Ac-130J Gunships To Get Weapons Kits
Details are emerging of plans by US Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) to replace elements of their ageing AC-130 gunship fleet with new aircraft.
8 AC-130H Spectre gunships will be replaced by new AC-130J gunships with another 8 additional aircraft purchased to expand the fleet.
The AC-130J will be fitted with the modular "Precision Strike Package". This is a weapons kit which can be fitted to existing airframes such as the MC-130W flown by the Air Force. This is a similar concept to the 'Harvest Hawk' kits which can quickly convert KC-130j tankers operated by the United States Marine Corps into gunships.
The Precision Strike Packages, which are designed to be rolled on and rolled off an aircraft, features:
The modular nature of the packages mean that they can be configured per operational requirements. For example,it would be relatively simple to bolt on an additional cannon if required.
The AC-130H Spectre has been in service with the US Air Force for decades and its formidable array of guns and cannons have been used to devastating effect in Iraq and Afghanistan. The emphasis of the new breed of AFSOC gunships will be on delivery of precision guided weapons and will give the new aircraft a stand-off capability.
US DoD photo
It is believed that several MC-130W Combat Spears have been fitted with Precision Strike Packages, earning the monikers, 'Dragon Spears' in the process.
Plans to replace part of the AC-130 fleet with smaller C-27J 'Avenger' aircraft have been shelved.
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