'The most fearsome weapon' is evolving

MC-130 nwfdn Special Operations

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

COURTESY PHOTO / Northwest Florida Daily News
Published: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 10:20 AM.

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE — The first MC-130J 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.

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 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, with the ability to 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 Detachment 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.



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