The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is the longest continuously produced military aircraft in the world. It has had several unique distinctions, including being only the fifth aircraft to mark 50 years of continuous service with its original primary customer. There are also over 40 variants and versions of this legendary aircraft. The versatile airframe has found uses in a variety of other roles, including as an AC-130 gunship. While the airframe is manufactured by Lockheed Martin, Boeing is responsible for the conversion into a heavily armed, long-endurance ground-attack gunship variant.
The AC-130 is only in service in the U.S. Air Force. Developed during the Vietnam War as ‘Project Gunship II’, the AC-130 replaced the Douglas AC-47 Spooky, or ‘Gunship I’. Powered by four turboprops, it has crew of up to thirteen airmen (counting officers and enlisted personnel), and armaments that go from M61 Vulcan 20mm, M102 howitzer 105mm, Bofors 40mm, GAU-12 Equalizer 25mm, and Bushmaster 30mm cannons, to AGM-176 Griffin missiles and GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs (SDBs). It other words, it’s loaded, like this video shows.
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