Lockheed Martin developed the AC-130W Stinger II Gunship as an improved variant for the USAF. It lays down heavy artillery for close air support (CAS) and aerial interdiction missions.
AC-130W Stinger II Gunship when heavy fire is needed
This gunship is adapted from the airframe of the Hercules C-130, later made into the MC-130W Dragon Spear aircraft, cited American Special Ops. Although slow-moving, it is capable of carrying large amounts of heavy artillery to rain down on US adversaries. The USAF has developed a blitzing array of specialized craft for any mission, reported Airforce Technology.
Instead of using expensive jets for CAS, the Stinger II is a cost-effective solution to support ground forces. It can even use heavy artillery to suppress enemy ground units. This Hercules airframe is one of the most versatile combat platforms in the US arsenal.
One gunship designed to optimize the US Air Force's exact offensive capability during overseas contingency missions. Used for convoy escort, point air defense, attack planning, and reconnaissance for preplanned or irregular targets. It has several advantages over land-based artillery fire; flying in the air allows more ways to attack enemy ground targets.
In May 2012, the MC-130W Dragon Spear was designated the AC-130W Stinger II. By 2013, the USAF already obtained 14 MC-130W gunships that were updated to AC-130W gunships. The aircraft are assigned to Air Force Special Operations Command squadrons (AFSOC).
Service record of the Stinger II Gunship
AC-130W Stinger II Gunship was assigned to suppress enemy troops in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Inherent Resolve, to support the infantry during ground operations.
In March 2020, they were part of a joint exercise with the Cyclone-class patrol coastal ships and P-8A Poseidon maritime multi-mission aircraft (MMA) of the US Navy (USN), Military Aerospace.
AC-130 W equipment
Made from a C-130 Hercules transport aircraft and with updates to be called the Stinger II, it is equipped with precision strike package that turns it into a flying gunnery platform raining shells from above.
A total of two pilots, two combat system officers, a flight engineer, and two notable mission aviators make the gunship's crew of seven. The Thales' Scorpion full-color helmet-mounted cueing system is installed in the cockpit (HMCS).
It is a persistent direct-fire platform that fires low-yield munitions when in close-air support and urban missions as it is designed to perform by the designers of the weapon system.
Raining hellfire from above
On board is a 30mm GAU-23 Bushmaster automatic cannon, 105mm M102 gun, and Raytheon's AGM-176A Griffin missiles that are the crew's disposal. Aside from that, it also features GBU-44/B Viper Strike, a stand-off precision-guided munitions to give its enemy's a pounding.
The Gau-23 is an update of the ATK Mk 44 Bushmaster gun system, loaded with high-explosive incendiary (HEI) rounds in the ammunition storage.
Armed with a 105mm gun, it can fire explosive shells at ground targets at ten shots per minute. It will pound the enemy's men and material for a high casualty count.
An additional weapon, AGM-176A Griffin air-to-surface missile with a range of 20km, and more pain with and GBU-39 small diameter bombs (SDBs) on adversaries.
All these give the AC-130W Stinger II Gunship a hard-hitting set of weapons to bring into the battlefield. The plane has a maximum altitude of 28,000 feet. It has a top speed of 483 kilometers per hour and a range of 4,630 kilometers.