The AC-130 Gunships are built around the proven C-130 Hercules airframe. These aircraft are equipped with various ground attack weapons, making close air support and armed surveillance their primary roles.
The AC-130U Spooky’s primary missions are close air support, air interdiction and armed reconnaissance. Close air support missions include troops in contact, convoy escort and point air defense. Air interdiction missions are conducted against preplanned targets or targets of opportunity and include strike coordination and reconnaissance and armed overwatch mission sets.
Modifications to the AC-130W include a mission management console, communications suite, two electro-optical/infrared sensors, fire control equipment, precision guided munitions delivery capability; and one side-firing, trainable 30mm gun with tracer-less ammunition and associated munitions storage system. The AC-130W Stinger II Precision Strike Package modification provides ground forces an expeditionary, persistent direct fires platform that delivers precision low-yield munitions, ideally suited for urban operations.
The primary mission of the AC-130W Stinger II is armed overwatch. While similar to the AC-130’s missions, Stinger II is primarily focused on performing reconnaissance over friendly positions and may directly deliver ordnance to precise targets to support ground forces.