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Why No New AC-130 Gunships?  
User currently offlineCX747 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 4454 posts, RR: 5
Posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 6608 times:

Does anybody know why the USAF doesn't buy new AC-130s now that the all round better performing J model is available? Also, are there any plans for a replacement?


"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineUsnseallt82 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 4891 posts, RR: 52
Reply 1, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 6599 times:

Quoting CX747 (Thread starter):
Does anybody know why the USAF doesn't buy new AC-130s now that the all round better performing J model is available?

Honestly? Don't really need new ones anymore.



Crye me a river
User currently offlineF4wso From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 974 posts, RR: 11
Reply 2, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 6582 times:

Cost is the only reason I can think of. The AC-130U is a very capable platform and fairly new. No need to spend reasearch and development dollars on this project when they can be better spent elsewhere.
Gary
Cottage Grove, MN, USA



Seeking an honest week's pay for an honest day's work
User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11447 posts, RR: 75
Reply 3, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 6502 times:
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The USAF has 8 AC-130H Spectre models and 15 or so AC-130U Spookys. They are currently modifying 4 ANG C-130H to the upgraded variant of Spectre.

The difference between the two is electronics and one crewman, as well as weaponry. The U models carry a 25MM gun along with the 40MM and the 105MM. The H's had 2x20mm plus the Bofors 40mm and a 105.

The new standard to which all aircraft are going to be upgraded, if they aren't already is two 30mm cannon and the 105mm. They found that with the new missions and tactics the smaller calibre weapons are not as effective.

So, they are adding more gunships, just no J models....yet. They have acknowledged the need for more gunships than what's in the pipeline, but I don't think they'll allocate J models for this mission. It would make more sense to put J models to transport work, and convert H models to the advanced Spectre mods.



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12147 posts, RR: 51
Reply 4, posted (8 years 9 months 3 hours ago) and read 6300 times:

But, it would make sense for the USMC to buy some AC-130Js. They are already buying some KC-130Js to replace their KC-130Ts.

User currently offlineSpacepope From Vatican City, joined Dec 1999, 2930 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (8 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 6261 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 4):
But, it would make sense for the USMC to buy some AC-130Js. They are already buying some KC-130Js to replace their KC-130Ts.

Howso? There is no AC-130J program now. The USMC would have to embark on a new development program for a small fleet (8-12 aircraft). They'd be better off converting KC-130Ts to AC-130T standard. This is more similar a beast to the AC-130H/U than the -J.

Any word on the tests of arming AC-130s with Hellfire missiles? There were test firings about 18 months ago, but I haven't heard anything since.



The last of the famous international playboys
User currently offlineGunships From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 574 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (8 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 6259 times:

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 5):
The USMC would have to embark on a new development program

Since the Air Force has an established gunship program already in place, it seem to me that it would be a matter of economics that would prevent the USMC from pursuing the AC-130. I dont believe that there is enough room in the financial arena these days to warrant the USMC doing the testing and approving process needed to bring a new airframe online. Not when it's already established in the USAF.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12147 posts, RR: 51
Reply 7, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 6123 times:

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 5):
Howso? There is no AC-130J program now. The USMC would have to embark on a new development program for a small fleet (8-12 aircraft). They'd be better off converting KC-130Ts to AC-130T standard. This is more similar a beast to the AC-130H/U than the -J.

Any word on the tests of arming AC-130s with Hellfire missiles? There were test firings about 18 months ago, but I haven't heard anything since.

The USAF AC-130s are in very high demand right now. The demand by the US Army, USMC, and Allied ground troops exceeds the number of airframes each day. So new production AC-130Js would make sense, even the USMC buying some of their own. Converting the KC-130Ts to AC-130Ts would not be economical. The USMC KC-130T is a C-130E airframe built to USMC specs.

No, I have not heard any more on the Hellfire tests on the AC-130. It is either a failed program (which I doubt), or it went into "black ops".


User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11447 posts, RR: 75
Reply 8, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 6121 times:
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Quoting Spacepope (Reply 5):
Any word on the tests of arming AC-130s with Hellfire missiles?

It works. Buy the latest Air Forces Monthly for an excellent piece on this subject.



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineSpacepope From Vatican City, joined Dec 1999, 2930 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 6087 times:

Quoting DL021 (Reply 8):
It works. Buy the latest Air Forces Monthly for an excellent piece on this subject

Already a subscriber. Didn't have much on the Hellfire program, but the article on specops Hercs was indeed good.



The last of the famous international playboys
User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11447 posts, RR: 75
Reply 10, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 6033 times:
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Spacepope....I just re-read that article and I must have seen the Hellfire excerpt somewhere else as it is not in there.

Sorry about that. Now I have to go find where I read about that....



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineSpacepope From Vatican City, joined Dec 1999, 2930 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 5965 times:

Last time I saw it, it was in Aviation Week before they had subscription only articles online.

Main reason why I suggested the USMC use the -T Herks is because the E and H are part of the same family, so the engineering would be similar. The J is a new family, new generation, so you would most likely have to start from scratch. Brits had a dickens of a time with their standard -J software integration. Sticking a 30mm and a 105 out the side probably wouldn't improve matters all that much.



The last of the famous international playboys
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