Spooky gunship armed with new cannons

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Trip_Wire, Feb 2, 2007.

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  1. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP



    Spooky gunship armed with new cannons

    Tech. Sgt. Ben Filek and Master Sgt. Chris Jette look over a newly-installed 30 mm Bushmaster cannon aboard an AC-130U Spooky gunship Jan. 26 at Hurlburt Field, Fla. Sergeant Filek is an aerial gunner with the 19th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field. Sergeant Jette, also an aerial gunner, is with the 1st Special Operations Group standardization/evaluation section at Hurlburt Field. The 30 mm gun will eventually replace both the 40 mm cannon and 25 mm gun on U-model gunships.

    by Chief Master Sgt. Gary Emery
    Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs

    2/1/2007 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. (AFNEWS) -- Spooky is about to get a little scarier.

    Crews at Hurlburt Field have put the finishing touches on the first AC-130U Spooky gunship armed with the 30 mm Bushmaster cannon. The rearmed Spooky retains its 105 mm cannon but replaces the 25 mm and 40 mm guns with Bushmasters.

    The project is a "win-win," according to Air Force Special Operations Command officials -- unless you're one of the bad guys.

    "We're buying increased lethality and accuracy at the same time we're improving reliability," said Lt. Col. Mike Gottstine, AFSOC's chief of strike/intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance requirements, "The bottom line is we'll have more gunships available for the warfighter on a day-to-day basis."

    The aging 40 mm Bofors cannon, which has been around in various guises since World War II, is increasingly hard to maintain, Colonel Gottstine said, and there is no production line set up to replace shrinking ammunition stocks. While the 25 mm gun is newer, he said, "it is a maintenance hog as far as the amount of money and time we spend maintaining the ammo handling system." In addition, because no other Air Force aircraft use the 25 mm cannon, no one is working on developing new types of ammunition that could be effective for gunship operations, he said.

    The Bushmaster cannon, on the other hand, will arm the Marine Corps' new amphibious assault vehicle, is installed on some Navy ships and is being looked at for uses in other capacities. Because of that, "the services are developing a lot of variations of 30 mm ammo," Colonel Gottstine said. "Different types of ammo will allow us to perform different missions or maybe give us some options to prosecute our targets differently."

    The 25 mm cannon was originally installed in gunships as a suppression weapon to keep enemy troops pinned down so they could not move or shoot, said Paul Brousseau, AFSOC AC-130U requirements contractor support. However, the 25 mm has no air burst capability, which is often preferable for suppression fire, he said. "The Marine Corps is looking at a 30 mm airburst round that could possibly be a good capability for us sometime in the future," he said.

    The new cannon fires 200 rounds a minute, faster than the 40 mm and a bit slower than the 25 mm guns it replaces, Colonel Gottstine said. "The 25 mm throws a lot of lead down but it scatters it more than the 30 mm will. We're expecting increased lethality and increased accuracy with this weapon," he said. "Hits are what counts."

    Gunners from the 1st Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field are ready to put their new weapon to the test.

    "It's going to be fun, it's going to be interesting," said Master Sgt. Chris Jette, an aerial gunner with 1st Special Operations Group standardization/evaluation. "Overall, we don't know what the round actually does from our platform until they do the testing, but it looks like it's going to be good."

    "I'm impressed with how easy it is to work on," said Tech. Sgt. Ben Lerman, an aerial gunner with the 4th Special Operations Squadron. "Hopefully, it will make our job as gunners easier. Commonality between the (forward and rear guns) means we will have interchangeability of parts so we can fix them in the air."

    The ability to perform repairs while airborne is important, Sergeant Jette said.

    "We can actually troubleshoot and repair the front gun where, with the 25 mm, once it breaks we can't do anything to it," he said.

    The 30 mm-armed AC-130U will undergo flight testing through May. It should be declared operational and in the hands of "U-boat" crews from the 4th SOS in July, Mr. Brousseau said. Three more modified U-model gunships will join the fleet by December 2007, he said.

    The rest of the fleet will be modified as funding is available, with installation probably in the mid-2009 time frame, he said. The fleetwide modification should be complete by fiscal 2010, he said.

    The desired goal is to eventually install the 30 mm cannons on AFSOC's AC-130H Spectre fleet as well, Colonel Gottstine said.
  2. Am I the only one who gets a stiffy looking at these things?
  3. i think you need to get yourself down the pub.
  4. I thought this stuff was meant to be like, "classified".
    If it's fitted to an aircraft might as well show everybody how clever we are, eh.
  5. I have heard that our American cousins are looking at integrating a GAU-8 (i think!): the 30mm cannon from the A-10 and a 155mm howitzer on an unspecified airframe - that would be impressive if it comes to pass!
  6. is it me or does other people think that is a bad idea, we already having probs with trigger happy pilot who couldnt find any iraqi tanks so hit ours do they need bigger guns??
  7. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP

    I don't think that way at all, not to many Tanks on the side of our enemies, currantly. Nor are we using a lot of tanks in Afganistan.

    If I need CAS, I would love to have one of theses babies on station! :thumright:
  8. Nehustan

    Nehustan On ROPs

    By the way Trip what are the pilot's RoE, or is that classified?
  9. If it runs, it's VC

    If it doesn't run, it's well disciplined VC.
  10. Shouldn't that be:
    if it runs, its al quaeda
    f it doesn't run, its well disciplined al quaeda!
  11. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP

  12. Nehustan

    Nehustan On ROPs

  13. diffrent types of ammo willllow the gunship to perform diffrent types of mission?
    I thought its hole point was to fly round and round and hose down anybody who A) isn't american
    B) does'nt have any air defence assets
  14. I can't imagine them fitting GAU-8 into a Spooky as when fired from an A-10 its recoil actually slows the Tankbuster down, imagine what it would do fired out of the side of a C-130! :pale:
  15. Gremlin

    Gremlin LE Good Egg (charities)

    Ever seen a knight move round the chess board? :)