Friday, September 21, 2012

New and Different

From the Usual USAF Source...
MC-27J concept
Spooky Even in Daylight: AC-130 gunships recently began daylight missions for the first time, providing fire support to coalition ground forces in Afghanistan thanks to a new high-definition sensor suite, said Air Force Special Operations Command boss Lt. Gen. Eric Fiel. "We have not flown gunships during the day before, but they are currently flying during the day" there, said Fiel during the four-star forum at AFA's Air & Space Conference outside of Washington, D.C., on Sept. 19. The sensors "allow us a longer standoff range, which caused a little problem since the weapons can't engage targets at that range," he said, noting that AFSOC is working to fix that. AFSOC has also integrated small diameter bombs onto AC-130W gunships, providing standoff precision attack capability. Stinger gunships in Afghanistan currently carry eight SDBs—four under each wing—as well as "internal precision-guided munitions," detailed Fiel. Next month, AFSOC plans to test Hellfire air-to-ground missiles on the AC-130, he said.
That's pretty interesting.  We're used to seeing Cannon's C-130s (of one stripe or another) orbiting the night skies over P-Ville but see them only rarely during daylight hours... so perhaps that'll change in the near future.  It's the highlighted bits in the blurb above that got my attention, though.  I was under the impression that the Stinger gunship proposal was dead, yet here's the head of AFSOC talking about Stingers carrying the SDB in Afghanistan.  What's up with that, I wonder?


  1. Well, like the linked art. points out, we're running out of useful life on C-130 airframes, so we're desperate...not that anybody could see this coming or anything..

    1. Yeah, but AFSOC is buying new J-model Herky Birds. We got our first one at Cannon a lil while back. The reason I was taken aback about the Stingers is I've read elsewhere that Big Air Force shut down all C-27 ops, supposedly everywhere, and wants to get rid of the things to save money. The I read that there are c-27 gunships flying in The AF? WTF, over?

  2. PS{ Buck, I've mentioned once that I left a comment for you back at the SOF post--I'd REALLY like your opinion on my "worst bases" bit, i.e., "Don't shoot 'em, CHANUTE-em."

  3. Lest we forget - "Spirit 03 and the Battle for Khafji
    January 29-31, 1991"

    there are probably a few functioning Stingers in Afghanistan

    the last time a gunship flew into a firefight in daylight, it didn´t come home. That crew paid the price

    Phil, MSGT, USAF Ret - (1 SOW 1989 - 1992)

    1. Thanks for the link, Phil. I'm aware of Spirit 03 and the sacrifices the crew made at Khafji. I hope AFSOC has developed daylight tactics to take into account the MANPAD threat.

  4. don´t know if tactics would help. It´s awful hard to hide a c-130 in a left pylon turn in the daylight.



Just be polite... that's all I ask.