Weapons: A Loose Cannon

A Loose Cannon

Robert Dilger's life revolves around the machinery of war. A former fighter pilot who flew combat missions in Viet Nam, he had persuaded the Air Force to adapt a 30-mm Gatling antitank cannon to its A-10 Thunderbolt close air- support aircraft.

After retiring from the military in 1980, Dilger, now 54, became a part-time consultant to Oregon Republican Congressman Denny Smith, during which time he tried to interest the Pentagon in a similar, single-barrel antitank gun -- this one homemade. Last week his project misfired.

Dilger's 8-ft. cannon was in the back of his Dodge pickup truck when he pulled into...

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