Vigilante: That time the Army tried to make a 37mm Gatling gun (PHOTOS)
By Chris Eger
What’s not to like about a 37mm Gatling gun that could fire at 3,000 rounds-per-minute (Photos: Springfield Armory National Historic Site)
While today we think of the 20mm Vulcan and 30mm Avenger as the go-to in brrrrt technology, back in the 1950s the Army planned for something even bigger.
With jets replacing prop-driven airplanes in combat after WWII, the Army was in need of replacing their legacy anti-aircraft guns such as the M45 Maxson quad-50, which was designed to swat Japanese Zeros and German Messerschmitts from the sky. The new Atomic Age military required something more modern. The answer came from Springfield.
Starting in 1956, the Army’s Springfield Armory in Massachusetts in conjunction with Watervliet Arsenal in New York began a feasibility study of a multi-barrelled 37mm Gatling type weapon for use as a vehicle-mounted gun. Under a team led by Dr. Alexander Hammer — yes, a gun designed by a guy named Dr. Hammer — the largest Gatling gun developed soon went from the drawing board to the developmental stage.
Basically a scaled-up version of the 20mm Vulcan, the new 37mm monster used a half-dozen barrels that all went just past 8-feet in length. The electrically-driven gun was designated the T250 Vigilante inSource: Guns.com