Dillon Aero unveils new 503D .50 Gatling gun at Milipol 2021

Dillon Aero is in the final stage of developing a new .50 caliber Gatling gun designated 503D. This gun system will be lighter, faster and smarter than existing .50 machine guns., firing u to 1,500 rounds per minute (25 rounds/second) with the ability to adjust the precise firing rate based on platform integration to optimize mission performance.
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Dillon Aero 530D Gatling gun (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The 503D Gatling gun weighs 41 kg. The 503D’s design includes integrated immunity to internal component damage from ammunition feed jams. The technology used in the system provides the operator with detailed information about weapon operations, maintenance data for possible failure prevention, and increased safety.

Dillon Aero and the Minigun history

In the mid-1960s, General Electric designed and produced the GE Minigun. It was derivative of larger types the company produced for fighter aircraft. The Minigun saw service throughout the Vietnam War and for some years after. Those who knew the weapon knew how devastating it was. Miniguns quickly spread through the services. The Army used them on UH-1 Hueys, AH-6s, AH-1 Cobras, and even put Miniguns in trucks to protect convoys. The Navy used Miniguns on river patrol boats and ships. The Air Force had Miniguns in the nose of the A-37 Dragonfly jets and even mounted three side-firing Minis on Douglas C-47 Skytrain/Dakota transports then called AC-47 ‘Puff the Dragon’.

However, when the war ended, production ceased. The M134’C’, as it was known at that time, soldiered on for decades, living off of the spare parts inventory that had built up during the last war. Eventually, the spares began to run out. New sources of parts were sought. These contracts went mainly to low bidders who, lacking an understanding of how the gun actually operated, produced parts of questionable quality. By the 1980s, the spares supply had either been used up or tainted with bad parts. Many units simply chose to turn in their weapons for other less temperamental and, unfortunately, less effective guns.

In 2004, Dillon followed up with the development of the M134D-T. This was the lightweight variant of the Minigun with much of the weight reduction being achieved by replacing steel components with titanium.

In the end, the all-titanium Minigun had a fairly short life. While most of the improvements were very successful, the titanium housing suffered from a higher than normal wear rate which reduced its life to 500,000 rounds. However, all was not lost. By 2005, the lightweight components perfected in the M134D-T were introduced into the steel M134D to create the M134D-H.

As a result of the phenomenal success of this weapon family, Dillon Aero has been awarded over 375 contracts by the US government, in addition to numerous other key projects.