The M61 Vulcan is a 6 barreled, rotary action, air cooled, electrically fired weapon. The gun system is mated to a linkless ammunition storage and handling system. Each of the gun's six barrels fires only once during each revolution of the barrel cluster. The six rotating barrels contribute to long weapon life by minimizing barrel erosion and heat generation.
The M61A2 is a lightweight version of the M61A1. Most of the weight savings was achieved by machining down the barrel thickness. It shares the same features as the M61A1, but is 20 percent lighter. The M61A2 meets or exceeds the M61A1 gun's reliability, maintainability and supportability features.