They’ve been called Angels of Death: AC-130 gunships. The heavily armed stuff of nightmares for adversaries and the close-air support guardian angels of allies. For decades these titans of the air have dominated battlefields and provided peace of mind for service members on the ground. Over the years these workhorses have found a special place in the annals of military heritage.
The Lockheed AC-130 gunship is a heavily armed, long-endurance ground-attack variant of the C-130 Hercules transport fixed-wing aircraft. It carries a wide array of anti-ground oriented weapons that are builtin with sophisticated sensors, navigation, and fire-control systems. Unlike other military fixed-wing aircraft, the AC-130 relies on visual targeting.
Lockheed AC-130 gunship entered combat in the late 1960s during the Vietnam war. Other variants served in the Gulf War, War on Terror, and operations in Afghanistan.
The aircraft is known for its 105mm cannons which enable it fire from a sid position during close combat supporting ground troops. According to US Air Force, the AC-130 Gunship also has a 25mm Gatling gun and a 40mm weapon.
The US Air Force and Special Operations Command both operate the aircraft gunships and is often used to support Special Operations fighters on the ground support combat.