Danger Room: Marines’ Instant Gunship Blasts Taliban, Pentagon Bureaucracy

30.11.10

Categorie: Afghanistan, Air, David Axe |
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Harvest Hawk

Harvest Hawk. USMC photo.

by DAVID AXE

At first glance, the Marine Corps’ hottest new weapon looks just like a standard cargo plane. For the “Harvest Hawk” gunship, the external differences are subtle. A sensor pod jutting from one of the under-wing fuel tanks of the KC-130J aircraft. A rack under the left wing for four Hellfire missiles. A clutch of 10 smaller Griffin missiles fixed to the ramp. With these $10-million add-ons, plus extra training for the crew, any similar plane in the Marine Corps inventory becomes a cheaper version of the Air Force’s powerful, custom-made AC-130 gunship.

The first Harvest Hawk-modified C-130 arrived in southern Afghanistan in October — just 18 months after the Marines first announced the program — and launched its first air strike on Nov. 4. “We supported [3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment] in Sangin when they were in a fire fight,” Harvest Hawk crewman Maj. Marc Blankenbicker said. “We shot one Hellfire missile, and the battle damage assessment was five enemy [killed in action].” The November strike was an important milestone for Marine aviation, and for the Pentagon’s new approach to buying weapons.

Read the rest at Danger Room.

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One Response to “Danger Room: Marines’ Instant Gunship Blasts Taliban, Pentagon Bureaucracy”

  1. V says:

    “With these $10-million add-ons, plus extra training for the crew, any similar plane in the Marine Corps inventory becomes a cheaper version of the Air Force’s powerful, custom-made AC-130 gunship.”

    Except, of course, it has no ah, guns. Preventing it from being a gun ship.

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