensure the new handgun doesn't cause issues during an ejection.
Either way, the GAU-5A ASDW will certainly add a much-needed firepower boost for airmen shot down behind enemy lines — at least, until their Ubers arrives.
WATCH NEXT: The Army's New Modular Handgun System
The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act would allow service members to seek compensation when military doctors make mistakes that harm them, but they would still be unable to file medical malpractice lawsuits against the federal government.
On Monday night, Congress announced that it had finalized the NDAA, which must be passed by the House and Senate before going to President Donald Trump. If the president signs the NDAA into law, it would mark the first time in nearly seven decades that U.S. military personnel have had legal recourse to seek payment from the military in cases of medical malpractice.
A major serving at U.S. Army Cyber Command has been charged with distributing child pornography, according to the Justice Department.
Maj. Jason Michael Musgrove, who is based at Fort Gordon, Georgia, has been remanded to the U.S. Marshals service, a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Georgia says.
Navy senior leaders could decide whether or not to approve the new I-Boot 5 early in 2020, said Rob Carroll, director of the uniform matters office at the Chief of Naval Personnel's office.
"The I-Boot 5 is currently wrapping up its actual wear test, its evaluation," Carroll told Task & Purpose on Monday. "We're hoping that within the first quarter of calendar year 2020 that we'll be able to present leadership with the information that they need to make an informed decision."
Oklahoma Congresspeople slam private housing contractor at Tinker Air Force Base for negligence, fraud
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe and U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn leveled harsh criticism last week at the contractor accused of negligence and fraudulent activity while operating private housing at Tinker Air Force Base and other military installations.
Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, referred to Balfour Beatty Communities as "notorious." Horn, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, told a company executive she was "incredibly disappointed you have failed to live up to your responsibility for taking care of the people that are living in these houses."
The Saudi national who killed three students on a U.S. Naval Air station in Pensacola was in the United States on a training exchange program.
On Sunday, Sen. Rick Scott said the United States should suspend that program, which brings foreign nationals to America for military training, pending a "full review."