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Air Platforms

AFSOC receives first Block 30-upgraded Ghostrider gunship

10 March 2019
The first Block 30 AC-130J Ghostrider gunship was handed over to AFSOC on 6 March. Source: US Air Force

The US Air Force's Special Operations Command (AFSOC) has received the first of 37 upgraded Lockheed Martin AC-130J Ghostrider gunships, it was announced on 7 March.

The Block 30 aircraft was handed over to the 4th Special Operations Squadron (SOS) at Bob Sikes Airport in Crestview, Florida, on 6 March. While AFSOC has not disclosed the specifics of the Block 30 upgrade, it noted that the enhancement is primarily focused on the aircraft's software and avionics.

As with the AC-130W Stinger II, the AC-130J is equipped with the palletised Precision-Strike Package (PSP), which comprises a single 30 mm Mk44 Bushmaster cannon, precision-guided munitions, and a 105 mm cannon. Precision-guided munitions such as the GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) and Raytheon's AGM-176A Griffin missile will also be employed, while AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and high-energy lasers could feature among future armament options (the precise configuration has still to be determined).

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