The Lockheed AC-130 gunship is an aircraft ground attack and close air support (close air support (CAS)). The base of the aircraft is manufactured by Lockheed, and Boeing is responsible for the conversion gunship. This is a variant of the transport plane C-130 Hercules. This airplane has replaced the AC-47 Spooky during the Vietnam War.
This aircraft is only in service in the United States Air Force, which uses, in the 2000s, AC-130H Spectre and AC-variants 130U Spooky. It is powered by four turboprops and has an armament like the M61 Vulcan 20 mm, a 105 mm M102 howitzer and 40 mm gun Bofors L60. The replacement of 40 mm Bofors cannon and rotating cannons 25mm C-130 U by Bushmaster II 30 mm was studied from 2007 to 2011, but this renovation was not retenue2. The crew is usually twelve to thirteen men, including five officers (two pilots, a navigator, an electronic warfare officer, a fire control officer) and personnel (flight engineer, electronics specialists and gunners). AC-130 some are used for air medical evacuations.
In 2010, is announced the purchase of six AC-130J (modified C-130J) to replace the AC-130H, which together with the seventeen AC-130U service, should bring the fleet to 33 aircraft in 2013.