[20] In 2007, the Air Force modified four AC-130U gunships as test platforms for the Bushmasters. The AC-130 is flown by USAF Special Operations, mostly in the close air support role. AC-130s were also used for intelligence gathering with their sophisticated long-range video, infrared and radar sensors. More than 2,300 of these aircraft have been delivered by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company since it entered production in 1956. US Special Operations Forces are using the AC-130 to support its operations. Hercules Support. Other roles include air interdiction (pre-planned air-to-ground strikes), armed reconnaissance and force protection (flying defensive patrols over friendly forces / bases). Blind Bat crews came to know certain flak emplacements as one does a mortal enemy. Flight status, tracking, and historical data for Air Canada 130 (AC130/ACA130) including scheduled, estimated, and actual departure and arrival times. The AC-130W Stinger II is a modified C-130H with upgrades including a precision strike package. Lockheed Martin proudly provides these resources. Crews added a 105 mm cannon, 20-inch infrared and electro-optical sensors, and the ability to carry 250-lb bombs on the wings. Guidance is provided by a GPS receiver with antispoofing software and four Distributed Aperture Semiactive Laser Seeker apertures adapted from the WGU-59/B APKWS for terminal guidance. Designated the GBU-69/B Small Glide Munition, the weapon weighs 27 kg (60 lb) and is armed with a 16 kg (35 lb) blast-fragmentation warhead that can detonate by direct impact or at a selected height; despite being smaller, being unpowered allows for its warhead to be heavier than those on the Hellfire and Griffin A missiles, 9 kg (20 lb) and 5.9 kg (13 lb), respectively. But the tracers seem to be arcing behind or in front of the aircraft. On 25 March 1971, it took an anti-aircraft artillery hit in the belly just aft of the nose gear wheel well over the Ho Chi Minh trail in Laos. In the late 1970s, when the AC-130H fleet was first being modified for in-flight refueling capability, a demonstration mission was planned and flown from Hurlburt Field, Florida, nonstop, to conduct a 2-hour live-fire mission over Empire Firing Range in the Republic of Panama, then return home. The analog fire-control computer prototype was handcrafted by RAF Wing Commander Tom Pinkerton at the USAF Avionics Laboratory at Wright-Patterson AFB. Night after night, at least one AC-130 was in the air to fulfill one or more air-support requests (ASRs). [52] The AC-130H's unit cost is US$132.4 million, and the AC-130U's cost is $190 million (fiscal 2001 dollars).[11]. The AC-130U employs technologies developed in the 1990s, which allow it to attack two targets simultaneously. [69], By September 2013, 14 MC-130W Dragon Spear aircraft have been converted to AC-130W Stinger II gunships. It is capable of delivering precision firepower or area-saturation fire over a target area over a long period of time, at night, or in adverse weather. After 36 years and seven months of service, 24 years as a gunship, Ultimate End retired from active service on 1 October 1994. When next we looked, enemy tracers were rocket­ing through the airspace where we would have been. A lone Iraqi with a Strela-2 MANPADS shot Spirit 03 down, and all 14 crew members were killed.[65]. In 2007, AFSOC initiated a program to upgrade the armament of AC-130s. If you have a couple of minutes, we'd like to collect your feedback on it. In 1970, 10 more AC-130As were acquired under the "Pave Pronto" project. In 2007, US Special Operations forces also used the AC-130 in attacks on suspected Al-Qaeda militants in Somalia. [13][95] This aircraft served in Southeast Asia from 1967 to 1972, then served in JC-130A test configuration. An AC-130 gunship approaches a tanker for aerial refueling during a combat mission over Afghanistan in April 2017. Before the turn of the decade it became clear that the aging AC-130 fleet was in low supply and exceedingly high demand. Ten Common Launch Tubes (CLTs) are mounted on the rear ramp to fire Griffin A missiles; additional missiles are stored in the aircraft that can be reloaded in flight. At this time, the C-130A gunship was designated the AC-130A. The AC-130 was also over Saigon on 30 April 1975 to protect the final evacuation in Operation Frequent Wind. Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era. Data from USAF AC-130U Fact Sheet,[96] AC-130J Fact Sheet[97]. [7] Although the AC-130U conducts some operations in daylight, most of its combat missions are conducted at night. See more ideas about gunship, ac 130 gunship, military aircraft. 54–1630, is on display in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. See if your flight has been delayed or cancelled and track the live position on a map. This commitment of maintainers and crews started in 1983 and lasted until 1990. [6], The airframe is manufactured by Lockheed Martin, while Boeing is responsible for the conversion into a gunship and for aircraft support. 