Spooky Gunship Caught Refueling Mid-Air, Scary Bird Is Known to Do That

When one brings into the spotlight the C-130 Hercules and its many variants, you know what generally follows is a talk about the plane’s lifting capabilities and its transport exploits. But there’s one version of it that has an entirely different role altogether.
AC-130U Spooky refueling 7 photos
Photo: USAF/Master Sgt. Matthew Plew
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Enter the AC-130U, known among enthusiasts as Spooky. This one was not envisioned to necessarily carry troops and supplies (although it probably could, with ease), but to conduct “close air support, air interdiction and armed reconnaissance.”

Unlike most other Hercules out there, the Spooky is packed with weapons, radars, and all other tools it needs to conduct aggressive missions.

More to the point, side-mounted 40 mm and 105 mm cannons, as well as a 25 mm Gatling gun use integrated sensors and radar to “provide surgical firepower or area saturation during extended loiter periods, day or night and in adverse weather,” as per the U.S. Air Force (USAF).

The plane is otherwise your general Hercules, powered by four Allison turboprop engines developing 4,300 shaft horsepower each. It can fly at 300 mph (483 kph) and for distances of up to 1,500 miles (2,400 km), provided no aerial refueling is provided.

With operation history dating back all the way to the Vietnam war, where it was responsible with blowing to bits some 10,000 trucks, and who knows what else, the AC-130 also saw plenty of action in Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Kosovo.

The particular Spooky we have here, the one that brought the AC-130 under our radar for the first time, was on exactly such a refueling mission, conducted all the way back in May over the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

Recently released by the U.S. Air Force (USAF), the pic shows an AC-130 deployed with an undisclosed unit, performing an undisclosed mission in the area.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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