The F-15 Eagle’s main cannon isn’t quite as colossal as the one on the A-10 Thunderbolt, but like the Wu-Tang Clan, it ain’t nothing to fuck with. The 20mm rounds can be kicked out at the ridiculous rate of 6,000 per minute, and it takes a mechanical monster to load.

An F-15 generally carries four AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, four AIM-120 AMRAAMs, eight AIM-120 AMRAAMs, and a M-61A1 Vulcan cannon, per The latter of which is resupplied by what looks like a robotic insemination process manually activated by an airman with a power tool.


This video captures some U.S. Air Force personnel learning to arm the plane, which is a little mesmerizing. Especially when it comes to feeding the Vulcan. Watch how this hand-tool-cranked tentacle pokes into the jet’s body to replace spent cases with fresh rounds.

The M61 Vulcan cannon, unmounted. (Image by Thomas Fedor/ via Wikipedia Creative Commons)

This six-barreled 275 pound peashooter is mounted close to the plane’s body on the starboard wing per, which has some diagrams of the weapon system and its orientation. It’s positioned “well aft” of the engine air intake to avoid it sucking down bad fumes.

That site also explains that the F-15's vulcan is mainly supposed to be used for air-to-air combat at “extremely short range.” As in, fighting with another plane that’s less than 2,000 feet away where you might be too close for missiles.


While older variants carried close to 1,000 rounds, new ones apparently hold about half that. This change was apparently made to make more room on the plane for electronic equipment.


The F-15 has been in the U.S. Air Force’s arsenal of equipment since the 1970's. Today the service reports that 249 of the planes are in its inventory.

Reviews Editor, Jalopnik | 1975 International Scout, 1984 Nissan 300ZX, 1991 Suzuki GSXR, 1998 Mitsubishi Montero, 2005 Acura TL

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