Internationale gunship ontwikkelingen

Gestart door andré herc, 20/02/2011 | 23:13 uur


USAF AC-130J Ghostrider gunship strikes Iranian-backed militants following missile attack

A U.S. Air Force AC-130J Ghostrider attacked an Iran-backed militant group after the group used a ballistic missile to attack U.S. and coalition forces on Al-Asad Airbase, Iraq, the deputy Pentagon press secretary said on November 21 quoted by C. Todd Lopez.

The ballistic missile attack resulted in non-serious injuries to U.S. and coalition forces, as well as minor damage to infrastructure on the installation, said Sabrina Singh during a briefing at the Pentagon. "Immediately following the attack, a U.S. military AC-130 aircraft in the area conducted a self-defense strike against an Iranian-backed militia vehicle and a number of Iranian-backed militia personnel involved in this attack," she said. "This self-defense strike resulted in some hostile fatalities."

Singh said the AC-130J gunship was able to mount a response so quickly because it was already in the air at the time of the missile attack. "We were able to identify the point of origin of these attacks because an AC-130 was up already in the area and therefore was able to respond," Singh said. "They were able to take action because they saw the militants. They were able to keep an eye on the movement of these militants as they moved into their vehicles and that's why they were able to respond."

Since Oct. 17, U.S. forces have been attacked 66 times in both Iraq and Syria, said Singh. She also said this is the first time a ballistic missile similar to the one used in this attack has been employed.

Since the start of those attacks in October, the U.S. has mounted three other strikes, Singh said. But those strikes were pre-planned and targeted specific facilities and infrastructure known to be used by militias affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. This most recent U.S. response was different in that it was unplanned. "These groups have targeted our forces both Iraq and Syria," Singh said. "We feel right now that we've taken appropriate action to decimate some of their facilities and some of their weapons ... We always reserve the right to respond at a time and place of our choosing."


AC-130 Laser Weapon Test Slip Raises Questions About Its Future

The future of a laser-armed AC-130J is increasingly uncertain and a broader review of the Ghostrider's armament package is in progress.

Planned flight testing of a high-energy laser directed energy weapon on a U.S. Air Force AC-130J Ghostrider gunship has been pushed back again to next year. This once looked set to be the service's first operational airborne laser weapon. However, the future of this project is ever more uncertain and there is now a broader review of the Ghostrider's armament suite that could see the aircraft lose their 105mm howitzers in the future.

Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) has confirmed to The War Zone that flight tests of the Airborne High Energy Laser (AHEL) on the AC-130J are now set to start in January 2024 and wrap up in June of that year. The goal had originally been for the AHEL to take to the sky on a Ghostrider sometime in the 2022 Fiscal Year. Most recently, the hope had been that this would occur before the end of this year.



US AFSOC considers swapping 105mm cannon for cruise missiles on AC-130J Ghostrider gunships

The French Air and Space Force is considering equipping the C-130H Hercules of the 3/61 Poitou squadron with a fire support capability for special operations, which would essentially turn them into a kind of gunship.

Meanwhile, the US Air Force is currently working on modifying the armament of its AC-130J Ghostrider gunships, as reported by Laurent Lagneau in Opex 360, echoing a story published in Defense News.



How Pilots Train To Fly The $165 Million AC-130J Ghostrider Gunship

The AC-130J Ghostrider gunship is the newest version of the historic AC-130 aircraft. which dates back to the Vietnam War. Unlike C-130s that are meant to carry cargo and troops, the AC-130, the attack variant. It's retrofitted with a precision weapons package and is able to aid in missions like close air support, air interdiction, and armed reconnaissance.
Insider visited Cannon Air Force Base in Clovis, New Mexico to learn more about the AC-130J and meet the pilots and crews that are being trained to fly it.


AC-130J Ghostrider Could Get Huge Upgrade From AESA Radar

An active electronically scanned array radar would allow AC-130Js to independently engage targets in any weather and at greater distances.

The U.S. Air Force plans to test an AC-130J Ghostrider gunship equipped with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. Adding an AESA would give these aircraft a valuable tool for spotting, tracking, and engaging targets, especially in bad weather and at extended ranges. The radar could perform more general intelligence-gathering and provide improved situational awareness, along with other functions, as well.

