Let's do something different today!

I recently visited the National Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C. While I was there I noticed several displays with ties to mecha anime.

One corner of the museum is made up to look like an aircraft carrier, and inside are exhibits explaining the role of carriers in both war and peacetime. Just outside is an amazing model of a U.S. aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Enterprise (perhaps unsurprisingly, considering there's a model of the original Star Trek NCC-1701 Enterprise downstairs).

Model of the USS Enterprise aircraft carrier

An amazing model, right? Let's zoom in on the aircraft there.

Model F-14 fighters

Those are F-14 Tomcats, which were the primary inspiration for the V-F1 Valkyrie from Super Dimension Fortress Macross.

Painting of a Valkyrie from Macross

Inside the aircraft carrier exhibit, they even have a larger, more detailed model of an F-14:

Large F-14 model

Cool, right? A little bit of Macross inside the Air & Space Museum. But right next to it, inside a glass case, sits an imposing gun several feet long:

Vulcan cannon

That is an M61 Vulcan cannon, a gatling gun-style rotary cannon that fires 20mm rounds at around 6,000 rounds per minute (!). They're used in a wide variety of US military aircraft, including the F-14 Tomcat, F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18 Hornet, F-22 Raptor, and the B-52H Stratofortress.

They're also used in Gundam! When you see the head-mounted cannons in Gundam fire their spray of bullets, those are Vulcan cannons, and that's why it typically makes a whirring sound.

Gundam firing Vulcan cannons

So there we are! Mecha designs are often based on real-world technology, and these are just a few examples. Hope you've found this interesting!

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