Modern, dedicated Gunship Aircraft

Discussion in 'World Armed Forces' started by Jeff Head, Aug 11, 2015.

  1. Jeff Head
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    Jeff Head General
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    AFSOC receives 1st AC-130J Ghostrider gunship


    AC-130J-08.jpg

    [quote-US Air Force]HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. (AFNS) -- The first AC-130J Ghostrider landed here July 29, making it Air Force Special Operations Command’s first AC-130J.

    After completing the initial developmental test and evaluation by the 413th Flight Test Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, the aircraft will be flown by the 1st Special Operations Group Detachment 2 and maintained by the 1st Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron during its initial operational tests and evaluations at Hurlburt Field.

    “Putting it through these tests will allow us to wring out the AC-130J in a simulated combat environment, instead of the more rigid flight profiles in formal developmental testing,” said Lt. Col. Brett DeAngelis, the 1st SOG Det. 2 commander. “Now that we know the equipment works when we turn it on, it’s our task to determine the best way to employ our newest asset.”

    For most, the new gunship is the future.

    “The AC-130J brings new technology to the table for AFSOC with more efficient engines, improved fuel efficiency and the ability to fly higher, further and quieter,” said Master Sgt. Michael Ezell, the 1st SOAMXS production superintendent. “Additionally, the modified weapons system it possesses is a precision strike package that was collected from the older models, such as the laser-guided bombs and AGM-176 Griffin bombs, and combined to give us all the capabilities of the AC-130W Stinger II and AC-130U Spooky all in one package.”

    The AC-130J is a modified MC-130J Commando II, containing advanced features that will enable it to provide ground forces with an expeditionary, direct-fire platform that is persistent, suited for urban operations and capable of delivering precision munitions against ground targets.

    “This is an exciting transition as we move the AC-130J from the test community to the operational community,” DeAngelis said. “While we still have initial operational testing in front of us to accomplish, it will now be done by aircrews selected for their combat expertise, instead of their testing background.”

    A cadre of 60 aircrew and maintainers were selected by the Air Force Personnel Center to stand up the program, and there will be an additional 30 contractors to help work on the new gunship.

    “We will be training on the airplane, getting all the qualifications and hands-on experience we need to be able to perform operational testing in order to give an exact picture of how this plane will operate in a real-world environment,” Ezell said. “Our focus right now is to learn how to maintain the aircraft and the operators will learn how to fly it and get ready for (initial operational test and evaluation), which should start later this year.”

    Airmen were hand selected to work on the new AC-130J; they encompass a solid background and level of expertise on C-130Js. The maintenance team cadre came from Little Rock AFB, Arkansas, Dyess AFB, Texas, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, and Cannon AFB, New Mexico.

    “As more AC-130Js are produced and delivered, the older models will slowly be retired,” DeAngelis said. “Until then, we’ll hold on to them while the AC-130J completes operational tests and the fleet becomes abundant in numbers.”

    Operational testing is expected to be complete in spring 2016.

    “Det. 2’s mission is simple; ‘Get it right,’” DeAngelis said. “And we have the right group of people to do just that.”[/quote]

    Sixteen of these new U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) aircraft, which are attack aircraft based on the new MC-130J Combat Shadow II special operations tanker aircraft, are planned using 30mm cannons, Griffin Missiles and Small diameter bombs. The sixteen will replace eight aging AC-130H aircraft, and would thus grow the fleet from 25 total aircraft to 33. That is still the plan.


    Initially the new AC-130J aircraft were going to remove the 105mm cannon in favor of all Small Diameter Bombs and the Griffins, and perhaps hellfire missiles. But, The Air Force decided to retain the 105 mm cannon in addition to its 30 mm cannon and the SDB and Griffins. AFSOC is also interested in adding a directed energy weapon to the AC-130J later, when they become available. There is also advanced research going on into deploying small unmanned aerial vehicles from the common launch tubes of the AC-130J to provide remote video feed and coordinates for weapons operators through cloud cover.

    More pics:

    AC-130J-03.jpg

    AC-130J-04.jpg

    AC-130J-05.jpg

    AC-130J-01.jpg


    This thread is about modern, dedicated, fixed-wing gunship aircraft like the line of AC-130 aircraft the US Air Force Special Operations Command uses. Currently the AC-130H, AC-130W, and AC-130U aircraft...but now adding the AC-130J aircraft to replace the aging AC-130H aircraft still in inventory.

    Please post news, information, pictures or videos about currently in service, fixed-wing gunship aircraft from around the world.
     
