General Dynamics has been awarded a contract by the US Naval Air Warfare Center to produce the M61A2 20mm Gatling gun system for F/A-18E/F aircraft.

The M61A2 20mm Gatling gun system will be mounted in the nose of the aircraft and is capable of firing 4,000-6,000 shots a minute.

The gun system is 20% lighter than the previous model and operates on a closed-loop rotary, linkless ammunition feed system.

GD Armament and Technical Products vice-president and general manager Mike O’Brien said the lightweight and reliable gun system would provide protection to US servicemen and women.

Work under the $9.8m contract will be carried out at the company’s facility in US, and is expected to be complete by September 2012.