93-S3040, E10630 8/93. These are now the purposely built AC-130 … The ideal operating altitude for the aircraft during combat missions was 3,000 feet above ground level. Gunships also were part of the buildup of US forces in 1998 to compel Iraq to allow UNSCOM weapons inspections. The AC-130 is a heavily armed long-endurance aircraft carrying an array of anti-ground oriented weapons that are integrated with sophisticated sensors, navigation, and fire control systems. The aircraft participated in the Vietnam War and the rescue of the SS Mayaguez. [23], In 2010, the Air Force awarded L-3 Communications a $61 million contract to add precision strike packages to eight MC-130W Combat Spear special-mission aircraft[24] to give them a gunship-like attack capability; such-equipped MC-130Ws are known as Dragon Spears. AC-130 strikes were directed by special forces on known Taliban locations during the early days of the war in Afghanistan. 69-6567, call-sign Spirit 03, opted to stay to continue to protect the Marines. This aircraft was a conversion of the first production C-130. This round is a combination of the existing PGU-25 HEI and a M758 fuze designated as FMU-151/B to meet the MIL-STD-1316. Being a turboprop, the AC-130 is slow and vulnerable. The US has used gunships with deployments to the war in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan) (2001–2014), and Iraq War (Operation Iraqi Freedom) (2003–11). The AC-130Hs of the 16th Special Operations Squadron unit maintained an ongoing rotation to Howard AB, Panama, monitoring activities in El Salvador and other Central American points of interest, with rules of engagement eventually permitting attacks on FMLN targets. Did you know that FlightAware flight tracking is supported by advertising? Ghost Rider eventually was transferred and displayed at the Aviation Wing Museum at Marietta, Georgia. AC130 Flight Tracker - Track the real-time flight status of AC 130 live using the FlightStats Global Flight Tracker. The AC-130 Spectre Gunship Still Plays a Critical Role in America’s Close Air Support Capability. These were referred to as AC-130U Plus 4 or AC-130U+4. Known for its ability to unleash a broadside of cannon fire in the dead of night, the newest of the AC-130 lot is more about smart bombs than raining lead and howitzer shells down on the enemy. A direct-view night-vision telescope was installed in the forward door, an early forward-looking infrared device was placed in the forward part of the left wheel well, with miniguns and rotary cannons fixed facing down and aft along the left side. Crews flew undercover missions from Honduras and attacked guerrilla camps and concentrations. The sensor suite consists of a television sensor, infrared sensor, and radar. "PGU-38/U 25mm Ammunition", August 1993, Alliant Techsystems, Public Release, Case No. Close air support missions include troops in contact, convoy escort and point air defense. By September 1967, the aircraft was certified ready for combat testing and was flown to Nha Trang Air Base, South Vietnam for a 90-day test program. The Spectre participated in countless operations within Afghanistan, performing on-call close air support and armed reconnaissance. The AC-130 in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Mobilized. [21] Brigadier General Bradley A. Heithold, AFSOC's director of plans, programs, requirements, and assessments, said on 11 August 2008 that the effort was canceled because of problems with the Bushmaster's accuracy in tests "at the altitude we were employing it". The AC-130 is a playable aircraft in many Call of Duty games, either as kill/scorestreaks in multiplayer or in missions in the campaigns. AC-130s from both the 4th and 16th Special Operations Squadrons have been deployed in nearly every conflict in which the United States has been involved, officially and unofficially, since the end of the Vietnam War. On 18 August 1968, an AC-130 gunship flying an armed reconnaissance mission in Vietnam's III Corps was diverted to support the Katum Special Forces Camp. All AC-130W aircraft are modified with a precision strike package to perform the gunship mission. Aircrews earned the Mackay Trophy for the most meritorious flight of the year, and the Tunner Award. The first MC-130J arrived at Eglin Air Force Base (AFB)for conversion into the AC-130J configuration in January 2013. 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 ground attack weapons that are integrated with sophisticated sensors, navigation, and fire-control systems.Unlike other modern military fixed-wing aircraft, the AC-130 relies on visual targeting. During Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada in 1983, AC-130s suppressed enemy air-defense systems and attacked ground forces enabling the assault of the Point Salines Airfield via airdrop and air-land of friendly forces. 