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VADS (and its missile companion, the AIM-9 Sidewinder-based MIM-72 Chaparral) was always intended to be a stop-gap system, and was considered obsolete by the late 70s since Soviet attack helicopters were carrying the AT-6 Spiral with a range almost five times greater than it.As a point of trivia, the cancellation of Mauler and its naval variant also led to the adoption of the RIM-7 Sea Sparrow by the US Navy (which had been anticipating the navalized Sea Mauler and had already designed the Knox-class frigates around it) and the development of the British Rapier SAM system.The VADS is a powered mounting which is manually aimed by the gunner with the radar only a rangefinder, and has an effective range of about three quarters of a mile against airborne targets and 1.25 miles against ground targets.It is used mostly by naval vessels to engage incoming missiles, aircraft, and sea-based close-range targets.It features a distinctive white-painted cylindrical weapon control group with a domed radome at the top which results in the nickname "R2-D2" being applied to the mounting (sometimes with a crude addition related to the position of the gun: some early reliability issues with Phalanx also led to sailors muttering that CIWS meant "Captain, It Won't Shoot!The six rotating barrels contribute to long weapon life by minimizing barrel erosion and heat generation.
The gun's rate of fire, essentially 100 rounds per second, gives the pilot a shot density that will enable a "kill" when fired in one-second bursts.
The M113-mounted self-propelled version, the M163 VADS, entered service in 1969, replacing the M42 Duster.
The two systems used a round developed specifically for them, the M246 High-Explosive Incendiary Tracer, Self-Destruct (HEIT-SD).
The barrel restraint to increase accuracy was added by the Block 1 baseline 2 upgrade. This is the current version which has a set of Optimised Gun Barrels (OGB) to increase accuracy and longevity, and Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) which enable the CIWS to engage targets with a low radar observability and surface targets.
This is a self-contained powered mounting developed in the 1970s and first mounted to a combat vessel, the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea, in 1980.
In 1956 the T171 20mm gun was standardized by the US Army and US Air Force as the M61 20mm Vulcan aircraft gun.