Friday, February 7, 2014

New AC-130J has first test flight

An AC-130J Ghostrider begins first flight
U.S. Air Force photo
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- After more than a year of modification maintenance, the newly created AC-130J Ghostrider took to the skies for the first time as a gunship Jan. 31. In early January 2013, the Air Force Special Operations Command MC-130J arrived here to begin the modification. The end result became a "hybrid" C-130 with the advanced avionics, targeting systems and engines of the MC-130J and the cannon and bombs of the AC-130. Converting a mobility aircraft into a strike aircraft meant adding the Precision Strike Package to support ground forces. The Precision Strike Package includes dual electro-optical infrared sensors, a 30-mm cannon, AGM-176A Griffin missiles, all-weather synthetic aperture radar and GBU-39 small diameter bomb capabilities. The sensors allow the gunship to visually or electronically identify friendly ground forces and targets at any time, even in adverse weather. A total of 32 MC-130J aircraft will be modified for AFSOC as part of a $2.4 billion AC-130J program. (Source: Team Eglin Public Affairs, 02/07/14)