The forthcoming AC-130 AESA testing was highlighted during a briefing last week by members of U.S. Special Operations Command's (SOCOM) Program Executive Office for Fixed Wing aircraft (PEO-FW), which The War Zone, among others, attended. That event was held as part of an annual special operations-focused conference now called SOF Week.

"We have a tech demo coming up, where we've got a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement [CRADA] to do an AESA radar on an AC-130 gunship," one of the representatives from PEO-FW said. The testing will help SOCOM "see what capabilities that can help us bring to the fight."


voor het gehele artikel zie link


AC-130J Gunship Unleashes Hell On South Korean Island

The AC-130J?s deployment to South Korea, part of exercise Teak Knife, is the first time a Ghostrider model of the gunship has operated there.

We recently got an unusually detailed look at a USAF AC-130J Ghostrider gunship using much of its diverse arsenal from a recent military exercise in South Korea. The deployment of the AC-130 ? which is as much a arsenal ship as a gunship these days ? constituted the first time a 'Ghostride' J model, the most recent AC-130 to enter USAF service, has ever gone to that country.

The footage of the AC-130J, which has the tail number ?5852? and is operated by the 4th Special Operations Squadron, part of the 1st Special Operations Wing based at Hurlburt Field, Florida, was captured as part of a month-long U.S.-South Korean exercise. The drill started in early February and is expected to wrap up sometime in early March. The video itself was released by the Republic of Korea?s Joint Chiefs of Staff. 


Voor extra foto's en het gehele artikel zie onderstaande link


Italian Air Force to deploy MC-27J Praetorian by 2030

The Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare Italiana: AMI) has confirmed to Janes that it will deploy the Leonardo MC-27J Praetorian special operations aircraft by 2030.

Speaking to Janes on 27 January, a spokesperson of the press office of the AMI said that the development and serialisation of the Praetorian roll-on/roll-off palletised mission system is scheduled to be completed by 2030.

The AMI's 12 C-27J tactical transport aircraft will continue to perform their passenger/cargo role in addition to new special operations roles (including tactical control; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; and communication, command, and control). As a result the service will not procure additional C-27J tactical transport aircraft, the spokesperson said.

In early December 2021, the Italian Defence Staff pointed out during a parliamentary session of its defence committee that at least four Praetorian systems will be developed during three phases, between 2021 and 2030.


Upgraded 105mm Gun Aircraft Unit for the AC-130 delivered to the US Air Force

Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) engineers designed, developed and delivered an upgraded 105mm Gun Aircraft Unit (GAU) specifically made with the AC-130 gunship in mind.

The 105mm GAU allows warfighters on the ground to complete their missions more effectively and safely while the AC-130 provides close air support, air interdiction and force protection.

The new weapon replaces the former gun system and positively impacts the warfighters' ability to operate and maintain the system in the field.

"This has become a much more reliable system with less maintenance," said Matthew Buckler, NSWCDD Battle Management System (BMS) Gun Weapons System lead mechanical engineer. "If we can get a system that's more reliable, that's more repeatable, that works and that allows the warfighter to complete their mission every time – that's a huge benefit for the warfighter."

From the start of the design effort, the Dahlgren engineers behind the 105 mm gun worked directly with the warfighter to get real-time feedback from experienced gunners and technicians.

Engineers on the GAU project traveled to Air Force bases Wright-Patterson, Robins, Eglin, Hurlburt Field and Cannon throughout development for testing and direct collaboration with the warfighter. Gunners and technicians also came to Dahlgren to provide insight on the hardware's performance after testing.

"Personally, this is the most rewarding work I've done in my engineering career hands down," said Gregory Fish, NSWCDD's GAU lead analyst. "It's a fantastic place to work – incredible sense of accomplishment and achievement. And when we get the debriefs of what the weapon effectiveness is out in the field, it makes you feel like you've done something that makes a difference because these [GAU's] are literally the tip of the spear."

The previous iteration of the AC-130's 105mm gun system comprised the M102 Howitzer and M137A1 recoil mechanism, which are no longer supported by the Army, meaning that an upgrade was necessary due to obsolescence and advancements in technologies since the original recoil mechanism was designed.

The upgrades to the 105mm GAU are sweeping, however, the engineers at Dahlgren were careful to ensure that the functionality, accuracy and usability of the weapon remain largely the same.

Throughout the iterative design process, Buckler said the team encountered challenging yet navigable obstacles and tackled each issue as it came.

