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AC-130U completes final combat deployment

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posted on Jul, 10 2019 @ 06:17 PM
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Two AC-130U Spooky gunships belonging to the 4th Special Operations Squadron returned to Hurlburt Field July 8th. What marks this return as special is that it marks the final combat deployment of the U model gunship. Aircraft have been constantly deployed from the unit since 2001. The J model with Block 30 software has arrived at the base, and will replace the U models. Their first deployment is scheduled for sometime late this year or early next year. They will keep U models on alert in case the J model has any problems down range.

The J model weapon systems include a 105mm gun, a 30mm, 250 lb Small Diameter Bombs, and Hellfire missiles. The Block 30 includes improved sensors and connectivity to outside systems.


The AC-130U gunship has completed its final combat deployment.

The U.S. Air Force said its AC-130U, known as the "Spooky," has returned stateside from its last scheduled deployment.

The last U-model arrived home to the 1st Special Operations Wing under Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field, Florida, on July 8, according to a service news release.

The 1st SOW said the Spooky will remain on alert in case troops need it for strike or overwatch downrange. But its return comes as the command gets ready to deploy the Spooky's follow-on model, the AC-130J Ghostrider.

The 4th Special Operations Squadron, part of the 1st SOW at the base, received its first upgraded J-model in March. While the command has had and operated the J-model since 2017, officials touted AFSOC's first plane with the Block 30 software upgrade. The improved Ghostrider arrived this spring.

www.military.com...




posted on Jul, 10 2019 @ 06:34 PM
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Strange to think some aircraft will have a longer life than most people.



Better taken care of I guess



posted on Jul, 10 2019 @ 06:38 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58
Nice to see they kept the 105 gun on the J model, I was thinking they might ditch it. I am a little surprised though that they haven't fitted 2.75" rockets such as APKWS or any of those offshoot guided derivatives. They pack a mean but very precise punch which is good when avoiding collateral damage, range is pretty decent too and they are a very cheap guided weapon. I wold think it a good compliment to the SDB and Hellfire, and a step up from the 30mm which is a bit more of an area effects weapon like the 105.



posted on Jul, 10 2019 @ 06:44 PM
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a reply to: thebozeian

They did initially remove the 105 from the first J models. AFSOC objected to it so strenuously that it was put back on. They claim the 30mm is similar to a sniper rifle in accuracy, but they had some problems with the mount wandering.



posted on Jul, 10 2019 @ 06:45 PM
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a reply to: mikell

The B-52 is coming up to the fourth generation of some crew members families flying on them.



posted on Jul, 10 2019 @ 06:52 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58
Yes I recall the debate over the 105 and remember now you mention it, the problems with the 30mm. I'm sure like previous iterations of the AC-130 there will be changes over time as better sensors and weapons are developed.

Slightly unrelated Zaph, do you know if the new 8 blade prop being fitted to the H models would also be quieter than the J's 6 bladed type? If so the drop in noise would be useful for an AC-130, might help marginally with performance too. I believe the cockpit noise drop in retrofitted H's is something like 15db, there are also gains in flight characteristics I hear.



posted on Jul, 10 2019 @ 07:10 PM
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a reply to: thebozeian

I'm not sure what the noise levels are in the J model, but they've used noise cancelling headsets for several years now to combat the noise levels. The H model with the four blade props see a noise level around 112dB, as well as the vibration from the prop. The new props will have a digital control unit, and improved synchrophasers, which will see a vibration reduction as well as a noise reduction, improved fuel burn and performance.



posted on Jul, 11 2019 @ 03:06 AM
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Im waiting for Pew Pews...



posted on Jul, 11 2019 @ 04:55 AM
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Another one of my most favorite aircraft, the C-130, especially when outfitted as a gunship.

I don't know what it is, but of all the aircraft I've flown personally, flown in/on or even just observed, the turboprop is by far my hands-down favorite. If I had to rank my favorite aircraft of all time it would probably go something like this...

1. Beechcraft King Air C90
2. Lockheed C-130
3. Cessna 208 Caravan (would seriously consider donating a body part for one with floats!!)
4. Pilatus PC-6 Porter / Pilatus PC-12 (tie)



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