  2. Miragedriver
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    Miragedriver Brigadier

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    Oh my! A 105mm gun on the C-130! How does the aircraft recoil after it fires?
     
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  3. Bernard
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    Bernard Junior Member

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    Great thread idea Jeff! Here some new things they want to pack onto gunships!
    Air Force wants AC-130 gunships armed with laser weapons
    The U.S. military’s close air support specialist, the AC-130J Ghostrider, may be getting a serious upgrade: laser weapons.

    Air ForceLt. Gen. Bradley Heithold, the head of Air Force Special Operations Command, told a crowd in Washington, D.C. this week that the time was right to explore directed energy weapons for the gunship, Military.com reported Thursday.

    The defense website said that the Air Force previously looked into the technology before former Defense Secretary Robert Gates scrapped the program.
    Military.com added that Gen. Heithold’s comments were the first time an Air Force official has put forth the possibility of adding a laser weapon to the AC-130.

    The AC-130’s history dates back to the Vietnam War, and the base C-130 “Hercules” cargo plane is older still, having first flown in 1954. The gunship has also seen action in During Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom.

    The aircraft can fly up to 300 miles per hour, has a range of roughly 1,300 nautical miles, and a ceiling of 25,000 feet.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jan/29/air-force-special-operations-command-wants-ac-130-/
     
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  4. FORBIN
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    FORBIN Lieutenant General
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    Jeff are you sure this is an AC-130J on your picture ?

    Because i have read the first with this gun which is in fact the 3rd* MC-130J modified not yet delivered right now have only a 30 mm gun and small missiles.

    .
    http://www.flightglobal.com/news/ar...eive-first-ac-130j-ghostrider-gunship-415328/
    AC-130H retired remains 17 AC-130U and 12 AC-130W after replaced with H by 37 AC-130J.
    3 Combat Sqns each have 10/12.

    Really this big boys desserves a thread :)
     
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  5. Jeff Head
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    Jeff Head General
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    I pulled that pic off an article talking about them getting the 105mm for the AC-130J...perhaps they are showing what it will look like by showing the earlier model?

    I created a thread for them.

    In World Military Forum...Dedicated Fixed Wing Gunship Aircraft.
     
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  6. Jeff Head
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    Jeff Head General
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    They have been doing it for decades my friend.

    I am not sure exactly what they have done to compensate for it...but they most certainly have and that very directed, and very accurate gun fire as saved many a US personnel life.
     
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  7. kwaigonegin
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    kwaigonegin Colonel

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    I think you're right forb.. The 105 will be installed on the 3rd ship and retrofitted to the earlier two at a later date. As of this time they're only on legacy aircraft. They have some vibration issues with the new airframe which causes problems with the tracking.

    As to the recoil it's not a problem. I've seen documentaries of the inside of the belly of the beast and they made special mounts to absorb the recoil from the gun.

    Personally I like the 40mm bofors more. It's high rate of fire and the sound it makes is just wicked.

    I think the USAF ac130s are the only fixed wing gunships in the world at present. I can't think of any other operators.
     
  8. TerraN_EmpirE
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    TerraN_EmpirE Tyrant King

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  9. Jeff Head
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    Jeff Head General
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    Well, the most recent chance for a new fixed wing gunship was going to be the AC-27J Stinger II. The Air Force actually took delivery of one aircraft, serial number 90-0170, and delivered it to Eglin so the Air Force Research Lab there could fit 30mm and 40mm guns to it. But it was canceled, though I have heard that some of the countries taking delivery of the C-27J may still have interest. Italy was interested at one time I know.

    I know that Columbia has five AC-47 Spooky gunships in use. They retrofitted five aircraft they purchased in 2006 and use them for counter-insurgency to this day. Their armament varies. Most have .50 cal GAU-19/A machine guns slaved to a FLIR on the aircraft. At least one was also fitted with a 20mm cannon.

    I believe El Salvador may still have the two AC-47 Spookies it got from the US. I know they operated them for years.

    Outside of that, I am not sure if any of the old, smaller Fairchild AU-23 gunships in Thailand, or Helio AU-24 gunships in Cambodia are left anywhere. Probably not.
     
    #9 Jeff Head, Aug 11, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2015
  10. kwaigonegin
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    kwaigonegin Colonel

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    I think the a400m platform would make ideal gunships. Couple of 30mm mk 44 bushmasters, modified 76 oto melara with apfsds and 35 mm oerlikon twin with ap incendiaries then the 105.

    It's basically a flying gunboat and a convoy destroying system... But more importantly it's a soul crushing system and a morale killer. You bring it out a few times and most enemies would surrender.
     
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