Internationale gunship ontwikkelingen

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


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."


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

-- Brigadier General Robin Olds, USAF.


Indonesia develops gunship variant of CN-235 aircraft

Key Points
•PT Dirgantara has confirmed plans to market a gunship variant of the CN-235 turboprop aircraft
•Work on a demonstrator platform is currently under way, and the company aims for its first flight in 2019

Indonesian state-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara (PTDI) has begun work on a gunship variant of the CN-235 twin-engine multipurpose aircraft, the company has confirmed to Jane's .

The aircraft, which is based on the company's CN-235-220 airframe, is being developed as a demonstrator platform, and will be marketed to potential customers in the Middle Eastern, African, and Central and Southeast Asian regions, said the company.

The aircraft is being modified to carry one single-barrelled 30 mm DEFA 553 aircraft cannon on the portside aft of its fuselage. The weapon has been salvaged from a retired Douglas A-4H Skyhawk that was formerly in service with the Indonesian Air Force (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Udara: TNI-AU).

The DEFA 553 cannon has a muzzle velocity of 810 m/s, and can fire up to 1,200 rds/min at both air and surface targets. There are also plans to complement this weapon with electro-optical targeting systems and a laser designator. However, the company has yet to decide on systems that will be selected for these roles on the demonstrator.

Other differences that the gunship demonstrator will feature over earlier versions of PTDI's CN-235 include using General Electric (GE) CT7-9 turboprop engines, instead of the older CT7-7. The aircraft has also been built with wingtip devices to improve the aircraft's overall fuel efficiency.


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

-- Brigadier General Robin Olds, USAF.


USAF to declare IOC for AC-130J this month

The commander of U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command disclosed that the service will declare Initial Operating Capability for its newest gunship – AC-130J – later this month.

But the aircraft will not be going into combat anytime soon as the command is lagging behind in training operators for the new variant. Lt. Gen. Marshall Webb says two more years are required before sending it to combat.

Air Force's Newest Gunship, AC-130J Ghostrider, Is Almost Ready for Combat

Algemene info :



Flight Tests for Laser-Equipped AC-130 Expected in FY18

Air Force Special Operations Command is "months to maybe a year out" from flight testing a directed energy weapon aboard an AC-130 gunship, its leader said March 3.

Feedback from initial tests of the capability at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, have allowed the command move forward with a proof of concept phase, said Lt. Gen. Marshall "Brad" Webb at the Air Force Association's annual Air Warfare Symposium.

The White Sands tests showed that a low kilowatt laser could be controlled and aimed. Next, "We will take the next step of upping the kilowattage and go from there," he said.

Special Operation Command's program executive office fixed wing has been working to outfit an AC-130J Ghostrider with a laser. Its stated goal is to equip an aircraft with a directed energy weapon by the end of the decade. SOCOM officials have previously discussed the possibility of outfitting an AH-64 Apache helicopter with a laser weapon, and analysts have noted it could also potentially be mounted on an MH-60 Black Hawk.

The command continues to perform tests to see where it could place a laser weapon on the gunship, Webb said.

"There are multiple options that we got to play out," he said. The possibility of placing the weapon in a gunport, or having it support the existing gunships, are options the service is exploring, he added.

"That's what we want to get to: Where does it make sense? What mix of weapons could you go with or should it go with?" he said.

But the command remains short on funding, Webb said.

"We have funding to do the first steps. Over the course of what we want to do with the program, we're still short money-wise, but I am confident ... we'll be able to get more funding," he said, adding that should the command receive more funding in fiscal year 2018, it could possibly go toward directed energy investments.

extra info:


In Less Than a Year, U.S. Air Force Gunships Flew Nearly 4,000 Hours in Combat

Deadly planes flew secretive missions around the world

When the U.S. Air Force talks about combat power, it usually focuses on fast-flying F-15 and F-16 fighter bombers, hard-hitting A-10 ground attackers and B-1 and B-52 heavy bombers. Less well publicized are the contributions of a fleet of deadly AC-130 gunships.