"We've described [the development process] as peeling back an onion," said Buckler. "You get the most immediate issue and solve that one. Then when you solve that one, something else becomes more important and you kind of just keep peeling it back until you've essentially solved all of your major issues and you can live with whatever the maintenance interval may be."

When a weapon fires thousands of rounds and its recoil accelerates to 350G's, or 350 times the force of gravity, maintenance is a natural consequence of operation. The engineers that led the GAU development also oversee the maintenance training to the warfighters.

The AC-130J Ghostrider's primary missions are close air support, air interdiction and armed reconnaissance. Close air support missions include troops in contact, convoy escort and point air defense. Air interdiction missions are conducted against pre-planned targets or targets of opportunity and include strike coordination and reconnaissance and overwatch mission sets. The AC-130J provides ground forces an expeditionary, direct-fire platform that is persistent, ideally suited for urban operations and delivers precision low-yield munitions against ground targets.


A fighter without a gun . . . is like an airplane without a wing.

-- Brigadier General Robin Olds, USAF.


Wat meer info en foto's van deze ''nieuwe'' C-295 variant:


Misschien is de C-295 wel iets voor Belgie met hun STOL plannen als SOF ondersteuning. Niet alleen transport maar ook vuursteun voor de SOF en op een relatief klein toestel.


Airbus trials armed C295 gunship for persistent CAS

29 JUNE 2021

by Gareth Jennings

Airbus has flown an upgraded version of its armed C295 gunship that has been developed to provide persistent close air support (CAS).

The C295 Armed ISR has recently conducted flight trials. (Airbus)

The company announced on 20 June that the C295 Armed ISR, as the version is named, recently conducted flight trials with eight laser-guided missiles and two laser-guided bombs dummies, located on four underwing hardpoints. These initial trials were designed to validate the aircraft's mechanical and aerodynamic characteristics when fitted with such a weapons load.

"With the quality and safety of the modification ensured by Airbus as original equipment manufacturer, the C295 Armed ISR provides persistent surveillance with a diverse set of weapons for defensive and attack capabilities," the company said, adding that it can carry out special operations missions, support ground troops, and neutralise targets detected during surveillance and patrol missions, and has a long endurance.

As noted by Airbus, the company signed a series of agreements with air-to-surface weapon suppliers at the Dubai Airshow 2017 to equip the C295. These agreements included a memorandum of understanding with Roketsan of Turkey and similar arrangements have been signed with Expal, Escribano and Equipaer of Spain, as well as Rheinmetall of Germany, and the US suppliers Nobles Worldwide and US Ordnance.

"Equipped with the last generation FITS [Fully Integrated Tactical System], the C295 Armed ISR incorporates different weaponry options available in kits that allow the operator to select the most appropriate option for their requirements: from machine guns, 27 mm autocannon, guided and unguided rockets, laser-guided missiles to laser guided bombs," Airbus said.

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A fighter without a gun . . . is like an airplane without a wing.

-- Brigadier General Robin Olds, USAF.


USMC seeks BLOS upgrade for Harvest HAWK gunships

The US Marine Corps (USMC) is looking to upgrade the Harvest Hercules Airborne Weapons Kit (HAWK) mission package for its Lockheed Martin KC-130J tanker-transport aircraft with a beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) capability.

The request for information (RFI), issued by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) on 19 May, covers the design, manufacture, test, integration, and installation of a new Harvest HAWK Plus (HH+) BLOS standard.

"The BLOS upgrade addresses the void of battlespace commanders' situational awareness by providing full-motion video and enhanced communications capability within the HH+ Mission Operator Pallet (MOP) via hardware and [Sierra Nevada Corporation] Burma software modifications," the RFI said, noting that responses are due by 17:00 EST on 30 May.

Originally developed to fulfil an urgent operational requirement in Afghanistan, the Harvest HAWK conversion programme equipped the KC-130J with a roll-on/roll-off, dual-screen, fire-control console mounted in a removable cargo platform in the aircraft's cargo compartment, a Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control AN/AAQ-30 Target Sight Sensor mounted under the port-side wing fuel tank, and a Common Data Link. The aircraft's weapons fit comprises four AGM-114P Hellfire II laser-guided, air-to-surface missiles mounted on the port-side refuelling pylon, and MBDA GBU-44/E Viper Strike and Raytheon Griffin A air-to-surface missiles launched from a ramp-mounted 10-round rack and a pressurised dispenser dubbed the 'Derringer Door'. A sideways-firing Mk 44 30 mm cannon has been deferred to a later Block III upgrade set to be implemented from fiscal year 2023.

