The Lockheed AC-130 gunship is a heavily armed ground-attack aircraft variant of the C-130 Hercules transport plane. The basic airframe is manufactured by Lockheed while Boeing is responsible for the conversion into a gunship and aircraft support.
The gunship’s sole user is the United States Air Force, which uses AC-130U Spooky and AC-130W Stinger II variants for close air support, air interdiction, and force protection, with AC-130J Ghostrider in development. Close air support roles include supporting ground troops, escorting convoys, and urban operations.
4th Special Operations Squadron Airmen conduct a live-fire mission in anAC-130U Gunship during Emerald Warrior 2015 at Hurlburt Field, Florida. Emerald Warrior is the Department of Defense’s only irregular warfare exercise, allowing joint and combined partners to train together and prepare for real-world contingency operations.