We’re starting a series on movies with awesome weapons (that actually exist), and are beginning with the movie Transformers.
The franchise began back in the 1970s with Hasbro’s successful launch of a toy line that featured robots that could transform into vehicles and other devices. That led to several different animated television shows and series of comic books based on the franchise. Then finally, in 2007, the live action film was released, and it was a hit. The movie grossed $709 million across the world and was nominated for three academy awards.
The film features a team of autonomous robotic organisms (“Autobots”) that comes to Earth in search of the source of energy that gave them life — the All Spark. Their enemy is Megatron, who had crash landed on Earth more than a hundred years earlier, and the Decepticons (other robots from the Autobots’ home world). The Autobots rally the help of Sam Witwicky and other humans from Earth (primarily military personnel) to aid in fighting the Decepticons. The Autobots have strong weapons, but the human weapons used in the movie are nothing to sneeze at. Let’s take a look at some of them.
M203 Grenade Launcher – This single-shot, 40mm weapon is composed of a unit being attached to another rifle, usually the M16 or M4 Carbine. The weapon, an upgrade from the M79 grenade launcher, is designated a M203 when it is attached to a carbine or rifle. The gun is designed for short-range uses, and aids in disrupting groups of enemies. It can also be used a way of disorienting the enemy through the intensive sound and explosive force of the rounds. The firearm has the ability to fire ten different types of rounds, some more lethal than others. Among movies weapons used by Hollywood, the M203 can be found in more than 20 big screen flicks.
Several characters in the movie use the M203. Sergeant Bobby Epps and another member of his team have their respective M4A1 Carbines fitted with a M203 attachment for close combat in their skirmish with the Decepticon Scorponok. A member of the secret government agency Sector 7 also uses a separate M203 unit against Brawl, one of the Decepticons, during the downtown battle.
M249 Light Machine Gun – This highly accurate machine gun is a variant of the FN Minimi and has been used much by the U.S. military since it first was produced in 1984. It gives soldiers a high volume of fire for its reasonably small size. It has a foldable bipod near the front of the gun, but it can also be used standalone, as it is in Transformers. Both linked ammunition and STANAG magazines work with the M249, which allow versatility for its user. This is one of the more popular movie weapons used in Transformers.
The gun is seen in the movie used by members of the surviving Ranger team from Qatar in their encounter with Scorponok (here’s another gun, used by Captain Lennox, leader of the team). The firearm they use is a variation called the M249 Para, which is a model designed to aid troops in flight missions. As fast of a rate of firing as the M249 has, it didn’t have the “bang” that the members of the Qatar team needed, so they called some reinforcements.
GAU-8/A Avenger – This 30mm cannon is the largest forward-firing cannon to ever be mounted onto an aircraft. It is a Gatling-style rotary cannon powered by hydraulics, and it makes its home under the nose of the Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II. This weapon is designed specifically for use against armored tanks. The rounds it uses has excellent penetration, with 2.7 inches at a range of 1640 feet and about 1.5 inches at 3280 feet. In other words, this is the cannon to have when you need big firepower.
This is the third weapon used against Scorponok, when the dispatched Warthogs (nickname for the A-10 aircraft) try to destroy Earth’s newest enemy. These weapons slowed Scorponok down, but even more firepower yet was needed to try to eliminate the threat.
AC-130 Armaments – The AC-130 is an ground-attack aircraft made by Lockheed and modified for air attack by Boeing. It is a variant of the C-130 and is used only by the Air Force. It has two variations: AC-130H Spectre and AC-130U Spooky. It can carry a variety of weapons, including different models of miniguns and cannons.
In Transformers, the Air Force sends in an AC-130U Spooky to take care of Scorponok. The gunship fires simultaneous rounds with its mounted Bofors 40 mm gun and M102 howitzer. The Bofors is an autocannon that is manually loaded with shell rounds, as opposed to bullets, and was originally designed for anti-air use. The M102 fires 105 mm explosive rounds weighing 33 pounds, with a firing rate of 10 rounds per minute for the first three minutes. Even these high-powered weapons don’t completely eliminate Scorponok, but they damage him enough to win the battle and force him to retreat. It’s clear why these high-powered are armaments are some of the movie weapons used in Transformers.
See the Movie – After writing this, I want to go watch Transformers just to see some of these cool movie weapons in action! Knowing more about some of the weapons used in this movie can help you enjoy it more. So go check out Transformers. Just click here to get this awesome flick for your enjoyment on your screen at home. Also, this is a good place to get any original Transformers TV series DVDs.
Written by Craig Kent, member of the Best Military Surplus team.