56–0509, named the Ultimate End, was originally accepted as a C-130A by the Air Force on 28 February 1957,[citation needed] and modified to the AC-130A configuration on 27 July 1970. Register now (free) for customized features, flight alerts, and more! The AC-130U gunship set a new record for the longest sustained flight by any C-130 on 22 and 23 October 1997, when two AC-130U gunships flew 36 hours nonstop from Hurlburt Field to Taegu Air Base (Daegu), South Korea, being refueled seven times in the air by KC-135 tankers. The AC-130 aircrew earned the Lieutenant General William H. Tunner Award for the mission. Despite the threat of SAMs and increasing visibility during the early morning hours of 31 January 1991, one AC-130H, AF Serial No. Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, hostage situation at the US Embassy in Iran, National Museum of the United States Air Force, List of accidents and incidents involving the Lockheed C-130 Hercules, List of active United States military aircraft, Air Commandos retire final AC-130H Spectre gunship, https://www.af.mil/About-Us/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/104485/ac-130w-stinger-ii/, "AC-130U "Spooky" Gunship Rolls Into Retirement", "Afghan forces requested airstrike on hospital", "Air Force gets first upgraded 'Ghostrider' gunship", "A Spookier Spooky, 30 mm at a Time? Modifications began by cutting holes in the plane to make room for weapons and adding kits and bomb bases for laser-guided munitions. [28], The Air Force was also interested in acquiring a glide bomb that can be launched from the common launch tubes capable of hitting ground vehicles traveling as fast as 120 km/h (70 mph) while above 10,000 ft (3,000 m). Capable of flying faster than helicopters and at high altitudes with excellent loiter time, the use of the pylon turn allowed the AC-47 to deliver continuous, accurate fire to a single point on the ground.[13][14]. Eventually the AC-130 replaced the AC-47. Cabin of the AC-130 is non-pressurized. Versatility, reliability, and ruggedness make it the military transport of choice for more than 60 nations on six continents. It is to produce a beam of up to 120 kW, or potentially even 180–200 kW, weigh about 5,000 lb (2,300 kg), defensively destroy antiaircraft missiles, and offensively engage communications towers, boats, cars, and aircraft. Codename: Warhammer was providing air support as they searched the streets of Paris for Volk. Northrop Grumman Corpor… The Black Crow system was slaved into the targeting computers of the AC-130A/E/H, enabling the detection of the unshielded ignition coils of North Vietnamese trucks hidden under dense jungle foliage along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. On 26 February 1991, Coalition ground forces were driving the Iraqi Army out of Kuwait. [32] The first AC-130J Ghostrider was delivered to AFSOC on 29 July 2015. The AC-130U is equipped with the AN/APQ-180, a synthetic aperture radar, for long-range target detection and identification. [43] Called the Tactical Off-board Sensor (TOBS), the drones would be expendable and fly along a programmed orbit to verify targets the aircraft cannot see itself because of bad weather or standing off from air defenses. It made its series debut in Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies, and has made sporadically appearances ever since. AC-130s also had a primary role during the United States invasion of Panama (named Operation Just Cause) in 1989, when they destroyed Panama Defense Force headquarters and numerous command-and-control facilities, and provided close air support for US ground troops. Another AC-130A, AF serial no. Biography [edit | edit source]. An AC 130 Whiskey Gunship parks on the Base Operations red carpet area at Robins Air Force Base Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017. C-130 Variants: Proven Multi-Role, Multi-Mission Capabilities. She likes long walks on the beach, men who aren’t … [49] The SGM can travel 20 mi (32 km). AFSOC, however, canceled its plans to install the new cannons on its fleet of AC-130Us. In July 1979, AC-130H crews deployed to Howard Air Force Base, Panama, as a precaution against possible hostile actions against American personnel during the Nicaraguan Revolution. [38][39][40] However, laser armament may only be installed on a few aircraft rather than the entire AC-130J fleet;[41] the laser will be mounted on the side in place of the 30 mm cannon. [90][91], A second aircraft, AF serial no. During the intense fighting, the planes fired more than 1,300 40 mm and 1,200 105 mm rounds. Battle Damage! The first aircraft would be bought in fiscal 2012, followed by two in fiscal 2013, five in fiscal 2014, and the final eight in fiscal 2015. [48] Dynetics was awarded a contract to deliver an initial batch of 70 SGMs in June 2017, with plans to buy up to 1,000. On 28 January 1973, the Vietnam peace accord went into effect, marking the end of Spectre operations in Vietnam. Six AC-130s and 52 air crew members were lost during the war. [63] The AC-130 is considered to have hastened the end of the Salvadoran Civil War in the 1980s. The FMU-151 has an improved arming delay with multisensitive range.