YouTube / USA Military Channel
This US Navy F-35B comes equipped with a GPU-9/A gun pod. GPU-9/As hold the GAU-22A 25mm Gatling gun and 200 rounds of ammo. Despite that, this gun pod is quite controversial.
Both F-35Bs and F-35Cs tend to rely on this GPU. However, its shape is believed to induce a Radar Cross Section degradation. In addition, the amount of ammo it carries (220 rounds) is less than the ammo carried by planes it replaced.
Nevertheless, F-35Bs launched their first-ever combat mission on September 27, 2018. That day, an undisclosed number of USMC F-35s with VMFA-211 performed long-range strikes at insurgent targets in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. The F-35Bs that flew the first raid were fitted with these gun pods and several GBU-32 JDAMs.
Three years later, the USMC still uses these gun pods as they fly over Somalia. Here’s a fantastic shot of the F-35’s underbelly with the GPU-9/A.
They’re amazing, aren’t they?