Unread postPosted: 19 Feb 2009, 20:44
by tank_top
I know the gunship has been used quite a bit against small numbers of enemy troops. Has it ever been tested or do they have procedures with dealing with huge numbers of enemy ground forces, say if N Korea was to attempt to invade the South? Do they have pre-programed gunning patterns with dealing with sort of situation?

RE: AC-130

Unread postPosted: 19 Feb 2009, 21:39
by Guysmiley
I sort of doubt it. AC-130s are really special-ops equipment, they're only usable in a very low threat environment.

If a million screaming North Koreans started heading south, they'd just get in the way of the artillery and MLRS TOTs... (of which there would be an a#% load)

Unread postPosted: 19 Feb 2009, 22:07
by r2d2
I happen to see the AC-130 in Transformers. Yes, it was conducting a very special operation.

BTW, I had a AC-47 Gunship plastic kit... once in a time.

RE: AC-130

Unread postPosted: 19 Feb 2009, 22:10
by LordOfBunnies
Pretty much, the AC130 operates in relatively safe environments after the air threats have been eliminated. You have to understand, it may have a howitzer, but unless you get a lucky shot against a MiG you're kinda defenseless. Not to mention those things are freaking expensive and we've only got a few (13 IIRC).

I swear the AC130 was developed with the same philosophy as the flame thrower (well I want to set someone on fire over there, but I'm too lazy to get up and do it, re: see George Carlin joke). In this case, well I'd like a howitzer but don't want to truck it out there... Ok put it in a plane and we'll call it a day.

RE: AC-130

Unread postPosted: 19 Feb 2009, 23:38
by TC
No, the AC-130 was developed because we saw the successes of the Spooky, but also saw the Spooky's shortcomings. The Spectre could truck the 105 over the Ho Chi Minh Trail and use it to blow through the triple canopy jungle, destroying not only the primary, but also secondary targets simultaneously.

The AC-130's 105 is also useful, because it can be used where ground artillery will either be inaccurate, or impractical. The ground artillery might not have around the mountain capability, but we can send the gunship out, and hit whatever is on the other side in a safe area from the ground fire.

The gunship is excellent in the arena of diminishing where the enemy can hide.

As far as an "ammunition cocktail" against a potential enemy?...Well, that's getting into the area of OPSEC. Leave it at that.

Unread postPosted: 20 Feb 2009, 03:24
by LordOfBunnies
I need to stop trying to make jokes. They're never funny or misunderstood.


George Carlin.

Unread postPosted: 20 Feb 2009, 05:41
by Prinz_Eugn
Essentially, any real invasion would have enough air defense units to make a gunship run suicide. Even basic triple-A can ruin your day at their kind of operating altitude.

Unread postPosted: 20 Feb 2009, 16:19
by Guysmiley
Since the U-boats are fully pressurized they can get up nice and high, still wouldn't want to be in one in a high threat environment. It looks like they gave up on replacing the 25mm Vulcan and 40mm Bofors with 30mm Bushmasters. Last thing I read was that it was a "for sure" thing because of how scarce parts were getting for the Bofors. Apparently the Bushmasters just wouldn't shoot straight (enough).

From the USAF Fact Sheet:
Unit Cost: AC-130H, $132.4 million; AC-130U, $190 million (fiscal 2001 constant dollars)

Yikes! I suppose a little bit of B-2 syndrome when you only build a very small number of a complex weapons system...

Unread postPosted: 24 Feb 2009, 00:52
by Gums

The USAF Reserve Spectres from here [Dike Filed] flew the first missions down in Panama during "Just Cause".

Mission was CAS, and they done real good.

Only problem they had was grunts that couldn't tell them which side of the bridge they were on, heh heh. I knew the AC of that plane and he said the nav thot the grunts were screwed up about their directions. So they fire a round a few yards off the road near the good guys and WHOA. They then proceeded to decimate the bad guys on the other end of the bridge. Same crew also took out a big MG on top of a building a few minutes later.

References upon request.

Ask any Spec Ops grunts from some remote firebases back during 'nam about how good the Spectre was. The twenties were lots better than the "deer rifle" rounds the original Spooky used.

The newer birds have very good defensive stuff for the Strela-type missiles, even Stingers, but they are still vulnerable to radar-directed AAA if it's a really big gun. And remember, the bad guy with the big gun only gets one shot. If he misses, he's toast.

Gums sends ....

Unread postPosted: 24 Feb 2009, 02:30
by TC
Gums speaks the truth. The original Spooky fired Miniguns, which shoot 7.62 NATO ammunition, aka .308 Winchester...the same round as your grandaddy's deer rifle.

Spectres, again from Duke Field were also the first in during Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada (1983). The 919th SOW was able to orbit two Spectres around the island, and lay down fire to help the AF CCTs take the runway, and for the Rangers to take St. George University Medical School.

This was also the first combat mobilization for the U.S. since Vietnam. We knew the potential of the AC-130. Apparently, the Cubans hadn't gotten the memo. Everytime they moved, the Spectres would unleash hell on them.

Unread postPosted: 30 May 2009, 23:33
And the 919th did that with AC-130A models, with fixed guns. Not the fancy trainable guns the H and U have now. However the A models are long gone, replaced several years ago by MC-130E Talon I's.

Unread postPosted: 31 May 2009, 05:46
by TC
Very true VPRGUY. In fact, on the front lawn of the AF Armament Museum at Eglin, you can see the AC-130A named "The First Lady". It was the first Herc to roll off of the line, and it was converted to an AC during Vietnam. It finally retired around 95 or so from Duke.

Unread postPosted: 31 May 2009, 18:53
That particular airplane is still very much part of the culture at Duke. One of the crew chiefs who was assigned that airplane when it first made its way to the 711th only recently retired, and is a driving force behind regular get-togethers for washes and other 'touch-up' activites that garner support both from folks still at Duke as well as a number of other retirees. There is another one of the 919th A model gunships up at the airpark at Warner Robbins, along with the initial test-bed for what later became the Talon II (among other very 'interesting' projects).

Unread postPosted: 31 May 2009, 21:19
by TC
The 919th also has one of their former birds at the AF Museum. It had flown in Nam, Grenada, Panama, and ODS

Unread postPosted: 18 Mar 2010, 05:59
by madrat
The 7.62x51 is a little bigger than your basic .308 round. I heard the real bigger problem with the miniguns was that the bullet casings piled up too fast and they came out red hot. The bofors added a real nice bang for the buck. I wonder how that 25mm does on the -U model. I still get queasy thinking about the 105 and its double edge in operations. That size of gun sticking out the side of a plane ain't safe.

Unread postPosted: 30 Mar 2010, 13:25
by fasteagle
Video footage of Spookys in 'Nam is some of the most impressive video to come out of combat anywhere - streams, no, rivers of tracer by night.

Unread postPosted: 01 May 2010, 09:47
by eliteprivatepilot
As awesome as the AC-130 is, it is really only meant to be put in low threat zone. If North Korea were to send a bunch of ground troops to invade South Korea, the area would be too hot and dangerous for an AC-130 mission to be practical. With ground forces that strong, anti-air is inevitable.

If we went in, stealth bombers and fighters would be operational way before they send in the Spectre.

Unread postPosted: 01 May 2010, 18:41
by FDiron
AC-130 is extremely vulnerable. During the first Gulf War, an AC-130 was providing support for advancing U.S. troops and was shot down by a shoulder fired missle. The entire crew was lost.

There are videos on YouTube of an AC-130 attacking terrorists in Afghanistan. You can see the thermal imaging that the crew uses.

One advantage an AC-130 has over other aircraft though is less chance of friendly fire.