Air Force Copies Marines’ “Bolt-On” Gunship Plan

05.07.09

Categorie: Air, David Axe |

061013-f-9999w-001.jpg

by DAVID AXE

The Marines have always envied the Air Force’s two dozen AC-130 gunships — which, with their accurate guns and long loiter times, count as some of the deadliest weapons in U.S. wars. This spring, the Marines decided to buy nine kits for their KC-130J tanker-transports, each kit comprising Hellfire and Viper Strike missiles and bolt-on sensors — with a door gun, optional. The result, code-named Harvest Hawk, turns a tanker into a gunship, in just four hours, on the cheap.

Now the twist: the Air Force has struggled for years to build a new gunship to replace the AC-130s, which average more than 20 years old. The AC-X gunship concept went nowhere. The AC-XX “gunship lite” program, meant to turn the twin-engine C-27J transport into a small gunship, apparently died this year, when the Pentagon cut the C-27J program in half. So now the Air Force is borrowing the Harvest Hawk idea, adding “sensors, communication systems, precision guided munitions and a single medium-caliber gun” to eight MC-130W infiltration transports, pictured, according to budget documents.

This kind of modularity represents the future of air power. Build a basic platform like a C-130, and add kits — and extra crew — for the gunship, tanker and other roles, as needed.

(Photo: Air Force)

Related:
Marines’ New Sort-Gunship Kills Insurgents, Cheap
Air Force Drops Gunship; Marines Take Up Slack
Air Force Turns a Corner
The Day U.S. Air Power Was Saved from Itself
Release the Gunships, Part Two
Release the Gunships, Part One
Air Force eyes small gunship
Air Force “going out of business”
Iraq has COIN planes; USAF doesn’t
Air Force unveils COIN manual

|

3 Responses to “Air Force Copies Marines’ “Bolt-On” Gunship Plan”

  1. [...] Related: Surveillance Orbits for From-Scratch Air Forces Meet the “New” U.S. Air Force Air Force Copies Marines’ “Bolt-On” Gunship Plan Offiziere.ch: the Emerging U.S. Counter-Insurgency Air Force Congressional Budget Office’s Plans to Save the Air Force Air Force Turns a Corner The Day U.S. Air Power Was Saved from Itself Analysts: Buy Fighters, or Die No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  2. [...] Operations Forces. One surprise: L3′s display described ongoing weapons modifications to the Air Force’s MC-130W infiltrator planes. In addition to previously disclosed gun armament, the MC-130s will receive bomb racks and computer [...]

  3. A person essentially lend a hand to make significantly posts I would state.
    This is the first time I frequented your website page and so far?
    I amazed with the analysis you made to make this actual submit amazing.
    Excellent job!

    Feel free to visit my web page – 正規品 ミュール アウトレット

Leave a Reply