2008:¬†After a yearlong test, the U.S.
Air Force decided not to replace the two 25mm and one 40mm cannon on its AC-130
gunships, with two 30mmautomatic¬†cannon.
The original plan was to have all AC-130s equipped with 30mm cannon, but
the 30mm GAU-8 cannon (the same one used on the A-10 aircraft) was not that
much of an improvement over the current weapons as expected, and there were the
usual technical problems.¬†The AC-130s
are also being tested using missiles, like Hellfire, which has been more
Force operates¬†21 gunships (eight
AC-130H "Spectre", and 13 AC-130U "Spooky"). The 130Hs are being replaced with
130Us, and the air force is looking to replace all the current gunships with
one based on another aircraft. Four new AC-130Us are in production, and older
ones are receiving new sensors. The air force operates the AC-130s as part of
SOCOM (Special Operations Command.)
their vulnerability to ground fire, the AC-130s only operate at night. The last
time an AC-130 was lost was at Khafji, Saudi Arabia, during the 1991 Persian
Gulf War. The aircraft was leaving the combat zone at sunrise, and was visible
to Iraqi gunners in the area.