AC-130W Stinger II

The AC-130W Stinger II, previously known as the MC-130W Dragon Spear, is a gunship that is created by applying a roll-on, roll-off Precision Strike Package to existing MC-130W Combat Spear aircraft. The resulting AC-130W Stinger IIs are operated by the Air Force 73rd Special Operations Squadron out of Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico.

The Stinger II program is designed to augment the aging AC-130 gunship flee in lieu of a lapsed AC-130J project. Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) plans to eventually convert its entire fleet of AC-130W Combat Spears into Stinger IIs.

AC-130W Stinger II

AC-130W Stinger II - Role

The AC-130W role is similar to the AC-130H Spectre / AC-130U Spooky U gunships, also operated by AFSOC, albeit with less emphasis on direct strike missions. The AC-130W Stinger II platform is geared more towards its primary role of armed overwatch as well as reconnaissance and close air support. The aircraft also has a limited cargo transport role. The AC-130W fleet is meant to augment the Spooky and Spectres, not replace them.

AC-130W Stinger II - Features

Armaments

The AC-130W Stinger II can fitted with an array of sophisticated weapons. The Precision Strike Package is a modular weapons package and can include:

  • Wing-mounted GBU-39 Small-Diameter Bombs (SDB's)
  • Bushmaster II Mk44 30mm gun (GAU-23)
  • Gunslinger weapons system featuring a launch tube capable of deploying up to 10 GBU-44/B Viper Strike or Griffin small standoff munitions

 The various weapons fitted are managed by a battle management system (BMS). During deployments to Afghanistan, AC-130Ws crews have added a 105-millimeter cannon and the ability to carry 250lb bombs on wing hardpoints to the aircraft.

Avionics

Standard AC-130W Stinger IIs feature a GPS and Inertial Navigation System navigation and a AN/APN-241 Low Power Color weather/navigation Radar. A sophisticated communications fitment includes satellite and data burst capabilities. The Precision Strike Package adds an improved infrared sensor and electro-optical targeting system, communications and a battle management system.

Defensive Systems

Stinger IIs feature state of the art radar and missile warning sensors and countermeasures such as jammers and flare and chaff launchers

Refueling Systems

Combat Spears can receive fuel from other airborne tankers via its Universal Aerial Refueling Receptacle Slipway Installation.

AC-130W Stinger II Operational History

The first MC-130W Dragon Spears began operating in March 2010. The aircraft were redesignated as AC-130W Stinger IIs in May 2012.

AC-130W Stinger II Specifications

Crew 7:-
4 officers (pilot, copilot, two navigators)
3 enlisted (flight engineer, 2 loadmasters)
Engines 4 Allison turboprop engines T56-A-15
Dimensions Length : 29.8 meters (E) / 30.4 meters (H)
Height : 11.7 meters
Wingspan : 40.4 meters
Max Takeoff Weight 69,750 kilograms
Range 1,944 nm (without in-flight refueling)
Ceiling 33,000 feet
Speed 300 mph (sea level)
Defensive systems AN/ALE-27 chaff/flare dispensers, various missile warning receivers and jammers
Avionics AN/APN-241 Low Power Color weather/navigation Radar
GPS Navigation
Inertial navigation
AN/AAQ-38 FLIR
Battle management system (BMS)


AC-130W Stinger II
The AC-130W's nose houses a AN/APN-241 Low Power Color weather/navigation Radar and a AN/AAQ-38 forward looking infrared (FLIR) pod in a chin turret.
Photo : US Air Force

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