AC-130H Spectre gunship’s final mission

On Jan. 16, the 16th Special Operations Squadron conducted its final mission with the AC-130H gunship at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico.

To celebrate the retirement of the Spectre, whose development began in the early 1960s, the 16th SOS launched its whole fleet of 8 AC-130Hs; a tough and remarkable achievement, obtained thanks to the teamwork of pilots, maintainers, loadmasters and maintenance teams.

In 2013, the Squadron completed its last AC-130H Spectre gunship deployment in Afghanistan after 40 years of active service all around the world.

16 SOS will soon receive the AC-130J, a plane equipped with more modern avionics but more vulnerable to ground fire as a recent report pointed out. Indeed, the new aircraft lacks armor needed to protect some aircraft’s vital parts and, above all, its crew.

AC-130H Elephant Walk

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

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About David Cenciotti 3684 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.