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 - 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
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
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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