[53]. Force-protection missions include defending air bases and other facilities. It also has a 105mm howitzer that fires artillery shells which explode on impact. The pilot was able to crash land the aircraft safely. [34] The AC-130U returned from its final combat deployment on 8 July 2019;[78] the final AC-130U was retired in August 2019. 53–3129, named First Lady in November 1970. The original AC-130 Spectre, ‘Super Spooky,’ was stationed at Ubon Air Force Base the following year and conducted interdiction raids along the Ho Chi Minh trail. Vanessa Dobos is a gunner on a USAF AC-130 gunship. The AC-130 is a heavily armed, long-endurance aircraft carrying an array of antiground-oriented weapons that are integrated with sophisticated sensors, navigation, and fire-control systems. The remaining AC-130s were refitted with upgraded similar equipment in the summer of 1970, and then redeployed to Ubon RTAFB. In March 2002, three AC-130 Spectres provided 39 crucial combat missions in support of Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan. AC-130A #6 40MM Firing : Early H-Model: H-Model over Destin Note: Lack of buildings! The ground commander quickly assessed the accurate fire and capabilities of this weapons system and called for fire on his own perimeter when the Viet Cong attempted to bridge the wire on the west side of his position. In five separate runs, the gunship struck the hospital, that was erroneously identified as the source of attacks on coalition members. And the newest versions have a 25mm machine gun that can fire more than 2,000 rounds per minute. AFSOC is arming these aircraft to relieve the high operational demands on AC-130 gunships until new AC-130Js enter service. [16] The Surprise Package upgrade included the latest 20 mm rotary autocannons and 40 mm Bofors cannon, but no 7.62 mm close-support armament. On 26 November 2001, Spectres were called in to put down a rebellion at the prison fort of Qala-I-Janghi. It has since removed the guns and reinstalled the original 40 mm and 25 mm cannons and returned the planes to combat duty. 54–1626, the original prototype AC-130 named "Gunship II" is on display at the outdoor Air Park at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. [33] The first AC-130J gunships achieved initial operational capability (IOC) on 30 September 2017. This dialogue will close in 60 seconds or you can click the exit icon in the top right corner to go back to the flight map immediately. The modifications were done at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base by the Aeronautical Systems Division. Because its large profile and low operating altitudes of approximately 7,000 feet (2,100 m) make it an easy target, its close air support missions are usually flown at night. AC-130Us are based at Hurlburt Field, Florida, while AC-130Ws are based at Cannon AFB, New Mexico; gunships can be deployed worldwide. Those of us in the back held on to anything we could grab. The attacks were part of an intensification of the US-led Military intervention against ISIL called Operation Tidal Wave II (named after the original Operation Tidal Wave during World War II, a failed attempt to raid German oil fields that resulted in heavy aircraft and aircrew loss) in an attempt to cut off oil smuggling as a source of funding for the group. [92], A third AC-130A, AF serial no. The C-130 Hercules is the standard against which military transport aircraft are measured. [18][19] Regardless of their project names, the aircraft were more commonly referred to by the squadron's call sign, Spectre. The gunships attacked Iraqi positions and columns moving south to reinforce their positions north of the city. The Stinger gunships have been deployed to Afghanistan to replace the aging AC-130H aircraft and provide an example for the new AC-130J Ghostrider. Air-interdiction missions are conducted against planned targets and targets of opportunity. The Surprise Package configuration served as a test bed for the avionic systems and armament for the AC-130E. [72], On 3 October 2015, an AC-130 mistakenly attacked the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killing 42 people and injuring over 30. Rails are mounted on the outboard pylon of the wing for four Hellfire missiles, SDBs, or SDB IIs under each. This time lapse photo shows the tracer round trajectories. In June 1968, AC-130s were deployed to Tan Son Nhut AB near Saigon for support against the Tet Offensive. 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