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Built on the Backs of Giants: Cannon's First AC-130J Ghostrider


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Built on the Backs of Giants: Cannon's First AC-130J Ghostrider

By Senior Airman Marcel Williams, 27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs / Published July 20, 2021

Airmen with Hurlburt Field, Florida and Cannon Air Force Base delivered a new AC-130J Ghostrider gunship to the 27th Special Operations Wing’s specialized fleet July 19, 2021.

The arrival of Cannon’s first AC-130J Ghostrider represents a significant expansion of force generation capacity as the Air Force Special Operations Command structures for the reemergence of great power competition, tightening fiscal constraints, and the accelerating rate of technological change, demanding significant transformation to ensure Air Commandos are ready to successfully operate in this new environment.

“The transformation into the AFSOC we need, certainly nests well within the accelerate, change or lose direction from the Chief of Staff of the Air Force. This is one of the most recent, and probably one of the most tangible examples of how we’re actually getting after accelerate, change or lose.” said Col. Terence Taylor, 27 SOW commander.

The AC-130J is a heavily modified C-130J aircraft that provides many capabilities to carry out close air support, air interdiction and armed reconnaissance.

“The engines are more powerful, the engines are more efficient, and it has a more accurate weapons system and precision guided munitions. The lethality has increased exponentially.” said Maj, Ryan Whitehead, 27th Special Operations Group AC-130J Ghostrider aircraft commander.

The AC-130J is the fifth generation gunship replacing the fleet of AC-130U Spooky and AC-130W Stinger II gunships. AC-130 gunships have an extensive combat history dating back to Vietnam where gunships destroyed more than 10,000 trucks and were credited with many life-saving, close air support missions.

“The AC-130J has been built on the backs of giants, evolving from four variants of the AC-130 to the AC-119 and AC-47. The Air Commands who fly, maintain, and support the AC-130J are committed to continuing that proud heritage by developing into a force that presents challenges to our nation's adversaries in new ways and places” said Lt Col Saylor, 27 SOG Detachment 2 commander .

This aircraft will increase capacity requirements while bringing diverse technology ensuring the platform's relevance for decades to come.

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