This book covers the history of aircraft armament from the early days of World War I when aviators fired hand-held weapons at each other, through the airborne gun advancements during World War II, and finally up to the modern Gatling Guns of today. During the 1960s, aircraft guns would become a part of the helicopter mission, and these choppers would play an important role in Vietnam. Also during this period there would be three special "Gun Ships," where an airborne ground-attack system was designed around side-firing guns. The famous A-10 was designed around its forward-firing Gatling Gun. With the advent of new air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, there were those who thought that the day of the aircraft gun was over. In fact, the F-4 Phantom's early versions carried no guns. Experience showed, though, that they were still needed, and later aircraft types saw them returned. The current aircraft of the USAF and U.S. Navy – the F-15, F-16, F/A-18, and F-22 – all carry a rapid-fire Gatling Gun in addition to their missile loads.