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Special Operations: Fly Hard, Pay Later
   Next Article → WARPLANES: The Patroller UAV

August 22, 2009: The U.S. Air Force is adding $4 billion worth of new aircraft, to its units assigned to SOCOM, over the next five years. The 1st Special Operations Wing (SOW, with 13,000 personnel and about 120 aircraft) will be getting 37 new C-130J transports, to replace the Vietnam era C-130s that have been refurbished and upgraded over the last four decades. But these older aircraft are worn out, especially with the heavy use of them in the last eight years, making replacement an urgent task. This will include converting 17 of the aircraft to AC-130 gunships, to replace the 25 currently available, and rapidly being worn out. The air force is also getting fifty CV-22 tilt-rotor transports, partly to replace the MH-53 helicopters that were retired last year. 

The 1st SOW flew 3,200 combat sorties last year, each of these averaging about four hours over hostile territory. There were also 4,200 training sorties, which mainly served to provide 3,200 new air crew for 1st SOW aircraft.

Next Article → WARPLANES: The Patroller UAV
  

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SAE       8/22/2009 12:20:22 PM
The 1st Special Operations Wing (SOW, with 13,000 personnel and about 120 aircraft) will be getting 37 new C-130J transports, to replace the Vietnam era C-130s that have been refurbished and upgraded over the last four decades... This will include converting 17 of the aircraft to AC-130 gunships, to replace the 25 currently available, and rapidly being worn out.
 
See my comments (SAE       5/20/2009 3:39:52 PM) in the May 18, 2009 article "The Great Gunship Shortage" and (SAE       7/22/2008 5:45:26 PM) in the July 15 2008 article "Spooky Dumps 30mm." I am going to go out on a limp and say it appears that I was right again. So I will see if I get slam again from the know-it-alls on this blog.
 
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esmoore5       8/22/2009 8:05:19 PM
"This will include converting 17 of the aircraft to AC-130 gunships, to replace the 25 currently available, and rapidly being worn out. The air force is also getting fifty CV-22 tilt-rotor transports, partly to replace the MH-53 helicopters that were retired last year."
 
I wonder if we'll ever see an AV-22 gunship?
 
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kisscatman       8/22/2009 8:18:16 PM
I'd like to know when the media will apologize for their treatment of the V-22.  LOL, like that will happen!
 
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smitty237       8/23/2009 12:43:11 AM

"This will include converting 17 of the aircraft to AC-130 gunships, to replace the 25 currently available, and rapidly being worn out. The air force is also getting fifty CV-22 tilt-rotor transports, partly to replace the MH-53 helicopters that were retired last year."

 

I wonder if we'll ever see an AV-22 gunship?


I remember seeing concept art of the V-22 some 15-20 years ago in which they showed the standard CV-22 being accompanied by a gunship version with a cannon in the nose.  I would suspect that they are already equippped with door guns, and more, bigger weapons could be installed.  Wing mounted hard points could be a problem because when the blades are in the "aircraft" configuration firing the missiles from hardpoints would blow off the propeller blades.  I guess you could restrict their firing to whenever the Osprey was flying like a helicopter, but I would be afraid of Murphy's Law raging its ugly head. 
 
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SAE       8/23/2009 10:41:30 AM

"This will include converting 17 of the aircraft to AC-130 gunships, to replace the 25 currently available, and rapidly being worn out. The air force is also getting fifty CV-22 tilt-rotor transports, partly to replace the MH-53 helicopters that were retired last year."

 

I wonder if we'll ever see an AV-22 gunship?



Se my comments (SAE       8/19/2009 8:19:50 PM) in the 8/19/2009 Morale article The Most Decorated Aircraft In History and (SAE       3/22/2009 12:18:53 PM) in the 3/21/2009 Procurement article V-22 In Mass Production.
 
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