Since the heavily armed AC-130s often fly secretive missions working with commandos on the ground, the Air Force doesn't generally go into specifics about their activities. But the specialized planes are major contributors to operations around the world.

Between November 2013 and June 2014, AC-130U Spooky IIs from the 4th Special Operations Squadron flew a combined total of almost 4,000 hours in combat, according to one Air Force history. Altogether, seven of the specialized planes spent over 1,175 days deployed overseas.



Collaboration on weaponised C295W gathers pace

Charles Forrester, London - IHS Jane's Defence Industry - 20 October 2016

Airbus Defence and Space is in the process of creating a gunship variant of its C295W transport aircraft. Source: Airbus

Spanish company Expal announced on 18 October that it had signed an agreement with Airbus Defence and Space that will see the company provide engineering support for munitions to be mounted on an Airbus C295W.

Expal said that they would be providing support "for the integration of standard weapons such as 70 mm rockets, as well as the Mk 80 series of bombs".

The announcement from Expal comes after Spanish manufacturer Escribano Mechanical & Engineering said in September that it had signed an agreement with Airbus Defence and Space on the integration of a door-mounted gun system, with in-flight test firing of the weapons system expected in coming months.

Additionally, Airbus Defence and Space signed an agreement at the Farnborough International Air Show in July with Turkish firm Rocketsan, covering the integration of the Cirit 70 mm air-to-surface semi-active laser-guided missile, the UMTAS long-range laser-guided anti-tank missile, and the Teber laser-guided bomb.

The Royal Jordanian Air Force signed a contract in June 2014 with Airbus and Orbital ATK to convert one of its C295 fleet into a gunship configuration, following the country's conversion of two C235 aircraft into AC-235 gunships.

According to information provided by Airbus at the time, the Jordanian C295 gunships are to feature an integrated mission and fire control systems, electro-optical and radar sensors, AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, an Orbital ATK side-mounted M230 30 mm chain gun, an integrated defensive suite, and 70 mm guided rockets.

IHS Jane's understands that the agreements signed with Expal, Escribano, and Rocketsan are part of a programme that is being pursued independently of the Jordanian project, which is still underway.

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

-- Brigadier General Robin Olds, USAF.


Basler offers BT-67 gunship to Philippines

US company Basler Turbo Conversions is offering its BT-64 gunship to the Philippines as that country looks for a replacement for its ageing Rockwell OV-10 Broncos, the company announced on 12 October.

The BT-67 is essentially a twin-turboprop conversion of the Douglas DC-3 Dakota fitted with updated systems such as digital avionics, a night-vision goggle-compatible cockpit, weather radar, and a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensor. It is being offered as a multirole platform that not only performs the ground attack role of the OV-10, but can also fulfil transport, surveillance, aero medical evacuation, and maritime patrol requirements of the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

According to the Basler Turbo, the BT-67 offers a flexible configuration depending on the mission, a rough-field short take-off and landing (STOL) capability, a readily accessible pool of parts and spares, and reduced vulnerability to manportable air defence systems (MANPADS) on account of the exhaust vents for the twin Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67R engines being angled over the wings.

The BT-67 is based on arguably the most proven airframe in the history of aviation, with the DC-3 having originally entered service in the mid-1930s. Performance specifications for the turboprop-powered Basler variant give it a more than 4,500 kg payload capacity over 650 n miles (or 1,200 kg over 1, 875 n miles with long-range tanks), and a 35 m 3 cabin volume. The aircraft has a cruising speed of 210 kt and a service ceiling of 13,000 ft.

Already fielded by the air forces of Colombia (gunship), El Salvador (transport), Guatemala (transport), Mali (transport), Mauritania (surveillance), Thailand (scientific research), and by the US State Department (transport and surveillance), deliveries to the Philippines could start a year after a contract signature.

