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Guns Out

An F-15 S/MTD firing its gun pod.

Machine guns are automatic weapons equipped on military aircraft. They have been used in nearly every kind of aircraft type, from fighter jets to helicopters.

Through modern history, they have been a cornerstone of military aviation and air combat, proving to be as equally important as missiles.


Machine guns are standard weaponry to all fighter aircraft, along with missiles. Commonly, the main purpose of guns is to provide pilots with the ability to attack enemies at distances where missiles would prove useless or ineffective. They have a very high rate of fire, but their effective range is short and their overall firepower is generally weak.

Ammunition counts between games vary: most games provide an unlimited supply of ammo, however playing in difficulties from HARD and above will limit the amount of ammo available, usually to 800 shots. In this regard, Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies stands out for the varying ammo supply between aircraft, starting with the F-4E Phantom II at 600 rounds, and peaking with the X-02 Wyvern at 950. This detail was removed in following games, leaving the default ammunition load at 800. The only exception was in Ace Combat Infinity, in which the amount of ammunition can be increased by simply leveling the aircraft up.

Machine guns often work the same in all aircraft, except for those mounted in attackers, due to their tendency to arc down in mid-air. Furthermore, they can often fire non-stop for as long as their ammunition supply allows. Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception and its sequel Ace Combat: Joint Assault introduce a twist: thanks to the Tuning mechanic, machine guns can be modified to fit the user's needs. Upgrades include high-speed ammunition, increased firing range or even automatic tracking software.

Ace Combat: Assault Horizon introduces an "overheating" mechanic for all guns, which requires them to cool down after prolonged periods of gunfire. The only exception to this is the Machine Gun Pod (MGP) SP Weapon (available for the MiG-21bis Fishbed and Su-25TM Frogfoot). It adds two additional gun pods onto an aircraft's nearest hardpoints and allows them to be used in combination with the standard gun for a significantly increased hit probability and possible damage per second. MGPs do not overheat, but their ammunition is finite.

List of machine guns

Name Description
Vulcan Traditional M61-type gun.
Heavy Machine Gun Heavy multi-barreled gun with high power.
Cannon Single-barreled weapon with unrivaled firepower.
Pulse Laser Automatic energy weapon used by the R-series aircraft.
Neutron Beam Special neutron-based weapon designed for spacecraft.
Chaingun Automatic gun mounted on attack helicopters.
GAU-12 Equalizer/25mm Heavy gatling gun mounted on the AC-130U Spooky. Also used by AV-8B Harrier II plus.
GAU-22/A Equalizer/25mm Lightened four-barrel version of the GAU-12. Mounted on F-35 Lightning II (B and C variants), F-15 S/MTD (Assault Horizon and Infinity versions), and F-4G Phantom II Wild Weasel (Infinity version).
GAU-8/A Avenger/30mm Heavy gatling gun mounted on the A-10A Thunderbolt II.
Machine Gun Pod Wing-mounted machine gun system. Relies on limited ammo supply.
GiL30mm Belkan-made machine gun. Used by the ADFX-01/02 aircraft.
GSh-23L In Ace Combat series used by only MiG-21bis Fishbed and Mi-24 Hind.
GSh-6-23 Used by MiG-31 Foxhound.
GSh-30-1 Used by MiG-29A Fulcrum and Su-27 Flanker family.
GSh-30-2 Used by Su-25 and Su-25TM.
Mauser BK-27 Used by Typhoon and Tornado family (IDS, F3, GR.4, ECR).