CX747
Topic Author
Posts: 5579
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 2:54 am

Why No New AC-130 Gunships?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 9:51 am

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
 
usnseallt82
Posts: 4727
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2004 4:49 pm

RE: Why No New AC-130 Gunships?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 10:27 am

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
 
f4wso
Posts: 942
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2003 1:58 pm

RE: Why No New AC-130 Gunships?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 11:52 am

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
 
dl021
Posts: 10836
Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 12:04 pm

RE: Why No New AC-130 Gunships?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 11:00 pm

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 avatar
kc135topboom
Posts: 11006
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:26 am

RE: Why No New AC-130 Gunships?

Mon Dec 26, 2005 3:32 am

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.
 
Spacepope
Posts: 3174
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 1999 11:10 am

RE: Why No New AC-130 Gunships?

Mon Dec 26, 2005 11:22 am

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
 
Gunships
Posts: 555
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2001 11:32 am

RE: Why No New AC-130 Gunships?

Mon Dec 26, 2005 11:34 am

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 avatar
kc135topboom
Posts: 11006
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:26 am

RE: Why No New AC-130 Gunships?

Thu Dec 29, 2005 2:34 am

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".
 
dl021
Posts: 10836
Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 12:04 pm

RE: Why No New AC-130 Gunships?

Thu Dec 29, 2005 2:40 am

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?
 
Spacepope
Posts: 3174
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 1999 11:10 am

RE: Why No New AC-130 Gunships?

Thu Dec 29, 2005 10:18 am

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
 
dl021
Posts: 10836
Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 12:04 pm

RE: Why No New AC-130 Gunships?

Fri Dec 30, 2005 2:09 am

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?
 
Spacepope
Posts: 3174
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 1999 11:10 am

RE: Why No New AC-130 Gunships?

Fri Dec 30, 2005 10:06 am

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

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: zaphod42 and 6 guests