The AC-130U gunship has completed its final combat deployment.
The U.S. Air Force said its AC-130U, known as the "Spooky," has returned stateside from its last scheduled deployment.
The last U-model arrived home to the 1st Special Operations Wing under Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field, Florida, on July 8, according to a service news release.
The 1st SOW said the Spooky will remain on alert in case troops need it for strike or overwatch downrange. But its return comes as the command gets ready to deploy the Spooky's follow-on model, the AC-130J Ghostrider.
Three U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles, assigned to the 391st Fighter Squadron from Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, fire flares over the Utah Test and Training Range July 3, 2018. (U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Codie Trimble)
A cadre of Idaho residents are suing the Air Force over the "extraordinary and unprecedented" urban training exercises planned to take place in nine cities across the state.
U.S. Air Force MC-130J Command IIs assigned to the 17th Special Operations Squadron fly in formation Feb. 17, 2016, off the coast of Okinawa, Japan. The 17th SOS conducted a unit-wide training exercise which tasked the entire squadron with a quick-reaction, full-force sortie involving a five-ship formation flight, cargo drops, short runway landings and takeoffs, and helicopter air-to-air refueling. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Peter Reft/Released)
The Air Force has received an upgraded version of its Ghostrider gunship.
The 4th Special Operations Squadron, 1st Special Operations Wing, at Hurlburt Field, Florida, received its first AC-130J Ghostrider Block 30 gunship this week during a ceremony at Bob Sikes Airport in Crestview, Florida, Air Force Special Operations Command said in a news release Thursday.
In the five years since the Air Force converted an MC-130J Combat Shadow II into a next-generation AC-130J Ghostrider ground-attack aircraft, Air Force Special Operations Command hasn’t been able to stop bulking up the airframe’s weapons systems. They added a 105mm cannon and are even considering the future installation of a frickin’ laser beam to make the Ghostrider “the ultimate battle plane” for close air support; the Ghostrider's muscular arsenal has led AFSOC officials to call it “a bomb truck with guns on it.”
A portion of the Air Force’s A-10 Thunderbolt II squadrons may end up grounded over the next few years due to desperately-needed wing replacements, with some of the aircraft stuck on the tarmac as early as fiscal year 2018, the head of Air Force Material Command announced on Sept. 20.