The Philippines is set to re-launch its OV-10 Bronco-replacement programme, with a new request for proposals (RfP) to be issued in the coming months.


AFSOC shoots for AC-130 laser gunship mod in 2020

By Leigh Giangreco | Washington DC | 30 September, 2016

US Special Operations Command has requested funding from the Defense Department for fiscal year 2018 budget to begin modifying an AC-130 gunship for a high energy laser capability.

If approved for the budget, Air Force Special Operations Command anticipates the service could begin the modifications as early as Fiscal 2020 on an AC-130W currently used backup aircraft inventory at Cannon AFB, New Mexico, an AFSOC spokesman told FlightGlobal. Millions of dollars have already been set aside for the ground and flight testing, AFSOC chief Lt Gen Brad Webb says.

The effort is working its way through SOCOM programme executive offices fixed wing, Dalghren laboratories, the undersecretary of defence and the office of cost assessment and programme evaluation, he tells FlightGlobal.

The move is not the first time SOCOM has looked to jump-start the high energy laser program. Earlier this year, SOCOM submitted its unfunded requirements list to Congress, which included a request to include funds for the laser in the Fiscal 2017 budget.

But the Pentagon's top weapons buyer expressed skepticism recently over directed energy weapons, noting airborne lasers continue to face issues with weather and atmospheric conditions.

"We're not at the point where we can decide we're going to put lasers in the force," Frank Kendall told reporters in September.

Webb dismissed the idea that the larger DOD enterprise is rebuffing directed energy projects in favor of more immediate budget concerns. While the air force is examining directed energy from a defensive perspective and AFSOC is targeting an offensive capability, Webb says there are some synergies between the two efforts.

"There have been efforts that have fallen short because of technology in the past," he says. "We want to be mindful of that going forward and that's probably what you're picking up on. I think it's technology worth pursuing."

AFSOC will determine the laser's mounting location during testing, Webb says. The Air Force Scientific Advisory Board and AFSOC determined earlier this year that a left-side mounted laser would prove more cost effective than a belly mounted weapon. Former AFSOC chief Lt Gen Heithold has also mentioned that size, weight and power restraints favor fitting the laser into an existing space rather than adding the capability with the conventional guns. Initially, AFSOC will replace the AC-130W's 30mm gun with a laser, Webb says.
A fighter without a gun . . . is like an airplane without a wing.

-- Brigadier General Robin Olds, USAF.


U.S. Marine Corps wants to convert all its KC-130Js, MV-22Bs into gunships

Marines To Add 'Harvest Hawk' Weapons Kit to Entire C-130J, V-22 Fleets

THE PENTAGON – The Marine Corps intends to add improved sensors and precision-strike capability to its entire KC-130J Super Hercules tanker/transport plane and MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor fleets, applying the "Harvest Hawk" concept to make both aircraft more multi-mission, the deputy commandant of the Marine Corps for aviation told USNI News this week.

Lt. Gen. Jon Davis said the Marines' next aviation plan would include upgrading all 79 C-130Js into Harvest Hawk-capable platforms. The Hercules Airborne Weapons Kit (HAWK) includes both modifications to the plane – the installation of a new MX-29 sensor ball with a laser designator on the nose of the plane, and the Intrepid Tiger electronic warfare pod – as well as a supply of Hellfire, Griffin and Viper Strike missiles for precision strike. The Intrepid Tiger pod is already installed on the AV-8B Harriers and F/A-18 Hornets, and the Marine Corps intends to put the pod on the C-130Js, V-22s and H-1 attack helicopters. Davis said the pod is a "great capability, gives us a jamming capability, an electronic warfare capability for not only [self]-protection but more importantly that people on the ground can manipulate and operate. It's open architecture so they can control the weapon system from the ground."

Davis said 10 C-130Js had already been modified with the initial Harvest Hawk kit and would receive the upgraded sensor ball, and the rest of the fleet would go through the full Harvest Hawk modifications under the Marines' next aviation plan, which is being developed now.

