|Air Force Fact Sheets|
The AC-130H Spectre gunship's primary missions are close air support, air interdiction and armed reconnaissance. Other missions include perimeter and point defense, escort, landing, drop and extraction zone support, forward air control, limited command and control, and combat search and rescue.
These heavily armed aircraft incorporate side-firing weapons integrated with sophisticated sensor, navigation and fire control systems to provide surgical firepower or area saturation during extended periods, at night and in adverse weather.
The sensor suite consists of a low-light-level television sensor and an infrared sensor. Radar and electronic sensors also give the gunship a method of positively identifying friendly ground forces as well as effective ordnance delivery during adverse weather conditions. Navigational devices include an inertial navigation system and global positioning system.
Spectre has an impressive combat history. During Vietnam, gunships destroyed more than 10,000 trucks and were credited with many life-saving close air support missions. AC-130s suppressed enemy air defense systems and attacked ground forces during Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada. This enabled the successful assault of Point Salines airfield via airdrop and airland of friendly forces.
The gunships had a primary role during Operation Just Cause in Panama by destroying Panamanian Defense Force Headquarters and numerous command and control facilities by surgical employment of ordnance in an urban environment. As the only close air support platform in the theater, Spectres were credited with saving the lives of many friendly personnel.
During Operation Desert Storm, Spectres provided air base defense and close air support for ground forces. AC-130s were also used during Operations Continue Hope and United Shield in Somalia, providing close air support for United Nations ground forces. The gunships have most recently played a pivotal role during operations in support of the NATO mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina, providing air interdiction against key targets in the Sarajevo area.
Point of Contact
Air Force Special Operations Command, Public Affairs Office; 100 Bartley Street; Hurlburt Field, Fla. 32544-5273; DSN 579-5515 or (904) 884-5515.
Above Information Courtesy of United States Air Force