Sunday, November 13, 2016

Lockheed AC-130 Spectre Gunship

The Lockheed AC-130 gunship is a heavily armed, long-endurance ground-attack variant of the C-130 Hercules transport fixed-wing aircraft. It carries a wide array of anti-ground oriented weapons that are integrated with sophisticated sensors, navigation, and fire-control systems.

Due to its large profile, relatively low speed and low operating altitudes (around 7,000 ft) making it an easy target, it usually flies close air support missions at night.
The AC-130 has a non-pressurized cabin, with the weaponry mounted to fire from the port side of the fuselage. During an attack, the gunship performs a pylon turn, flying in a large circle around the target, therefore being able to fire at it for far longer than in a conventional strafing attack. The AC-130H Spectre was armed with two 20 mm M61 Vulcan cannons, one Bofors 40 mm autocannon, and one 105 mm M102 cannon. The upgraded AC-130U Spooky has a single 25 mm GAU-12 Equalizer in place of the Spectre's twin 20 mm cannons. The AC-130W is armed with a 30 mm Bushmaster cannon, AGM-176 Griffin missiles, and GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs.
By 2018, AC-130 gunships will have been providing close air support for special operators for 50 years.