The aviation plan will also outline what Davis called an "Osprey Hawk," which would provide the same improved sensor ball with laser designator, jamming pod and laser-guided munitions, as well as the V-22 Air Refueling System (VARS) to allow the Osprey to refuel other aircraft in the air.

Davis said the strike capability will be important for the V-22, which is in high-demand and being used in ways its current configuration is not optimized for.

"We have a weapon system called Switchblade, which is a gravity-drop system (with laser-designation guidance), and guys were throwing that out of the back of the V-22 and get a precision hit on a target out there from a V-22," he said of a previous demonstration. "So if I've got a sensor ball with a laser designator, I can throw something like a Switchblade out the back. Right now we have a belly gun, I think the belly gun is relatively ineffective for what we're trying to do, but you could put a laser rocket like the APKWS (Advanced Precision-Kill Weapon System) on the V-22, or a precision-drop weapon, gravity drop weapon like a ... Viper Strike."

For the V-22, the most obvious "Osprey Hawk" benefit is the much-improved strike capability. For the C-130J, the transport and tanker airplane would become a multi-mission craft, with the sensor ball allowing for route reconnaissance missions when needed.

But Davis said the improved sensor ball would bring other important benefits as well, chiefly improved safety while landing.

"I can make a case for having a sensor ball on the nose of the airplane from the safety of flight perspective, looking at your landing zone, especially at night," Davis said. "These are strategic airplanes for us, for moving men and material all around, and ... I can't afford to break one, and so having the sensor ball in there" will be important, he said of the C-130J fleet. The Air Force has done serious damage to some of its planes by landing on a runway the pilot couldn't see were broken, Davis said, and the Marines cannot afford to lose a plane that plays such an integral role in forward presence and sustainment. The upgraded sensor ball in the improved Harvest Hawk package would help avoid this scenario by providing a better view of the landing zone.

The improved sensor ball would also magnify the landing zone, which the FLIR ball on many Marine aircraft does not do.

"Right now the FLIR on the V-22 is a one-to-one FLIR, it doesn't magnify the LZ (landing zone), it doesn't help the pilots look. We lost one in Hawaii – if they had been able to zoom in on the target at range and say hey, the LZ's not big enough, or there's a fence there or whatever, let's move over here," then lives could have been saved, Davis said. "So to me it's a great capability and again allows the Marine Corps to position these platforms to be multimission platforms."

Davis said the timeline for the Harvest Hawk and Osprey Hawk upgrades were unclear. Three vendors are interested in competing for the FLIR replacement sensor ball, he said. Those companies will demonstrate their capabilities, and the results of the competition will be fed into the Marines' technology insertion plan for the C-130Js and the V-22s.

Viper Strike :


The US Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) and US Navy are to collaborate on the development of a laser mounted weapon for the AC-130 aircraft. The move comes as the Navy has been developing and researching energy directed weapons with their Laser Weapon System, which saw deployment aboard the Afloat Forward Staging Base USS Ponce last year. The lasers success will be the basis for a cooperation between the two branches, and how this can aid the development of a similar system for aircraft. The AC-130 will conceivably see a miniaturized version of the one used on the USS Ponce, and possess both offensive and defensive capabilities. It is hoped the lasers will help gunships disable enemy systems and improve identification of targets on the ground. This would avoid incidents such as the bombing of the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan in October.

AFSOC Leveraging Lessons from Navy for AC-130J Laser


Citaat van: Thomasen op 03/12/2015 | 19:09 uur
Er is volgens mij wel wat gepast met een rocketpod, alleen was er nog geen geld voor integratie, iedereen is bezig met zijn eigen sensor. De laser designator werkt dus al. Ik zie hier wel mooie kansen.

Op een Nederlandse kist? We zullen dan ten eerste de nodige hardware moeten veranderen en softwarematig moet er natuurlijk e.e.a gebeuren wat betreft het "slaven" van de pod aan de HUD/HMD van de vlieger.
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