Defense

January 10, 2013

The most fearsome weapon is evolving

Tags:
Raquel Sanchez
Hurlburt Field, Fla.

Courtesy photograph

The first MC-130J to be converted into Air Force Special Operations Commandís newest variant of the gunship, the AC-130J Ghostrider, lands at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Jan. 3, 2013. Modifications to the airframe will be completed in ten months and will be a milestone in the recapitalization of the AC-130H/U fleet.

The first MC-130J Combat Shadow II to be converted into Air Force Special Operations Command’s newest variant of the gunship, the AC-130J Ghostrider arrived at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

Modifications to the airframe will be completed in 10 months and will be a milestone in the recapitalization of the AC-130H/U fleet.

The AC-130J Ghostrider will inherit the AC-130W Stinger II’s precision strike package, which was developed to support ground forces in overseas contingency operations.

Insurgent activity in urban environments created the need for an airframe that could deliver direct fire support to ground forces and precisely engage enemies with low-yield munitions.

“These new weapon systems and small diameter bombs will provide overwatch and further standoff distance to cover a wider range of space for our warfighters on the ground,” said Maj. Stuart Menn, U.S. Special Operations Command Det. 1 commander.

The precision strike package includes dual electro-optical infrared sensors, a 30-mm cannon, griffin missiles, all-weather synthetic aperture radar and small diameter bomb capabilities. The sensors allow the gunship to visually or electronically identify friendly ground forces and targets at any time, even in adverse weather.

“The precision strike package that is going into this aircraft is proven down range,” said Todd McGinnis, USSOCOM Det. 1 AC-130J modification manager.

Pairing weapons with a networked battle management system, enhanced communications and situational awareness upgrades the J-model’s ability to deliver surgical firepower.

“Now we get the successes of this precision strike package and marry it up with the advantages of the J-model bringing the best two C-130s together in a new weapons system,” McGinnis said.

The AC-130 primary mission is closeair support, air interdiction and armed reconnaissance.

Closeair support missions include delivering fire support to ground forces that are fighting enemies and convoy escort. Air interdiction missions are conducted against preplanned targets or targets of opportunity. These missions also include strike coordination and reconnaissance.

The AC-130 gunship has proven to be a reliable and fierce weapon system used by special operations forces since the 1960s. AC-130s had roles in operations Urgent Fury in Grenada, Just Cause in Panama, Desert Storm in Iraq, Continue Hope and United Shield in Somalia, as well as Iraqi Freedom, and Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. In each operation, AC-130s were credited with many life-saving overwatch missions.

According to the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, “AC-130 gunships have been invaluable in supporting operations against insurgent and terrorist groups in Iraq and Afghanistan. These units have therefore been in heavy demand even as a portion of the fleet approached the end of its service life.”

The AC-130J has the speed of the MC-130J, the precision strike capabilities of the AC-130W and carries forward the heritage of the AC-130H/U.

A total of 37 MC-130J prototypes will be modified as part of a $2.4 billion AC-130J program to grow the future fleet, said Capt. Andrew Reed, USSOCOM Det. 1 AC-130J on-site program manager. The first AC-130J is expected to be completed November 2013 and expected to be ready for initial flight testing by December 2013.

“This will be the most advanced gunship in the inventory,” Menn said.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines March 2, 2015

News: Israel lobbies for more missile defense funds than Obama sought - For the second consecutive year, Israeli officials have asked the U.S. Congress to add more than $300 million to President Barack Obama’s budget request for their nation’s missile-defense programs.   Business: Inside one of the most intense, and unusual, Pentagon contracting wars - The much-anticipated...
 
 

News Briefs March 2, 2015

Italy resumes Navy exercise amid new tensions over Libya The Italian Navy is resuming exercises in the Mediterranean Sea, including near the coast of Libya, amid concerns about rapidly deteriorating security in the North African nation. The exercise began March 2 and includes anti-submarine, anti-aircraft and anti-ship training operations. The exercise was suspended for a...
 
 
LM-AEHF

Ingenuity drives Lockheed’s AEHF program to production milestone early

Lockheed Martin has successfully integrated the propulsion core and payload module for the fourth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite nearly five months ahead of schedule. Reaching this critical milestone early a...
 

 

First all-electric propulsion satellites send first on-orbit signals

Two Boeing 702SP (small platform) satellites, the first all-electric propulsion satellites to launch, have sent initial signals from space, marking the first step toward ABS, based in Bermuda, and Eutelsat, based in Paris, being able to provide enhanced communication services to their customers. Whatís more, the satellites were launched as a conjoined stack on a...
 
 

GA-ASI, Sener team to offer Predator B to Spain

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. and SENER, a leading Spanish engineering company, announced March 2 that they have signed a teaming agreement that promotes the use of the multi-mission Predator B® RPA to support Spain’s airborne surveillance and reconnaissance requirements.  GAASI is a leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft systems, radars, and electro-optic and relate...
 
 
raytheon-satellite

Raytheon’s ‘Blue Marble’ imaging sensor delivered on schedule

Raytheon has delivered a second Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite instrument to support the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Joint Polar Satellite System mission. The second VIIRS unit will fly ab...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>