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An airman poses next to the operational 'kill' markings stencilled onto the fuselage of a Harvest HAWK in Afghanistan during the war fighting stage of the conflict, giving an indication of the type's work rate in the CAS role. The USMC is now looking to enhance the aircraft's capability with a BLOS capability.
A fighter without a gun . . . is like an airplane without a wing.

-- Brigadier General Robin Olds, USAF.


US trials Stinger II gunships in anti-surface warfare role   
( Krijgen we straks P-8 update met een GAU-23 Bushmaster 30 mm kanon ? ..  :hrmph:  tegen oppervlakte doelen ? )

The US military is trialling the use of the Lockheed Martin AC-130W Stinger II gunship in the anti-surface warfare (ASuW) role in the Middle East.

The Department of Defense (DoD) announced on 15 March that US Navy (USN) Cyclone-class patrol coastal ships (PC) and Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime multimission aircraft (MMA) assigned to US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) had conducted "a first-of-its-kind" joint exercise with US Air Force (USAF) AC-130W gunships assigned to Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT) on 8 and 9 March.

According to the DoD, the exercises were designed to enhance the capabilities of US forces to respond to surface threats and involved P-8 aircraft performing long-range reconnaissance ahead of PCs selecting simulated surface targets for the AC-130W to engage.

"This exercise mark[ed] the first time these assets ha[d] been integrated in direct support of maritime security operations in the Arabian Gulf," the DoD said.

The AC-130W Stinger II (formerly known as Dragon Spear) is a gunship-variant of the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft and is flown by the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). It is armed with a GAU-23 Bushmaster 30 mm cannon, a 105 mm gun, and stand-off precision-guided munitions such as the Boeing GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) and Raytheon's AGM-176A Griffin missile. AFSOC has 12 such aircraft in its inventory, flying alongside C-130-gunship variants such as the AC-130J Ghostrider.

These joint exercises are in support of the USN's Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 50/Combined Task Force (CTF) 55, which conducts maritime security operations in support of regional security and stability in the 5th Fleet's area of responsibility (AoR) that encompasses about 6.5 million km 2 across the Gulf, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, and parts of the Indian Ocean.


US Navy Surface Forces and AC-130W Gunships Conduct Joint Operations in Arabian Gulf

U.S. Navy Cyclone-class patrol coastal ships (PC) and P-8A Poseidon aircraft assigned to U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) conducted a first of its kind joint exercise with AC-130W Stinger II gunships assigned to Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT), March 8 and 9.

The exercise, which is designed to enhance the capabilities of U.S. forces to respond to surface threats, involved U.S. Navy P-8 aircraft performing long range reconnaissance and PCs selecting simulated surface targets for the AC-130W to engage.

"Our surface forces integrating with aircraft that have the firepower of an AC-130W brings a capability to the joint force that profoundly enhances our lethality in the maritime environment. The addition of the Gunship to the joint maritime battle significantly enhances our ability to detect, track, engage and defeat surface threats in order to control water space in the Arabian Gulf," said Capt. Peter Mirisola, Commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 50/Commander, Combined Task Force (CTF) 55. "The effectiveness of this joint capability to conduct maritime strike, reconnaissance and armed overwatch was clearly displayed during this live-fire event."

The AC-130W is employed in multiple theaters using 30mm, 105mm, and precision guided munitions to execute close air support and air interdiction missions. This exercise marks the first time these assets have been integrated in direct support of maritime security operations in the Arabian Gulf.

While this is the first integration of the AC-130W in this capacity, similar integration operations with Special Operations assets were conducted in the Gulf between U.S. Naval Forces and MH-6M Little Bird helicopters during Operation Earnest Will from 1987 to 1988.

"We've effectively employed similar joint capabilities in the past to counter belligerent forces that attempt to disrupt or hinder the free flow of commerce and freedom of navigation in this region using force, or attack U.S., coalition, or partner forces in a conflict," said Vice Adm. Jim Malloy, commander, NAVCENT. "We will continue to work across component commands and coalition partners to further improve the lethality of our forces through our ability to simultaneously engage a multitude of threats in the Arabian Gulf, Red Sea and adjacent waters."