Feb. 19 (UPI) -- The Air Force announced Wednesday that the Gunsmith Shop has completed delivery of a new rifle -- known as the Air Crew Self Defense Weapon, or GAU-5A -- for aircrews in most ejection seat aircraft.
The 7-pound, 5.56 mm caliber rifle is based on the M4 carbine and designed to provide a downed aircrew with additional firepower while they wait for rescue, the Air Force said.
About 2,700 rifles were delivered to aircrew members between February 2018 and January 2020.
According to the Small Arms Program Office, the new weapons program cost $2.6 million.
"We were asked to design a stand-off weapon that was capable of hitting a man-size target at 200 meters," said Richard Shelton, Gunsmith Shop chief. "It disconnects at the upper receiver, is located inside the seat kit -- ACES II ejection seats -- and can be put together within 30 seconds if needed."
The Gunsmith Shop is comprised of civilian and military employees who are certified gunsmiths, machinists and skilled small-arms repair workers.